It’s a fact of life that data on the continent doesn’t come in the same convenient packets that it does in the US and UK. The big data providers that we use every day in the UK, such as BlueKai and eXelate, have a lesser presence across the EMEA region.
It’s not that data doesn’t exist in the region, of course it does. However, the data in these markets is often held by different companies, kept in other forms, or may need to be added to offline information to make it truly valuable.
The bottom line is that everyone collects data, but not everyone utilises it effectively, or even realises that information collected as part of their primary business activity might have value.
This means that companies like Videology need to take a more creative approach to sourcing the consumer data required to help our advertising clients reach their target audiences.
Essentially, in order to extract value for agencies, advertisers and publishers, we have identified four key ways of maximising data in EMEA:
First, we work with a variety of companies that collect opt-in consumer data in different ways. It may be data gathered as a byproduct of their business’ core function, or gathering insights that don’t come from conventional cookie-style tracking, but these can be incredibly rich sources of data.
An example of this is Videology’s recent partnership with VisualDNA. Following the completion of a server-to-server integration between our two companies, we have expanded our close working relationship in the UK to now include additional European territories – France, Spain, Italy and Ireland. VisualDNA’s data will help our clients understand more about consumers, their purchase intent and demographics, and importantly, the emotive and lifestyle factors that influence all stages of the buying process.
VisualDNA use patented, image-based surveys in partnership with key publishers and offline data partners to understand global audiences. It also uses its Behavioural Inference Technology to segment other consumers, creating millions of new profiles. Videology can then utilise this data to not only effectively and efficiently target our client campaigns to the audience they want to reach, but also fuel our ad-decisioning capabilities into multiple formats.
There are a variety of companies that also gather opt-in data for other purposes, such as promotions and sweepstakes. Integration with these data rich companies alongside standard data sources can contribute greatly to our wider understanding of consumer behaviour.
Secondly, we work closely with our publisher partners to help them monetise the data generated on their own websites. Publishers often have data collected via registration forms, which can help us understand more about the consumers who view our clients’ advertising campaigns.
Working with publishers to categorise their inventory in a more detailed way can help them produce more relevant content and better define and interact with their users, whilst also creating more valuable inventory for advertisers.
The third area where we increase our understanding of consumers is via offline geographical data. IP addresses can link users to locational clusters – companies with offline direct marketing heritage such as Experian and Acxiom can then classify consumers based on in-depth demographic data in these areas – enabling us to add more granularity to our targeting profiles.
Similar techniques can also be used for mobile advertising. If GPS signals indicate that a phone is at a certain location between 11pm and 6am, we can make the reasonable assumption that the user lives in that area and perform a similar exercise.
The final area where we can add more to our understanding is via inference. It’s a technique that’s also used successfully by VisualDNA to build its profile database.
Inference works on the basis that if we have built a picture of what 10,000 consumers look like and can understand their online behaviour, we can use mathematical modeling techniques to infer which other consumers are likely to have similar interests.
The degree to which these inferred consumers need to match our exact opt-in panel can be set to different levels depending on specific advertiser needs.
There are other areas that can also be explored. E-commerce and loyalty companies across Europe collect consumer data, but don’t necessarily understand the value of that data, or more to the point, how to extract the value from that data. Understandably, monetizing this information is a new concept to them, so privacy and technology concerns often arise. It’s important that companies looking to monetize their data, do so with a partner that is experienced, respectful of consumer privacy and has the knowledge to help them work through these areas and bring their data to market in a relevant and compliant manner. It is of the utmost importance that data providers strike the right balance between providing valuable insight to advertisers and the market, whilst ensuring their number one priority is safeguarding consumer privacy and the relationships they’ve built with their customers.
There is also an opportunity for US and UK data providers to expand their footprint into Europe. We understand that many may be reluctant to set up in markets where they don’t have relationships and guaranteed demand, but it’s an area where your existing business partners, such as Videology, may be able to help navigate the local terrain. The data opportunities are there and bringing greater levels of insight and revenue to these key European markets is in everyone’s best interest.