With Publisher Addressable Marketplaces, Merkle is building the pipes to transact such deals more automatically. In some cases, publishers will use the Sonobi platform in order to connect.
In the case of Pandora, the connection builds on work done for CRM-matching programs between the two companies last year, said Dave Smith, VP of monetization and yield for Pandora.
Merkle’s work to connect its clients’ CRM data to publishers’ data signals a shift in how buyers and sellers will work together.
With the rise of people-based advertising, advertisers are evaluating publishers based on how well they collect and use readers’ deterministic data (PCH is already executing on this). Publishers with strong data capabilities “will naturally rise to the top of the plan through performance,” Lee said.
Pandora’s Smith expects 10% to 20% of the company’s overall ad revenue to come from channels where CRM matching is possible. He noted marketers who first used CRM-based targeting saw at least twice the ROI, even with higher pricing.
One common issue with targeting campaigns using CRM data is lack of scale. Good match rates can range from 30% to over 60%, according to Merkle. Pandora’s Smith reported similar numbers, and said good mobile device IDs from partners can push match rates to the 60%-plus range.
Consequently, lookalike functionalities are on Publisher Addressable Marketplaces’ road map, Lee said. But some of Merkle’s publisher partners, such as Pandora, can perform lookalike modeling on their end based on unique attributes like listening behavior.
Merkle’s hope is that the connections formed through Publisher Addressable Marketplaces will help publishers with strong customer data sets compete with the likes of Facebook and Google.
“The stat now is that between 80 and 85 cents of every dollar are going to Facebook and Google,” Lee said. “We are huge proponents of what Facebook and now increasingly Google are doing in bringing true people-based inventory to market. But more direct deals with premium pubs that are people-based could bring democratization and balance to the ecosystem.”