At the center of the new WMX service is a product called CONNEX, where marketers can develop a first-party asset within the Warner platform. If a brand shows up with its own first-party customer data, some customers will match to WMG’s identity data set, and the matched IDs can be used for targeting or measuring a campaign. If a brand campaign includes sponsored content on YouTube, WMX may also collect new fans or logged-in users who’ve engaged with the brand via that sponsorship.
But there is a catch: CONNEX data can’t leave the WMX platform, Josephsen said, which means brands can’t build audiences on Warner Music first-party and then export those audiences to target elsewhere. But the CONNEX data does build in size and effectiveness over time and helps inform creative and overall strategy, he said. A brand, for example, might see that a particular genre of music or demographic group is responding well to a campaign and focus more there.
It is now common for major media and ad platforms to have first-party data and analytics products that apply exclusively to owned-and-operated media or inventory they control. Google’s Ads Data Hub is a big one, but publishers like The New York Times, NBCUniversal and even retailers like Walmart or Target are following the same trail.
Right now, WMX only includes Warner Music’s own sites and inventory, but Josephsen said in the future the company plans to introduce an audience extension product that will allow brands to target known or logged-in audiences programmatically across the web.
Brands are pressing their supply-side partners to provide more data and stronger analytics, Josephsen said. But considering tightened privacy rules from tech companies and governments, such granular data can only be used by big media companies that have their own audiences.
“Brands are looking for fewer bigger and better partners,” he said. “We’re able to go into that level of specificity with them and do it at scale.”