RSS FeedArchive for the ‘Data’ Category

Why LinkedIn Could Be The De Facto B2B Data Platform

LinkedInEndorseProfessional social networking platform LinkedIn seemed to commit to programmatic, particularly among the B2B community, when it acquired business data company Bizo for an estimated $175 million Tuesday.

LinkedIn “has a bet on CRM and their investment in Bizo shows they really want to double down on B2B marketers,” said Ray Wang, chairman and principal analyst at Constellation Research.

Bizo brings a vast, pixel-based media exchange and anonymous demographic data on some 120 million-business professionals. This extends LinkedIn’s offsite reach and bolsters the quality of its in-market data.

“We’ve been pushing LinkedIn for a number of our clients like Lenovo and Red Hat and a number of clients have asked for this type of interaction,” said Bob Ray, president, Americas for B2B media-buying and planning agency DWA. “I think they offer up the argument to their user base that they’re still very focused on privacy, but at the same time with Bizo, they’ll offer to marketers a way to connect the dots” through new tools and services.

What’s unique about LinkedIn’s new value proposition, Ray said, is the ability to fold marketing automation systems such as Eloqua or Marketo in with LinkedIn’s own properties.


BlueKai’s Tawakol Spearheads Oracle Data Cloud Effort

OmarTWhen Oracle acquired data technology and services company BlueKai in February, the product roadmap seemed to split. Down one avenue, BlueKai’s data-management platform (DMP) would plug a hole in the company’s Oracle Marketing Cloud stack. The second avenue circles BlueKai’s vaunted data exchange, Audience Data Marketplace.

Marketing Cloud SVP and GM Kevin Akeroyd was the immediate beneficiary of the DMP, which is being integrated with the other technologies in the stack including email marketing from Eloqua, campaign management from Responsys and content marketing from Compendium.

But Oracle’s head honcho, cofounder and CEO Larry Ellison also wanted to know what would become of the data exchange.

“At the time the acquisition happened, it was originally driven by Oracle Marketing Cloud pulling the BlueKai DMP into the stack,” said Omar Tawakol, BlueKai’s CEO and now GM of the Oracle Data Cloud. The data marketplace, Tawakol and his colleagues realized, “could add a third leg to the stool.”

If Oracle’s first leg is software and its second leg is hardware, then its third leg is Data-as-a-Service, hooking the BlueKai data exchange into enterprise use cases beyond marketing, like sales and commerce. As GM of Oracle Data Cloud, Tawakol is leading the centralization of some of Oracle’s social marketing acquisitions (such as Collective Intellect), BlueKai’s Audience Data Marketplace and data as a service for “groups that were natively built within Oracle for data-as-a-service, such as sales and talent management,” Tawakol said.


Adform Forms A Value-Add: A New DMP

adformDanish ad tech provider Adform has released a first-generation data-management platform (DMP) through which its clients can monetize their data and increase yield.

“There are a lot of publishers out there that want to monetize their data,” said Adform CMO Martin Stockfleth Larsen. “They’ve sold out inventorywise, but the one area that hasn't sold out is data. It’s a natural extension to our existing platform.”

Adform’s DMP, available to its clients at no extra charge, is part of a stack that includes a rich media offering, tagging, reporting and a demand-side platform (DSP).

The DMP space is frenetic with activity, and ad tech providers that don’t have one are either quick to acquire (see: Oracle and BlueKai) or build (see: Xaxis). Adform, according to Larsen, took six months to build out its platform – and it didn’t cost nearly the $25 million that Xaxis’ new Turbine did.


[X+1] Enhancement Keys In On Offline-Online Connections

nardone-xplus1[X+1] has added a new component to its data-management platform (DMP) called Origin KeyChain to expand its offline targeting capabilities.

“Prior to KeyChain, we could do offline targeting for our customers, but only for their customer IDs and not for prospects,” said CEO John Nardone.

Here’s how it works. Generally speaking, DMPs gather user information from a bunch of sources (online cookies, CRM systems, etc.). As Nardone explained it, the platform wraps all of this data around a persistent identifier, called a key. The specific nature of that key differs from DMP to DMP, but in many cases, it’s an online cookie.

Imagine a magnet (representing the persistent identifier) with a bunch of objects like paperclips or thumbtacks (representing additional pieces of user information) stuck to it.

However, many third-party data providers have their own unique keys. So a marketer working with [x+1] as well as other third-party data providers would have to manage numerous persistent identifiers, many of which are incompatible. In other words, clients are stuck with massive data silos.


Aerospike Open Sources Its Database, Raises $20M In Funding


Aerospike, the database solutions provider whose technology has powered AppNexus, BlueKai and eXelate, will open source its technology. The company also revealed Tuesday that it raised $20 million in Series C funding, which Aerospike will use to help finance the open source process and develop tools that will help clients scale their applications.

“We are open sourcing our technology so that enterprises across the board can have access to our technology,” said Aerospike CMO Monica Pal. “I actually believe that what the ad tech ecosystem has done formed the foundation for how all enterprises have to reach their customers across the Internet.” Open sourcing its technology potentially strengthens Aerospike’s value proposition over the in-house databases fielded by Facebook, Amazon and Google.

“[Aerospike’s technology is] the underlying repository that clients use to store all their user level information,” explained Elad Efraim, eXelate CTO. "Imagine a scenario surrounding real time modeling. What the client would need is an algorithm that they can use to store users, and a means to look into the attributes that qualify that user into specific targeting segments.”


Xaxis DMP Turbine Spins To Life

Lesser XaxisYet another data-management platform (DMP) has hit the market, at least for clients of Xaxis, WPP’s trading desk. The DMP, called Turbine, is the fruits of a $25 million investment.

“The strategy we designed with Xaxis was to develop the pieces of the ad tech stack that gave the most competitive advantage to our clients,” said Xaxis CEO Brian Lesser. “That’s the DMP without a doubt. That’s not to say other pieces of the ad tech stack aren’t important, because they are, but data is where you get leverage.”

Prior to Turbine, Xaxis used 24/7 Media’s Zeus, a “first-iteration” DMP (WPP acquired 24/7 in 2007 and merged it with Xaxis in December) built with IBM’s data products subsidiary, Netezza. Lesser said Zeus “is still an important part of our business” – Xaxis continues to use Zeus for analytics, but not to build segments for targeting, which is now Turbine’s purview.

Consequently, Turbine’s value proposition revolves around its ability to build audience segments quickly, and to make immediate alterations to those segments as necessary. The advent of large, unstructured data sets (or big data, to use the buzzword), made the upgrade necessary.

“We looked at the problem of disparate data and increasing amounts of data sources and said we needed a different kind of solution,” Lesser said.


Facebook Lets Competing Advertisers Target Off Each Other's Site And App Data

fb-like-dataOne of Facebook's hidden assets is the waterfall of data signals it gets from other websites and apps.

These signals wend their way to Facebook from social plugins, conversion pixels and retargeting cookies embedded on millions of websites and mobile apps. Facebook's code snippets tell the social network whenever a user lands on a product page, reads an article or researches a travel package. It has been collecting such data for years, but has never activated it for ad-targeting purposes.

Until now.

Facebook will soon begin using data signals gathered from its publisher integrations to inform ad messaging, creating profiles based on a far more complete universe of potentially interested buyers than it has ever made available to advertisers before. In making the announcement, Facebook also said it will offer more robust user privacy controls, including opting out of this new stream of intent data.

This could get awkward fast, since Facebook will effectively be selling data from one advertiser to its competitors – perhaps generating targeted fashion ads from Target based in part on a person's interest in swimwear gathered from a visit to

"Advertisers may now potentially be suppliers of 'signal' for their competitors to buy ads against," is how Rob Leathern, former CEO at Facebook PMD Optimal Inc., put it.


Are You A Human Packages The 'Real Person' Data Set

bentrendaupdated-2User authentication company Are You a Human started in 2007 with its CAPTCHA replacement tool, PlayThru, which fights back against fraudulent impressions and bots that have become increasingly effective in mimicking real users. The tool uses interactive visual tasks – say, dragging a virtual ball into a bucket – that are more difficult for bots to fool.

Co-founder Tyler Paxton has said the idea came about after a run on Hannah Montana tickets by scalpers' bots meant the minutes he took to verify himself meant the show was sold out before he had a chance to buy. Now the company is finding more uses for its tool – and the data it provides – after hiring Ben Trenda, a former senior executive with iSocket and Rubicon Project, as CEO in April.

It’s a “cat-and-mouse game” against bots, Trenda said, but by requiring visual interaction on the screen Are You a Human makes it much more difficult for bots to imitate a real person. “Bots aren’t able to do this.”

More accurate identification of bots can lead to more efficient spending of ad dollars for marketers, a higher value on impressions for publishers and a valuable data set of verified human users for everyone, Trenda said.


Are Tag Managers Turning Their Backs On The Tag?

MakeCloudTealium became the latest tag management system (TMS) provider to pivot away from pure play TMS on Wednesday when it released a tool designed to help companies link their various standalone marketing technologies.

This puts Tealium on the same path as other TMS providers (like BrightTag, which renamed itself Signal and rolled out an Open Data Platform on Tuesday) positioning their technology as a neutral data layer that connects marketing tools from different vendors, making them operable together.

“TMS as a category belies the value of these tools,” said Andrew Jones, industry analyst at Altimeter Group. “Yes, it speaks to their original value proposition of making it easier to manage and implement tags and that’s not going away. But the ability to sense customer behaviors in real time, and to act on them…is why we’re seeing a shift in emphasis.”

Qubit, another company that could be classified as a tag manager, rolled out recently a suite of “digital intelligence” apps and now positions its technology as a Digital Experience Management (DXM) platform. In an interview with AdExchanger, the company said it has “built a technology stack that’s focused on driving incremental revenue by improving metrics,” combining Web and mobile analytics, A/B testing and personalization.


BrightTag Signals A New Data-Driven Direction

BrightTagTag management technology company BrightTag changed its name to Signal on Tuesday and rolled out an “Open Data Platform” for marketers to link disparate data collection sources such as CRM, email, DSPs and DMPs. This comes on the heels of a small acquisition the company made just days ago of Signal, an email and SMS marketing platform.

But get one thing clear: “We’re not a marketing stack,” said Marc Kiven, founder and CRO of Signal. “We’re the data foundation that helps make their stacks better.” Joe Stanhope, who joined BrightTag as SVP of marketing from Forrester Research in March, said the company’s marketer clients maintain an average of 17 systems.

“That’s a lot of technology and when you spread it out across different channels and touch points, it’s even more complex,” he said. “What we’re trying to do with the Open Data Platform is sit between all this data and technology to make them work better together.”

It’s become increasingly challenging to differentiate between the capabilities of a data management platform (DMP), attribution technology and the tag management system (TMS), particularly when all systems, in one way or another, codify and track data signals cross-channel.

“My view is that tag management will become part of a larger play around digital marketing tech and data management, but will certainly not be going away anytime soon from a user perspective,” said James McCormick, senior analyst at Forrester Research. That said, “I have yet to see a vendor which has grown with a single focus on tag management really make a leap away from the space.”