As part of our Ask the Expert series, next we hear from industry experts Addison Moore and Ali Mack. Addison and Ali assess a new player to the AdTech ecosystem: the hedged garden. Is the hedged garden the solution we’ve been looking for?
Walled gardens vs the open web
It’s a tale as old as time…at least for those of us in the AdTech industry. Walled gardens continue to disrupt the advertising industry to stay relevant. Google, Facebook, and Amazon, the largest walled gardens, offer consumer privacy and rich first-party data to advertisers. But, time spent within these platforms continues to decrease.
Open web: pros & cons
On the flip side, the open web allows for more transparency, scale, and constant diversification. Yet, this has not led to increased spending. As a result, the open web continues to lag behind walled gardens. With its heavy reliance on third-party data, and the inevitable ‘crumbling of the cookie,’ the open web has a steep hill to climb. Under these circumstances, advertisers look towards easy activation channels like walled gardens. Even as they become less effective to marketers.
What is the consumer point of view? A survey by OpenX and The Harris Poll found that consumers trust advertising in walled gardens less than the open web. Consumers also spend less time in walled gardens due to the lack of relevant content.
“The open web is also where people turn for ‘high-quality content,’ and 74% of people say they trust the articles on news sites or apps more than what they read (or see linked to) on Facebook, Instagram or YouTube.”
The battle of perfecting the balance between the two continues. But what if there was a third solution?
Enter the hedged garden
The “hedged garden” is a new industry concept. A hedged garden is where a network of publishers work together to activate first-party data sets in a privacy-compliant way across many partners at scale. These publishers run their business with large amounts of first-party consumer data. But, they are not big enough on their own.
What does a hedged garden look like? As described by LUMA at their Digital Media Summit this year, hedges are not as tall as walls, and are more permeable. This idea is key for the success of the hedged garden. Auren Hoffmen (former CEO of LiveRamp) stated, “The more connected a data set is to other data elements, the more valuable it is.” That is to say, if executed well, there is large opportunity in the hedged garden space.
How Experian navigates through hedged gardens
As our ecosystem moves towards a hedged garden solution, how do we get involved? Good news! We are already a key ingredient for this type of solution within the TV landscape. Below we walk through how we partner with one of our current TV media clients.
Organize our client’s data and provide a Living Unit ID (LUID)
First, we work with our client to clean up and enhance their data elements. We take individual personal identifiable information (PII), like an email address, and match that PII into a household through a LUID.
Enrich data through ConsumerView
Next, our TV media client licenses our full Consumer View file. Consumer View is the largest and most comprehensive resource for traditional and digital marketing campaigns. It contains attributes on 250 million consumers and 126 million households. With Consumer View, our client developed insights and audiences based on a full list of attributes provided within their segment set.
Activate audiences across the ecosystem
Finally, we help our client execute their audiences across the full digital and TV ecosystem. We activate these audiences by matching partner LUIDs (Example: LUID123 = LUIDABC). By using synthetic LUIDs to match up data in a privacy-first manner, we can continue to build strong partnerships within the fast-growing ecosystem.
Are hedged gardens the future of advertising?
Have we found the perfect bridge between walled gardens and the open web? We’re “hedging” our bets. Our vote is “YES,” but only time will tell. We’re using our learnings from the TV industry to support other hedged garden verticals (retail media networks, audio, and gaming).
Together we can navigate across the ecosystem. Contact us to learn how.
About our experts
Exchange Wire. “Changing Attitudes Towards Walled Gardens vs Open Web: Record TAG Recertifications.” March 13, 2020.
Open X and The Harris Poll. “The Open Web Vs. Walled Gardens. Consumer Preferences & The Opportunity For Brand Marketers.”
McKinsey & Company. “As the cookie crumbles, three strategies for advertisers to survive.” April 6, 2022.