BlueKai CEO Tawakol Says TrackSimple Acquisition Completes DMP Stack

TrackSimpleYesterday, BlueKai announced that it had purchased TrackSimple, “a Seattle-based data analytics company that provides reporting, analysis and prediction services to media companies. “a Seattle-based data analytics company that provides reporting, analysis and prediction services to media companies.” Read the release.

BlueKai CEO Omar Tawakol discussed the acquisition and its implications. Why acquire TrackSimple?  How does the tech fit into BlueKai?

OT: BlueKai’s business has been laser-focused on audience data while TrackSimple’s business has primarily been focused on media campaign data.  The combination of the two brings a closed-loop approach to the audience management discipline where marketers and their agencies can create one audience, target them anywhere, AND see which campaigns performed the best to refine audience data, media and channel over time.  This is our definition of a comprehensive DMP (data management platform) and TrackSimple’s service fits very nicely in bringing in the media data expertise.

What will happen to the TrackSimple team with the acquisition?

We are very pleased to have the entire TrackSimple team join BlueKai.  They are all ex-Amazon engineers who really get data; a huge asset for BlueKai in the acquisition.

What does the BlueKai “stack” look like today? Can you “bullet” it for us?

Overall, we have created one platform for marketers and their agencies to ingest, activate, analyze and refine their first party audience data asset.  This is how I would organize our offering:

  • Tag Management – ability to collect and organize all audience data in one central data taxonomy with inventory services and provide a spectrum of permissions for data access and sharing
  • Audience Segmentation – ability to achieve world class audience segmentation across your own private 1st and 3rd party data as assets to reach audiences at different stages of the purchase funnel
  • Media Integration – ability to seamlessly and efficiently share your data segments with agency partners and “plug and serve” ads against your target audiences across the leading ad networks, trading desks, portals and DSPs
  • Campaign Analytics – ability to see and compare campaign performance across various digital channels (including display, video, search, etc)  in ONE dashboard and optimize media spend
  • Audience Analytics– ability to learn more about any audience segment for audience new discovery and campaign reach expansion

With other DMPs in the ad tech space, how does BlueKai differentiate?

BlueKai is the leading intent platform.  If you think about a marketer’s first party data it is one of the most valuable forms of intent data.  It is natural that we would extend our lead in understanding how to deal with 3rdparty intent to dealing with 1st party intent data.  In addition, we are now redefining what a DMP is by providing a comprehensive solution that covers all the capabilities an agency would need to really master audience targeting.  We do this by offering a comprehensive approach to audience data management and tag management – there are vendors out there today whose businesses focus on single elements of what we’ve defined as one unified DMP solution.  Marketers need a centralized and simplified approach and that’s what we’re focusing on delivering with this launch.

It’s also media agnostic and lets us focus on being the data experts and by creating a platform where campaign performance data can inform a data-centric media planning over time.

And, with data analytics,  BlueKai has the ability to provide intelligence about your audience that you can’t get anywhere else. Our exchange business gives us access to a vast amount of audience data that helps us create deep data profiles across multiple data sources.

Why add tag management capabilities?

Streamlined and secure data collection has always been a part of our BlueKai Data Exchange business where we work on collecting over a billion data points daily from our data providers.  We have now extended this feature as part of our DMP to help marketers gain control over first party data collection and aggregation. In particular we are exposing capabilities that let marketers control the security and access levels of their own proprietary data.

How does the target market evolve for BlueKai with today’s announcement?

Our DMP is primarily focused on helping marketers and their agencies make sense of their first party data assets.  Our exchange business continues to be the largest marketplace for 3rd party audience data, focused on bringing data access and data-centric targeting to ad networks, portals, publishers, trading desks and DSPs.  The best market analogy here is DoubleClick.  They have a marketplace where you buy ads (AdX) and they also have DoubleClick for Advertisers (DFA).  You can use DFA without using AdX.  The same is true for the BlueKai DMP solution and the BlueKai Exchange.

Is it possible that BlueKai could offer an attribution modeling capability for data someday considering its stack and ability to see the usage of data across the exchange as well as its performance through the BlueKai stack?

Yes one could imagine that our customers would want to know which data attributes create the most conversions for them.  We hear this request quite clearly.  No comments yet on how we deal with this.  Perhaps that will be a Q&A in the future.

By John Ebbert

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  1. Its interesting to see the data broker model “pivot” to a – hopefully – more sustainable place … but, really, how valuable is a the DMP opportunity? If I was large brand marketer, I’d pay a flat fee of at most $100-200k for this enhanced data warehousing service (see, eg, Acxiom’s database management model). It seems that a lot of ad tech companies — ad nets, DSPs, data brokers — are opportunistically chasing the DMP pitch to see if it leads them to a more valuable business model.

    • That’s like saying Google’s purchase of DoubleClick was a pivot away from search into banner ad serving. Expanding doesn’t mean you don’t value your core. You either value the data business or not. If you do – this is a smart move.