Why LiveRamp Is Banking On Google Cloud For Its Next Growth Spurt

Ad tech companies once gained market share through optimization bake-offs, in agency conference rooms and on the beaches of Cannes.

Now, wins come from the cloud.

“The cloud and first-party data are exploding right now,” said James Arra, LiveRamp’s head of cloud partnerships.

That’s why LiveRamp has forged a strategic relationship with Google Cloud Platform (GCP), he said.

Beyond the strategic partnership, LiveRamp is also a GCP client with its own system built on Google Cloud.

Last week, LiveRamp expanded its GCP integrations so that any of its clients can use its tech to support services such as digital ad payments, reconciliation and procurement. The evolution of LiveRamp’s relationship with GCP builds on an identity data partnership announced in April of last year that allows joint customers to sync LiveRamp IDs within GCP and then use those IDs for ad targeting or measurement (as long as the campaigns are trafficked by Google’s ad tech).

The new partnerships go beyond ad tech tools, like the Ads Data Hub integration which is directly about planning and buying media, Arra said.

Payment and reconciliation companies, for instance, don’t make a percent of media spend (like a DSP or exchange does), but get a fixed tech fee. With the new GCP integrations, those types of services can be natively incorporated into campaigns for joint customers.

One advantage of the new LiveRamp integration is that it consolidates spending on cloud services within GCP. Instead of running payment and reconciliation elsewhere – and paying that vendor elsewhere – those vendor services and payments are now integrated into GCP. The brand then qualifies for additional scale discounts within GCP and can lower costs against those subscription payment commitments.

Another benefit comes from the fact that a brand’s GCP data sets aren’t entirely tied to marketing, Arra said. Companies that build on GCP and that use BigQuery, Google’s cloud data warehouse, can send their customer service records, CRM data and manufacturing and supply-chain tracking as well as their own human resources info to the cloud.

That said, ad tech use cases are LiveRamp’s bread and butter, which is why they were the initial focus of its partnership with GCP.

But although last week’s announcement focused on campaign reconciliation and procurement, not pure ad tech, the cloud strategy works best when Google’s product set all works together.

An added benefit for brands that simultaneously use LiveRamp, GCP and Google’s Ads Data Hub is that they can match third-party ad IDs with Google first-party IDs for attribution and targeting. Again, though, these campaigns must be trafficked through Google’s ad tech and the identity data ncan ever leave Ads Data Hub.

“Where we’ve had a lot of success is in identifying specific use cases that are solved by the combination of these services,” Arra said.

LiveRamp is active on all three major cloud platforms: GCP, Amazon Web Services and Microsoft’s Azure. As just one example, LiveRamp recently announced an integration with Amazon Publisher Services to make its Authenticated Traffic Solution (LiveRamp’s product that collects email addresses from site visitors to enable addressable advertising) available to publishers that use Amazon’s cloud-based header bidding and sell-side tech.

But GCP and LiveRamp have a strong strategic accord, and even go to market together to win potential joint clients, Arra said.

Last year, the French retailer Carrefour launched its online ad platform business backed by LiveRamp, Criteo and GCP (although not Google ad tech, mind, just the cloud group).

“Our customers are setting up their own data warehouse products in these cloud environments,” Arra said. “We have to meet them there, where the data lives, for our tools to be used at their sharpest.”

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