"Data-Driven Thinking" is written by members of the media community and contains fresh ideas on the digital revolution in media.
Today’s column is written by Matt Keiser, founder and CEO at LiveIntent.
As a Christmas gift to myself, I bought a wireless printer. On the way home, I imagined the convenience of it, how it would save me time, allow me to print from anywhere, scan to the cloud and make my life easier.
Lo and behold, when I got home and opened up the box, I found the printer was only compatible with Windows. I’m a Mac guy and needed to make some adjustments, but eventually I got exactly what I was looking for: a wireless solution.
This reminds me of the jagged path that led to Oracle’s recent blockbuster acquisition of DataLogix. The printer that needed some adjustment in this scenario: Oracle’s February 2014 acquisition of BlueKai, the renowned data-management platform, for an estimated $400 million.
BlueKai has unassailable cookie data, the best customer lists and is considered the gold standard of enterprise clients. This was it – game, set and match. Oracle needed nothing else, as of February.
But, as so often happens, another trend turned the industry’s focus on its head. The practice of marketing to people came to the forefront, signaled by the arrival of Facebook Atlas, AOL One and Criteo, making the essentiality of BlueKai a little less essential.
Suddenly, having amazing cookie data was no longer the be-all and end-all that it once was. With the shift in marketing to a person and not a pixel, cookie data proficiency lost a little bit of its luster. BlueKai’s cookie data, impressive and valuable as it is, still needed a bridge to a world developing online-to-offline attribution methods and wrestling with measurement questions. In this changing environment, Oracle also recognized a need for deterministic data and the expertise to manage it, neither of which BlueKai is known for.
The changing winds – which swept in a people-based marketing world that was less reliant on third-party cookies and probabilistic matching, in favor of deterministic solutions – meant Oracle was still on the hunt.
A Necessary Bridge
While Datalogix is primarily known for tracking an ad exposure through to a sale via pacts with Facebook and Twitter, among others, the company represents so much more to Oracle. It serves as a bridge to a people-based marketing world – one that BlueKai’s vast capabilities did not provide.
In this coming era, attribution will be the next big play. CRM will be tied to paid media while purchase data will be tied to ad exposure, all within a closed loop powered by companies like Oracle. However, the majority of vendors still chase probabilistic data and modeling solutions. This is misguided.
The musical chairs are shifting and everyone is looking for an entry point to capture deterministic data so they don’t lose a seat. Cookies just don’t cut it in a world that is fragmented across email, apps, mobile and desktop web, connected TVs, gaming consoles and addressable TV, to name a few. This is why cross-device identification and measurement became so important in 2014. Many companies, through internal development or acquisition, now have the technology to probabilistically make matches with confidence rates ranging from 60% to 90%.
But probabilistic matches never walk into stores and buy things, and about 95% of all purchases still happen in good old-fashioned stores, according to the Census Bureau of the Department of Commerce. This means probabilistic solutions should be valued for their ability to improve ROI and the customer experience. If they do not improve results, they are not providing any value.
A Forward-Thinking Maneuver
Enter deterministic cross-device and cross-channel identification and measurement. It has a match rate that’s much closer to 100% and provides a bridge from the online world to the offline world – a marketing dream come true.
It is now possible to track an ad exposure to a purchase in a store without sharing PII by using anonymized identifiers, such as the hashes of a phone number, email address or social media login.
These anonymized identifiers are “native brand data” for retailers, and increasingly for CPG, too. Loyalty cards today are commonly linked to the online world through anonymized identifiers, which is how a purchase can be tied back to ad exposures at point of sale. This is why Datalogix is such a huge prize.
The Killer Move
Datalogix fills a gap for Oracle by enabling the Oracle identity graph. Datalogix has built up its cred by, in its own words, aggregating information based on more than “$2 trillion in consumer spending from 1,500 data partners across 110 million households to provide purchase-based targeting and drive more sales.”
BlueKai was a great start, but the purchase of Datalogix made the assets of BlueKai so much more valuable. With its strong relationships with Facebook, Twitter and other social media titans, Datalogix facilitates added utility for BlueKai within the Oracle infrastructure. Datalogix provides Oracle with a passageway to people-based marketing dominance.
As the world becomes increasingly cross-device and cross-channel, the Datalogix acquisition propels Oracle to the front of the line and once again shows how forward-thinking it is. In short, Datalogix allows Oracle to get even more utility out of its bold acquisition of BlueKai and allows its visionary CEO, Omar Tawakol, to innovate more aggressively with the added functionality that Datalogix provides.
2014 was about cross-channel identification and measurement. It looks like 2015 will be consumed by the race for the technology and data that powers online-to-offline attribution and connects marketing technology to advertising technology.