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MyBuys Drives Email And Display Ad Personalization

BobCellMyBuys, a provider of personalized recommendations solutions for retailers, has rolled out a display ad offering called MyAds and rewired its product suite.

CEO Bob Cell said the changes let marketers more easily measure across the full consumer journey. And just as larger vendors like Adobe have moved toward “customer profile” pricing schemas, so too has MyBuys with its Active Shopper Database. Founded in 2006, the company serves such clients as GNC and Major League Baseball.

Cell spoke with AdExchanger.

AdExchanger: Bring us up to speed on MyBuys.

BOB CELL: In the past, we were leaders in personalizing on the website for offers and products. The second area we personalize is email; we connect the website activity and preferences captured and our analytics create individual emails for consumers, which we’ve called Alerts and MyMail.

Over the last three years we've developed technologies that have culminated in our display ad solution, MyAds.


Behind Expedia’s Media Enterprise

ExpediaMediaMany know for its bevy of hotel-booking businesses such as Hotwire and, but its burgeoning media services division is a lesser-known Internet name.

Expedia Media Solutions provides access to an active audience of 70 million monthly users. The business connects advertisers to in-market travelers across a wide range of supply sources and partners like Travelocity, which Expedia essentially “powers” in search results.

Noah Tratt, global VP of Expedia Media Solutions, gave AdExchanger the backstory on its travel media business.

AdExchanger: How did’s Media Solutions business come about?

NOAH TRATT: The group started in 2007 and, I’d say from 2007 to 2009, we were really focused on travel. The group was called Partner Marketing and we were very focused on suppliers and how we promote suppliers within our store. Starting in 2009, we started working with nonendemic partners to evolve our offering to accommodate nonpartner marketing business needs. We went through a two-year period where we learned a lot and improved, which has helped us be a better media company.

Do you serve the agency, advertiser or both?

The idea of doing media on Expedia was a response to our supplier relationships. The hotels we worked with wanted to find ways to amplify their product, service and brand on Expedia and our other properties. Over the last couple of years not only have we become a more global company, but we’ve realized that the innovation we’re investing in is not just relevant to those suppliers, but nonendemic advertisers as well. We’re really excited about a recent DreamWorks Animation campaign we helped with.


Why A Marriage Between Retailers And Demand-Side Platforms Makes Sense

RetailAre brick-and-mortar retail chains setting their sights on demand-side platforms (DSPs)?

The rumor that Tesco’s customer insights subsidiary, Dunnhumby, will acquire Sociomantic, a DSP provider, adds fuel to the possibility. And whether or not the rumored acquisition is true, industry experts expect to see more retailers working with DSPs.

If the deal occurs, Dunnhumby will gain a DSP that it could use to help Tesco and its other clients strengthen online targeting capabilities with ecommerce and shopper data. In addition, Sociomantic has bulked up its mobile, revenue-management and CRM capabilities, giving the British analytics firm additional advantages.

“My hunch is that Dunnhumby would do a combination of things [with  Sociomantic],” said Maureen Little, SVP of business development at Turn. “That could include enhancing the marketing capabilities of Tesco, building an ad business or adding it to a tech lab.”

The pressure to catch up with the personalization techniques, ad targeting and other capabilities of online retailers continues to rise for brick-and-mortar stores. While product test labs are not new, some retailers are building labs dedicated to bridging the gap between online and offline environments.


Silverpop’s Ecommerce Launch Underscores B2B-B2C Convergence

BryanBrownMarketing automation platform Silverpop’s recent push into revenue analytics for B2B marketers culminated Tuesday in the launch of Marketing Automation for Ecommerce.

The product addresses a multitude of B2C needs, at the core of which is the ability to tie email to revenue. The problem with attributing email to purchase activity is that a customer may get two or three emails leading to a decision to buy. A marketer that runs a three-part email “welcome” series can now see how all of those messages drove specific actions.

“They’re able to see which one was actually closest to the conversion and how did the other one impact that process based on, ‘Did the person click through to the site and do other things?’” said Bryan Brown, VP of product strategy for Silverpop.  “You can see how your overall campaigns and your emails work together.”

While traditional ecommerce analytics measured how many people clicked and ultimately bought as a result of an email message, which is still valuable, Silverpop saw a need in its customer base to address larger customer lifecycle management questions such as recency, frequency and monetary value (RFM) to determine when to reengage a company's best customers that may have lapsed or to appropriate campaign efforts elsewhere.


Shopzilla Bulks Up On Programmatic Media-Buying, Plans Multiscreen Products

ConnexityShopzilla, the comparison shopping site started in 1996 during the beginning stages of the ecommerce explosion, acquired on Wednesday programmatic media-buying platform Connexity to ramp up its audience-buying efforts.

Shopzilla will integrate Connexity into its audience-activation division, Aisle A, formed one year ago to facilitate display ad sales and retargeting on as well as its owned-and-operated sites Bizrate, Retrevo and Beso, which in total garner about 40 million monthly unique shoppers.

“We’re sitting on a tremendous amount of information about consumers and what they’re in market for,” said Craig Teich, SVP and GM of Aisle A.

Connexity has invested in multiscreen device bridging for remessaging purposes in the past year, which should allow Aisle A to identify audience segments at the household and individual level across screens.

The acquisition also allows Shopzilla (which is owned by Symphony Technology Group) to diversify its business beyond core search. Aisle A is a step toward increasing this diversity. Connexity’s technology and employees, Shopzilla claims, will help the company better  service agencies and direct advertisers by facilitating finely targeted audience-based buys based on its bevy of shopper intent data.


Optimizing Amazon: Playing Ball As A Media Partner

L2EventWhether one defines Amazon as a technology company, a retailer or both, what marketers should really be paying attention to is the company’s growing position as a media company and how they can better play ball with the platform, insiders say.

“Who can get a better CPM rate lower in the funnel than Google?” said Scott Galloway, founder of digital research think tank L2 and clinical professor of marketing at NYU Stern School of Business during L2’s “Amazon Clinic” Thursday. “When you click on an ad on Yahoo or AOL, maybe it takes you to the site or further down the funnel to a product page, but on Amazon, one click on an ad takes you straight to delivery if you’re a Prime member.”

He also praised Amazon’s “very robust, aggressive affiliate strategy.”

Emily Culp, former director of social strategy and emerging platforms at Unilever, seconded that motion. She said many marketers still only optimize for product search against Google.

But as Amazon grabs search share (Forrester estimated 30% of online product searches begin on Amazon versus Google’s 13%) and maintains its grip on audience purchase and demand data, Culp said it’s worthwhile to become Amazon’s media partner. “One out of every five ecommerce transactions happens through Amazon,” she said. “You will probably be partnering with [Amazon Media Group] in the future somehow. The question is when.”


NRF 2014: Jack Dorsey On Amazon, Privacy And Why He’s Sick Of the Word ‘Technology’

JackDorseyA denim-clad Jack Dorsey took the stage Wednesday morning at the National Retail Federation’s Big Show in New York, claiming to be a man of “very few words and even fewer characters.”

“We hear [the word ‘technology’] so much it tends to lose its meaning,” the chairman of microblogging mainstay Twitter and CEO of payments app Square told a crowd of brands and the technology vendors seeking to sell them solutions. “At the end of the day, all technology is is a tool. A basic tool saves people time. A good tool gives people purpose and meaning. A great tool makes people love using it.”

Touching on his role as co-founder of Twitter, which recently went public, and Square, which is expected to facilitate $30 billion in transactions this year on behalf of its merchants, according to The Wall Street Journal, Dorsey said, “[O]ne of the things I’ve looked at in my career is, ‘How do we rethink things from a radical sense?' I find, in our industry, we’re too focused on the tiny parts instead of the broader cohesive wholes. That is where you can create an end-to-end experience.”

Dorsey explored how technology companies can strike a balance between innovation and mindfulness of consumer privacy when developing those experiences.

Focus on the follow-up. Not just the transaction.

“The one thing people take away in every commerce transaction is the receipt. Sometimes, it’s not taken and the reason it’s not taken is it’s not useful. At the end of the day, the merchant has very little information about the sale. That’s why cohesion is important. It removes the seams from all of these transactions. It’s not just the product or service people take away. It’s about what experience they have. There is a lot of focus on transactions -- mechanical objects and movements. It’s not about just improving loyalty or CRM or customer relationships. It’s about connecting the dots between those things, that lie between the transactions. … It has to be software that creates great experiences that doesn’t focus all the experience on the transaction.”


Measuring Amazon, eBay’s Media, Market Placements

AmazonEbayArtAlthough Amazon and eBay are retail marketplace giants, the companies supply data and sell media placements in very different ways. These differences, reflected in their respective digital go-to-market strategies, trace back to each company’s origin. EBay’s roots in auction-based, consumer-to-consumer (C2C) business give marketers and advertisers a much different value proposition than Amazon’s original B2C play.

The Data Difference

Both Amazon and eBay have programmatic offerings in their ad sales businesses. EBay has its buy-side eBay Audience Platform whereas Amazon has a demand-side offering, Amazon Advertising Platform. But the two companies supply different levels of intent data.

For instance, eBay is more flexible than Amazon about opening its own data for audience targeting purposes and for making it available in standalone data sets.

“EBay is very transparent about buying data or standardized ad units with targeting while Amazon is more about buying the ‘consumer’ and letting them dictate where that inventory is actually being bought at,” said Jim Barkow, GM of media at ecommerce and media network Bazaarvoice. (Bazaarvoice competes with eBay and Amazon.)


Liftopia Gets Skiers To Bounce Off Moguls, Not Its Website

liftopiaSome people dread winter. Others revel in it, and it’s to these powderhounds that Liftopia caters.

Using Liftopia, skiers (and snowboarders) can reserve significantly discounted lift tickets for specific resorts on specific dates. The company wears many hats. Its prime function is as an ecommerce site, yet because it offers lift tickets to ski resorts across North America, it also gets visitors looking for information about the terrain (black diamond-blue square-green circle ratio, for instance), snow conditions and resort amenities like where to spa and party.

And depending on where visitors come from – email, organic search, direct entry or through a display ad – Liftopia needs to serve up the right information immediately, or risk losing a potential sale.

“We’ve always prided ourselves on being a data-driven organization,” said Ron Schneidermann, the company’s CMO and co-founder. He recalled the company’s founding in 2005, when it had a $2,000 marketing budget for the entire season.  “We couldn’t afford to misspend any dollars,” he said. “[Today], with all the marketing we do, we’ve always gravitated toward direct-response channels that we can measure and quantify in as close to real time as possible.”


Ads Across Amazon: O&O Sites Vary In RTB And Data Readiness

AmazonEcosystemAlthough Amazon has kept fairly quiet about its ad-services pitch to media buyers, analysts believe that marketing services will be a driving force in what sustains and propels the ecommerce giant in the years to come.

“Amazon has to push into new areas,” writes David Farnoush, a media analyst for Harmelin Media, in a blog post. “The retail environment it once dominated has changed. Every other retailer has finally … showed up to the game and [begun to utilize Amazon] learned tactics like price-matching and increasing online selection/availability.”

One of Amazon’s focuses is its burgeoning ad services business, which has grown significantly in recent years. In the company’s Q3 earnings update, digital ad revenues (Amazon groups ad dollars into an “Other” category, which also consists of Amazon Web Services and co-branded credit cards) hit the $960 million mark, more than double the $420 million figure recorded for the same period two years ago, indicating positive momentum.

It remains unclear, however, which Amazon ad units are most lucrative. David Selinger, cofounder and CEO of omnichannel retail personalization engine RichRelevance and former Amazon engineer, said in a recent interview that if he were to guess, “I’d say a quarter of [ad revenue] might come from audience programmatic data arbitrage. Probably two-thirds, or a little more than half, would come from traditional media sales across Amazon properties and then the final quarter or so would come from their new and emerging ad units,” such as new rich-media ecommerce ad formats enabling customers to purchase right in-ad.