17th January 2020: Brands are eager to onboard and match data sets, but don’t want first-party data to leave their own systems. They want user-level targeting, without the risk in trafficking actual consumer data.
Zeotap and InfoSum are tackling this data paradox with an onboarding partnership, announced on Monday, that allows marketers and agencies to sync data from InfoSum’s secure data warehouses using Zeotap’s onboarding and identity product as the connective tissue.
Data onboarding is a slow, unrewarding process for many brands and agencies, said Bret Leece, chief data and innovation officer at Havas, the first client to use Zeotap and InfoSum’s joint data service.
Data processors like Experian, Acxiom and Merkle could take a week or more to return matches or enhanced customer files, Leece said. Not only is this process time consuming, it also leads to data leakage whenever an onboarder jumps from a list of home or email addresses to cookie-based online audiences.
But InfoSum’s data warehouses are “locked tight like bunkers”, said CRO Richard Foster. And Zeotap’s connection across InfoSum’s warehouses enable audience matches ensure clients don’t have to send their first-party data to someone else’s servers, preventing data loss. It also means match rates and audience analytics can be returned in hours or a day, instead of a week or more.
It takes a long time for two companies to match their audiences, as departments like marketing, biz dev and legal all have to weigh in, Leece said. Then, it could take another week or more before the onboarding company sends back results.
And, even when the project is done, there’s no guarantee that the match rates were high or that the analytics are useful.
A cereal company might have an email list from a site promotion, but it might not be worth the time or money to match that data. But the InfoSum and Zeotap partnership speeds up this matching process, such that the cereal brand could quickly determine if its email addresses are useful, for instance, if they index highly to people who live in a certain city.
The cereal company could then use that data to decide whether to invest in paid media. Once ads are bought, the company will have cookies, online ad IDs and bidstream data it can use to do look-back analytics on the list and determine its value.
The partnership between InfoSum and Zeotap is an attempt to attract business that often goes to the biggest onboarder, LiveRamp – which is both a data warehouse and a connector.
InfoSum and Zeotap also see an opportunity as more agencies buy data companies. Dentsu owns Merkle, IPG owns Acxiom and Publicis owns Epsilon – and those three holding companies now have media agencies that are also selling data.
Marketers are suspicious of that arrangement.
Even holding companies that own their own data marketplaces integrate with independent startups to avoid conflicts from selling their own data packages.
Leece said it will be an advantage for Havas Converged, its identity data service, to work with independent providers instead of owning a data supplier. Havas also includes Viant’s ID data and Resonate in the US Converged offering. “Say at some point I wanted to swap out Acxiom with Zeotap, because InfoSum showed they hold greater value,” he said. “How would that work if we owned Zeotap? It wouldn’t, and what’s best for the client goes out the window.”