MarketShare And Other Vendors Unite Against Walled Gardens

consortiumWant to track across devices? Then you’re going to have to enter the walled gardens of Google and Facebook. But the open ecosystem is working hard – and working together – to catch up.

It’s in this spirit that MarketShare launched Monday a “Consortium for Cross-Device Measurement,” which for now includes Drawbridge, Crosswise, Tapad and MediaMath.

“On a closed platform, you have good data available at an aggregated level, but not at an individual or impression level,” said William Merchan, MarketShare’s SVP of strategic alliances.

An open network of ad servers and data providers doesn’t have Facebook’s personal cachet with users, but it can build audience segments between publishers, for example, or a holistic view of how users are driven by keywords, beyond Google or Facebook search.

Merchan said part of the strategy behind MarketShare’s consortium is that it “cuts through the disarray and overlapped targeting” that has plagued digital ad buyers.

Marketshare isn’t the only one trying to unite various ad tech providers. Earlier this month, Oracle announced a partnership with Tapad on cross-device measurement and, in July, Adobe pitched marketers on a potential cross-device co-op. The LUMAscape may be more convoluted, but there are advantages to be pitched from players across the open network.

“Both Google and Facebook have built up an impressive suite of marketing solutions, but the reality is that marketers … use an array of platforms and technologies from a variety of companies,” said Rahul Bafna, VP of partnerships at Drawbridge. “The DSP, DMP, ad server, rich media and attribution solutions they use often come from different companies, because no single vendor has a best-in-class, one-size-fits-all solution.”

Tapad CEO Are Traasdahl made a similar point in an email to AdExchanger on the subject: “Different vendors have unique strengths. Marketers know this and handpick solutions that are a best fit for their specific needs.”

Cross-device attribution partnerships can help level the field playing field in terms of targeting and service that can be to offered big advertisers. For instance, Atlas emphasizes its ability to close the sales funnel, so advertisers know not to message a user who already bought the product being advertised.

A marketer using multiple data, tech and marketing vendors, as many do, can step on his own toes by targeting the same individual multiple times, either by saturating that user or driving up the bid price.

While no single ad or mar tech company can rival the cross-device chops of Google, it can offer a market of portable data. From the perspective of a Google or Facebook, all the tech services (DSP, ad server, attribution, etc.) are on the table – but they don’t leave the table.

And despite fierce competition between the companies in MarketShare’s partner program, those involved said it’s a clear-cut example of a rising tide lifting all boats.

“It's important that data be portable across platforms,” said Bafna. “Drawbridge wants to make sure that its cross-device identity can be used in the platform of choice for the marketer.”

The argument being made by attribution, data and tech companies from the open ecosystem isn’t that their individual products are best, it’s that marketers shouldn’t expect one method to always work best.

As noted by Traasdahl, “Until one vendor offers a solution that addresses every single marketing need, which likely will never happen, industrywide collaboration is a must.”


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