Adroit Move: MediaMath Spins Retail Data Co-op Into New Data Offering Helix

ross_edited-1MediaMath on Wednesday announced a new business unit, named Helix, meant to translate the company’s existing retail data assets into a unified product offering.

The move follows a string of MediaMath investments in consumer data, beginning with the acquisition of Adroit Interactive in 2010 and continuing with the purchase of Akamai’s Advertising Decision Solutions (later rebranded as Adroit Digital in 2013).

When Adroit Digital purchased Arcametrics, which specialized in customer lookalike modeling, at the end of 2014, Adroit President Jacob Ross (now the president of Helix) said, “In the coming year, Adroit will be working aggressively to build out our capabilities” by combining the two companies.

Just over a year later, Ross describes the Helix launch as the culmination of that beta period. With its launch, Adroit will be sunsetted.

Ross said Helix will go to market with two revenue models, one a monthly subscription and the other based on volume of data used.

Among the early advertisers to test Helix is Pep Boys.

“The opportunity to take shopping patterns online and expand that into a larger consumer data set opens a lot of doors for us,” said Rachel Silva, assistant VP of marketing for the brand.

The co-op consists of some 300 companies, including more than 30 of the 100 largest American retailers, which have agreed to share online transaction data in return for access to the co-op’s pooled data.

Asked about concerns over marketers leveraging a rival’s shopper data, Ross said Helix has mechanisms in place to prevent poaching. For example, an anonymized profile must be tracked from multiple locations (such as a browsing history and a previous purchase), not lifted directly from a rival’s transaction data.

He also claimed the overall size of the pool is large enough – with more than 500 million profiles – to obscure any single retailer’s data.

The launch of Helix comes in the wake of some high-profile hires from the retail industry, including those of Oracle retail solutions VP Heather Blank and former Macy’s omnichannel director Iday Shanawaz.

Blank said the key differentiator isn’t just raw consumer data, but overlaying those transactions with web browsing and behavioral data.

Eventually, MediaMath may extend Helix’s retail data assets into other aspects of its media buying, such as influencing paid-search bids or email marketing, according to Ross. For now the company is focused on adding potential data partners and integrating clients onto the platform.


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1 Comment

  1. Tom Burg

    They acquired Akamai’s Advertising Decision Solutions business unit, not Akamai.