Need For Speed: BlueKai Ramps Up Data Onboarding

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bluekai mollyData solutions provider and Oracle acquisition target BlueKai has released an update designed to expedite a very unsexy but nevertheless crucial element of data-driven marketing: the onboarding process.

Continuous Fast Ramp updates the company’s Fast Ramp product released last summer. Fast Ramp was designed to improve the data onboarding timeframe to weeks from the industry-average 30 days. Continuous Fast Ramp is designed to reduce that time frame further, to 24 hours.

“The [onboarding] feature is tricky because it’s one of those back-end tech-side features,” said Molly Parr, BlueKai’s director of product marketing and management. “[We can take] a retail marketer with brick and mortar data, with thousands or millions of people coming in every day, and process those attributes in a single day rather than saying, ‘Yeah, in a couple of weeks you can remessage those guys.’”

Typically, BlueKai receives files from clients filled with consumers, each with attributes – anywhere from one to 30 – assigned to them. Data extraction, transformation and loading (ETL) is one of the most labor-intensive processes of data-driven marketing. In an AdExchanger article, Metamarkets CEO Mike Driscoll said the data ETL process “takes up about 80% of our time, leaving just 20% for analysis.”

Parr breaks down the Continuous Fast Ramp process into three parts. The first is the ability to bring offline or CRM data into a data-management platform (DMP), which is table stakes.

The second is the ability to load the file as it sees users online, continuously bringing new users and attributes online.

The third is a rules-based element to transform the data as needed. “Let’s say one of the attributes we’re bringing in is people who bought a TV at an electronics store,” Parr said. “We would have pre-written that rule so there’s no additional time for that to ramp up. What the marketer will see is people who bought TVs and that number will grow as that file is processed.”

So why now? After all, it’s not as if onboarding large datasets is a new challenge. For one, Parr said, more marketers are adopting DMPs.

“It’s a less nascent product and one every big publisher and marketer needs to have,” Parr said. “Second is the smart use of offline data that’s happening. We’re seeing more integration with CRM files in the DMP.”

Continuous Fast Ramp is a standard feature for BlueKai customers. (As of last week, all of them were using it.) BlueKai initially pondered selling Continuous Fast Ramp as an add-on, but decided against it. The technology works strictly with BlueKai technologies, so it can’t be extracted to onboard data to a competing DMP.

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