Snowflake connected with The Trade Desk’s Senior Product Manager, Erick Ellis, at the 2021 Data Cloud Tour for Media, Entertainment, and Advertising to hear how the company is making high-impact advertising data available to customers in near real time.

More than a hundred years ago, retail and marketing pioneer John Wanamaker coined a phrase that has resonated with advertisers ever since: “Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is I don’t know which half.” 

Brands can’t grow properly if they don’t know which ads work and which don’t. Fortunately, The Trade Desk has solved the problem. It’s an advertising company built for the open world of the internet, which lets media buyers use data analytics to grow their audiences across apps, podcasts, websites, streaming TV platforms, and other avenues. And unlike in Wanamaker’s day, The Trade Desk can objectively measure its advertising performance with data. 

“Bring the data to the customer without making them do grunt work to use it. That’s how we create value.”

—Erick Ellis, Senior Product Manager, The Trade Desk

Actionable and Insightful Data on Demand

The Trade Desk started by creating a log-level data product called REDS and delivering it to all its clients via the Amazon S3 service. Then it partnered with Snowflake to help its clients get value from REDS faster. 

“Retrieving performance data sounds straightforward, but there’s a lot of technical work involved that requires a variety of skills, and it can take weeks or months. Our goal was to deliver data to our clients within 15 minutes after clicking a couple of buttons. And we can update their feeds in near real time so that data flows directly into Snowflake and is distributed around the world.”

—Erick Ellis, Senior Product Manager, The Trade Desk

As a result, what used to take months now takes minutes. REDS is so effective that the technology is all but invisible to customers. They get nearly instant access to the information and data insights they need to drive their business, and people with no technical knowledge or experience can use it without any trouble. 

According to Ellis, “When The Trade Desk inks a deal with a client, the possibilities of the platform don’t always trickle down to the folks that are optimizing the campaigns, doing the workflows, and processing the data. We always connect them with the right person inside The Trade Desk, and they’re good to go.”

Because The Trade Desk delivers data worldwide, it can’t depend on only one cloud. Some clients won’t even use cloud services from certain vendors, so its data platform is designed to be cross-cloud, a capability unique to REDS. 

“It’s crucial to use the right technology for the right thing. That sounds obvious, but Snowflake is cloud-neutral: It works across regions, and it’s perfect for business intelligence.”

—Erick Ellis, Senior Product Manager, The Trade Desk

A Better Way to Secure and Control Private Data

The Trade Desk is also spearheading a Unified ID 2.0 initiative as an alternative to third-party cookies as part of its push for better consumer privacy and control. “Respecting privacy is an everyday, worldwide challenge for everyone,” Ellis said. 

Its customers are advertisers and agencies, and they need to trust that their data is secure and privately governed. The company’s reputation requires it. Yet privacy requirements vary widely from place to place and company to company, and The Trade Desk is global. 

Logs are collected from all over the world, and many layers of control and governance occur before the data gets to the logs and is scrubbed, split, and delivered. Everything depends on what the supply vendors, the media operators, the publishers, the consumers, and the advertisers need. 

Many companies are transforming their data governance programs, which are increasingly complex and likely to continue changing indefinitely. What does this have to do with Snowflake? Everything. 

“If privacy changes have to be retroactively applied, it’s easy to fix now. Without Snowflake, it would require an enormous amount of work to scrub years of Amazon S3 logs for our clients. It’s much easier when all the data is centralized.”

—Erick Ellis, Senior Product Manager, The Trade Desk

Watch Snowflake’s 2021 Data Cloud Tour fireside chat with Erick Ellis.