Amazon Opens AWS Data Exchange – And New Opportunities For Data Sellers

Amazon introduced a new way for its cloud customers to buy and use third-party data with the launch of the AWS Data Exchange on Thursday.

There are about 90 data companies as launch partners, including PlaceIQ, Epsilon, Acxiom and Foursquare.

Unlike data marketplaces such as those operated by The Trade Desk, Oracle or LiveRamp, the AWS Data Exchange isn’t focused on marketers.

The data in the exchange isn’t user-level or connected to households, so it isn’t strong for ad targeting, said David Skinner, Acxiom’s managing director of channels and alliances. It also doesn’t create audience packages to send to Amazon's ad platform.

“Unlike DMPs, which are oriented around cookie-based data for digital activation, AWS Data Exchange is a marketplace for any data set for analytics,” Skinner said.

So a city or local government that uses AWS might pull up Foursquare data to help determine where to place a new transport station based on foot traffic trends. Or a corporate development team could use it to plan investments or new locations.

Because that information is housed in an Amazon cloud, AWS clients can access it quickly and easily.

“Customers have told us that they’d like to be able to consume data they already subscribe to in a way more consistent with what they’re building in the cloud, and be able to find new data sources,” wrote Stephen Orban, general manager of AWS and the new data exchange, in an email to AdExchanger.

Large brands and enterprises are shifting from data warehouse centers to cloud-based data storage, Skinner said. The AWS Data Exchange is a sign of maturity for those enterprise orgs.

New business opportunities for data sellers

Many data companies with roots in marketing see the AWS Data Exchange as a way to branch into new verticals and non-advertising revenue.

“This partnership opens up a brand new distribution channel for our data amongst a very large client base that are utilizing AWS,” said Stacey Hawes, president of Epsilon’s Data Practice, and an AWS Data Exchange partner.

Amazon competitors such as Salesforce and Microsoft have similar third-party data exchanges.

But the AWS exchange is unique due to its scale across businesses and categories, Hawes said.

PlaceIQ, a location data provider that primarily serves marketers, sees its spot in the AWS exchange as a good way to push data beyond media, said CEO Duncan McCall. The initial applications for location data, like location-based retargeting or proximity tracking in stores, was just the tip of the iceberg in terms of how the data could be used, he said.

Big consultancies and market research companies, private equity investors, government organizations and universities and education institutions are among the industries where location data is in demand, but executives or officials don’t turn to the mar tech ecosystem.

“Amazon’s new Data Exchange is ideal for us to identify and strengthen relationships with industries that we don't often connect with, including life sciences, real estate and the public sector,” said Foursquare SVP of product Josh Cohen.

Almost 90% of the data economy right now is tied to marketing – meaning the data is used for ad campaigns or ad analytics – said Matt Habiger, chief data scientist at TruFactor, a subsidiary of the mobile ad company InMobi and an AWS Data Exchange launch partner. Amazon’s new exchange could help shift that toward government services, telcos, urban planning and retail, where there’s appetite for data outside of advertising.

“I definitely think it’s a meaningful pool of potential new business,” Habiger said, considering AWS’s footprint in cloud computing beyond advertising.

There are other data exchanges and cloud providers, but AWS has the dominant footprint in cloud infrastructure and reaches a long tail of developers, businesses and organizations, he said.

The Google Cloud Platform is more tightly connected to its ad business. Ads Data Hub, the cloud-based ad analytics hub where the Google ad ID can be stored, practically forces many Google ad customers to have Google cloud accounts.

Microsoft Azure, the second most popular cloud infrastructure provider behind AWS, is catching up to Amazon, but still has a 15% market share, compared to Amazon at 48% of the cloud business, according to Gartner’s cloud infrastructure report this year.

McCall said he expects the AWS exchange to grow into a meaningful data distribution channel “given the number and diversity of folks on that platform now able to access the data directly.”

 

 

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