Viacom Taps AmEx Data To Forecast Consumer Intent

viacom-amexViacom and American Express on Tuesday announced Vantage Intent – a Viacom product powered by AmEx – to help advertisers use purchase intent to find audiences across TV, digital and social.

As a premium offering within the data and audience platform Viacom Vantage, Vantage Intent is designed to analyze roughly $1 trillion worth of AmEx’s closed-loop purchase transactions to develop audience segments based on predictive insights from past consumer buying habits.

American Express creates predictive audience segments in-house and onboards them to Vantage Intent. Viacom then matches these segments to their viewership data to inform targeted buys. All data is based on anonymized forecasts and models, rather than personal data, to protect member privacy.

“Viacom never sees or touches one ounce of American Express data,” said Kern Schireson, EVP of data strategy and consumer intelligence at Viacom. “Through an anonymized safe harbor, American Express helps us match data to digital screens or set-top boxes where people are viewing TV.”

American Express has been using predictive modeling to service its customers for about five years. Partnering with Viacom will expand these capabilities to reach the entire US population and create an opportunity to work with a broad network of advertisers.

“We were looking for someone at the cutting edge of using predictive modeling and analysis in the TV industry,” said Manish Gupta, EVP of global information management and data products at American Express. “There were a few players, but after research we found Viacom was at the front of this movement.”

For Viacom, the partnership is more about the quality of American Express data and its ability to predict behaviors than it is about scale and attribution. The network already partners with Experian, Acxiom and Nielsen Catalina to gain insights on millions of household devices.

“The key difference is that what we have is a source of truth – actual purchase behavior as a feed to our predictive analysis,” Gupta said. “We can ratify, verify and be very pinpointed.”

Advertisers have yet to sign on to the platform. And Viacom hasn’t thought about how it will deal with certain conflicts of interest, such as using American Express data to predict and target audiences for competitive advertisers like Visa or MasterCard.

For now, American Express is testing the waters of extending its predictive modeling capabilities within the TV industry, but Gupta said there’s potential for other markets down the road.

“Maybe the retail in-store industry, where getting to know a customer when they walk in is very helpful,” he said. “Or the mobile industry, where customer recognition and targeting is getting better, but there are a lot of inefficiencies.”

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