BlueKai and eXelate hit the PR jackpot today with a feature article in the NY Times. Though the article written by Stephanie Clifford ends with a thud, it hits on a core reason exchanges exist and expand today. Clifford quotes BlueKai CEO, Omar Tawakol, saying, "People are realizing that it’s the data that drives the value.”
Data drives value - the exchange value proposition in a nutshell. The value is enabled by transparency and control of the exchange model. But for the consumer and congressman reading the article, it will likely be another reminder about privacy and that we need to "watch out for those tricky technology guys."
Clifford differentiates BlueKai and eXelate saying that eXelate goes beyond selling eCommerce cookie data to include publisher registration data.
Also, BlueKai behavioral targeting apparently shows a 10x improvement in CPMs for publishers. I wasn't joking the other day when I said Google's behavioral search retargeting will yield 10x better CPMs for pubs (even if I said I was joking).
One line popular with data exchange providers was expressed by BlueKai's Takorwal: "A commerce player knows more about travel than Google does, but Google’s capturing all this advertising."
Not to take away from the data exchanges unquestioned, favorable purchase funnel location, to say that commerce sites know more about any category is a bit fact, a bit marketing talk.
Google is still the big comparison shopping engine with its first search engine result page (SERP) often being a classified ad section for all the top advertisers in any category. For example, the travel provider may know that an adventurer is going basejumping in New Mexico, but Google knows, too -and more- as the user searches for a parachute, a helmet and someone to give last rites in case things end badly.
In the final paragraphs, Clifford addresses privacy and how these data ad exchange companies are providing opt-out features. EXelate's privacy application ably predicted youthful Clifford's age range, but questioned her sex. Clifford, hardly man-ish, notes that the data exchanges still have room to grow in offering accurate privacy features.
For eXelate, it's an unlucky example of their targeting capability which will likely continue to improve as the early stage company refines its technology. Scale doesn't seem to be a problem for eXelate as they twittered yesterday that their reach has achieved 110 million uniques in March.