Acxiom Prepares New 'Audience Operating System' Amid Wobbly Earnings

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Scott-HoweLittle Rock, AR-based Acxiom is gearing up to launch an "Audience Operating System," for cross-channel and cross-device ad targeting, in September. “The world is coming to us as big data and insight-based decisioning is exactly what we do,” CEO Scott Howe said during the company's earnings call. “It is also exactly our vision for the Acxiom Audience Operating System. Our technology will enable one-to-one targeted marketing at scale across all channels and to all devices.”

A spokesperson declined to provide additional details about AOS, which is in beta. The platform is expected to leverage the company’s databases and segmentation models to provide enhanced ad targeting options.

According to Howe, the firm has nearly 1.1 billion third-party cookies that it has dropped on users who visit its clients’ webpages. “Our mobile reach now exceeds 200 million customer profiles [and] we now have over 50 publisher and developer partners,” he continued. “Our digital reach will soon approach nearly every Internet user in the US.”

The upcoming AOS launch comes amid revenue declines for Acxiom. Q2 marketing and data services revenue shrank 2% to $266 million. And IT infrastructure management revenue decreased 1% to $69 million.

Analyst Dan Salmon at BMO Capital Markets remains optimistic about the marketing platform, noting that “last night’s earnings likely scares out some investors that were holding it for the wrong reasons (takeout speculation that started after Salesforce bought Exacttarget), but we’d expect true believers in the AOS product rollout to build positions ahead of the September launch.”

Salmon also applauded Acxiom for re-incorporating its email business into its core marketing services as “the Rodney Dangerfield of digital marketing [i.e. email] continues to be re-evaluated by marketers that see it as a key way to reach mobile users.”

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