Data onboarding - Everything you need to know about the cookie alternative

In recent years, data protection laws in Europe and the USA have become much stricter. Web browsers such as Safari and Firefox have already severely restricted or completely blocked the use of third-party cookies for some time. Chrome, the most widely used browser, is expected to follow suit at the beginning of 2025. This means that the advertising industry is now definitely facing a major challenge, as traditional ad tracking is beginning to falter.

While third-party cookies previously provided information about a person's surfing behaviour and thus enabled personalised advertising across domains, advertising companies need to rethink their targeting strategies and find innovative solutions in order to continue displaying relevant advertising.

One solution that is proving to be particularly promising in this context is data onboarding. This involves securely linking first-party data from different sources in a data clean room to create precise target group profiles. As one of the first movers in the Swiss market, Goldbach developed a data onboarding solution for advertising targeting together with the Swiss tech company Decentriq back in 2022.

And this is how it works

Goldbach implements data onboarding with Decentriq’s data clean room platform. This technology is characterised by the fact that brands do not have to make any assumptions about the interests and behaviour of their target groups. Using high-quality first-party data, precise target groups are identified with an AI algorithm – in this way, the customer data can speak for itself. Thanks to the use of advanced privacy technologies in the data clean room, data remains protected and confidential at all times, and is never accessible to any other party. 

1. Data onboarding with first-party data
Advertisers provide data from their CRM databases containing information they gathered about their customers, like purchasing behaviour and preferences. This information is particularly valuable as existing customers represent the target group. On the other hand, Goldbach provides rich audience data, including demographics and reading interests, that is gathered on the publisher side throughout the Goldbach network and the TX sites (up to 1.5 million active logged-in users a month). It’s important that these datasets share a common identifier, typically an email address, in order for matching to be possible.

2. Encrypted matching in the data clean room
Data is encrypted before it enters the data clean room to render it inaccessible to all other parties. The advertiser “lock” the data with a key that only they possess – it’s not shared with Goldbach or Decentriq. Thanks to the advanced privacy technologies built into Decentriq’s data clean rooms, in particular Confidential Computing, the data stays fully protected and inaccessible even while matching and analysis happen.

3. Accurate target group profiles thanks to affinity insights, overlaps and lookalikes
After data matching, Decentriq’s data clean room technology provides a variety of insights about segments within the overlap, and with the help of AI, generates optimal segments for targeting within the publisher's inventory:

  • Affinity Insights analyses provide an in-depth insight into how the advertiser’s customers overlap with Goldbach audiences. It also provides advanced reports with new information learned from the overlap – for example demographics, and affinity to different topics based on their reading behaviours.
  • Based on this overlap, algorithms generate lookalike audiences. AI is used to identify users on publisher sites that have similarities. The advertiser can choose whether to optimise these lookalikes for more reach or more precision.

4. Activation for advertising campaigns without third-party cookies
The newly acquired target group profiles can now be used for targeted online advertising. From this point on, programmatic advertising works as marketers and agencies are used to, across any device.

Benefits for advertisers

The use of data onboarding technology using first-party data instead of third-party cookies brings a variety of advantages for advertising companies:

Effective campaigns through a targeted approach
  • Deeper customer understanding: By analysing first-party data, together with that of publishers, companies gain valuable insights into their customers and their behaviour.
  • Tailored campaigns: Thanks to the affinity insights report, advertisers can plan a tailored campaign and prepare content that’s optimised to their target audiences.
  • Improved advertising effectiveness due to better quality targeting: By enabling the use of high-quality first-party data, data onboarding helps campaigns achieve a greater impact. 
Mood_Laptop_Work_Meeting2212210559 (2).jpg
Expanded target group

Potential new customers with similar interests and behaviour to the existing customer base can be addressed in the publisher network using the AI lookalike extension.

Budget optimisation

By targeting relevant audiences, the advertising budget is used more efficiently. 

Easy to use

The platform offers a user-friendly interface for simple and intuitive data upload.

High level of data protection and security
  • High data protection standards: Sensitive first-party data is processed and analyzed in Decentriq's secure data clean room, which meets the highest data protection standards.
  • Protection of personal data: Personal information is encrypted before entering the data clean room and made inaccessible to other parties. It remains encrypted throughout the entire process.
  • Verifiable data security: Data is verifiably protected and inaccessible at all times. Thanks to confidential computing technology, it is only used for predefined comparisons and analyses.

Practical tips

When implementing data onboarding, there are several factors that can contribute significantly to success. Follow these tips to get the most out of your advertising campaign.

#1: Make sure you have a sufficient database

Data onboarding campaigns are most effective when the advertiser has a substantial database of email addresses or other identifiers, typically exceeding 10’000. The overlap itself does not have to be large: Based on a small "seed audience", the target group can be expanded with lookalikes. Therefore we recommend creating 2-3 audiences in the data clean room, so that we can test which one works the best for the aimed campaign goals. 

#2: Rely on clear identifiers

It’s necessary to have unique identifiers for your “ideal” target group, like e-mail addresses.  Please note that if you do not have such identifiers in your CRM, Decentriq and Goldbach work with local data partners who can help you.

#3: Set clear advertising goals

Data onboarding campaigns are an excellent option if your goals are to improve conversion rates or engagement, and/or you want to find a specific target group. If your aim is to deliver ads across a broad population, data onboarding is not ideal.

#4: Choose the right KPIs

Campaign success is best measured with metrics like time spent on page, conversions, or ROAS. CTR usually improves as well, but depends as well on a variety of external factors. Inventory KPI like impressions are not directly influenced by the data onboarding approach but are much more dependent on the buying strategy.

#5: Stay flexible

Maintain a certain flexibility with regard to campaign duration, placements and formats used. Take time to monitor and adjust the campaign settings to maximize the effectiveness of the campaign.

#6: Set campaign duration of several weeks

As most data onboarding campaigns use focused (and thus smaller) target groups, the delivery might be somewhat slower than usual. We advise to set a campaign period of at least four weeks with the option to extend if needed. Data onboarding is also perfect for always-on campaigns, with a quarterly refresh to optimise the targeting.

#7: Cooperation is king

Functioning collaboration is essential also for data onboarding. The better advertisers, agencies, tech providers and marketers are aligned and pursue common goals, the better the campaign results.

#8: Run subsequent campaigns

Data onboarding campaigns provide even better results if you iterate and run subsequent campaigns. Data onboarding is for companies that want to learn more about their customer base, validate assumptions, learn from the first-party data reporting after a campaign, and use it to further optimise the following one.


Do you want to learn more?

We asked Ines Feltscher from Goldbach neXT and Juan Baron from Decentriq a few questions.

Your contact person

Do you have questions about data onboarding or are you interested in our targeting solutions? The Goldbach Audience team looks forward to hearing from you.

Ruggiero Sanja.jpg
Sanja Ruggiero
Director Sales Management / Dep. Managing Director
Goldbach Audience AG - Küsnacht
Goldbach Audience AG