Agencies are increasingly using “Big Data” as part of their advertising strategy

The advertising industry is increasingly relying on data to meet the needs of its customers. Over the past five years, large ad portfolio companies have acquired, invested in, or launched big data companies. The aim is to strengthen their advanced capabilities in data and technology to better compete with Facebook, Google, to meet the needs of their customers and as part of their core competencies when presenting new business accounts.

Earlier this year, WPP launched Choreograph, a global data company. WPP joins a number of competing holding companies. In 2016, Dentsu acquired a two-thirds stake in Merkle, a data-driven performance marketing agency, for an estimated $ 1.5 billion. In April 2020, Dentsu exercised its option to fully acquire Merkle. In 2018, IPG acquired the data marketing division of Acxiom for $ 2.3 billion. The following year, Publicis acquired Epsilon, a data-driven marketing agency for $ 4.4 billion. In the meantime, Omnicom

has built its own internal media, marketing and planning system called Omni.

With Agencies Now Focusing on Data Literacy, Jay Pattisall, Senior Analyst at Forrester Research

Note: “Data is the new oil when it comes to marketing and running a digital / direct business. This is what is fueling the skyrocketing growth of DTC companies, multi-billion dollar ad companies like Google.

, Facebook and Amazon

. For agencies, data management and information enrichment capabilities for media and messaging are essential to marketing in the customer era. Therefore, agencies like Dentsu, IPG, Omnicom, Publicis Groupe and WPP have built or purchased data management and data technology platforms to power their media and creative businesses.

Pattisall adds, “They all fundamentally enrich data and information for brands and client marketing, but do so in different ways that suit the structure of the agency. At IPG, Acxiom and Kinesso are creating a series of data and audience tools that IPG agencies can customize based on each agency’s proposition. While Omnicom’s Omni platform functions as an agency operating system combining planning and purchasing tools with asset management and creation tools. Epsilon, Choreograph and M1 are all platforms but also companies within the holding company with services which are also attached to them.

“Data and audience platforms within agencies are primarily media planning and purchasing tools and the most visible in media agencies. But over the past 18 months, platforms such as Omni, M1, Epsilon People Cloud, and Acxiom have branched out into other parts of the holding companies such as public relations, healthcare, and creative / content. . This is a strong signal for further integration.

WPP Choreographer will allow their clients to use their own privacy compliant first party data, as the use of third party cookies will soon be discontinued. Choreograph will be made up of 700 data and technology experts from around the world from WPP GroupM and Wunderman Thompson agencies. WPP has stated that Choreograph will develop the capabilities necessary to partner and enable its customers to properly use their first party data for advertising purposes. This could include monitoring the first party data of their customers with the goal of increasing sales. Key capabilities cited included information and planning, private identity tools, media optimization, predictive analytics, strategy consulting, technology development, and data management. Walgreens Boots Alliance is the first Choreograph customer.

Japan-based holding company Dentsu said its acquisition of Merkle provided the agency with enhanced analytical skills for first-party data, thereby enhancing their digital media capabilities, among other things. Merkle also enables more data-driven solutions to improve a brand’s advertising ROI and e-commerce strategies, as well as Merkle’s consulting.

At the time of the acquisition, US-based Merkle had more than 650 global customers, could access 150 marketing databases, and managed more than 3.7 billion proprietary consumer records. In addition, the acquisition of Dentsu allowed Merkle to expand globally. In July, Dentsu acquired LiveArea, an agency focused on customer experience and commerce for $ 250 million. LiveArea will be integrated with Merkle.

IPG’s acquisition of Acxiom gave the holding company access to large sets of anonymized customer data. This allowed IPG to better target consumers with more contextual advertising messages used for purchase consideration and purchase preference. Acxiom operates as a stand-alone unit within IPG and has integrated within the agency by breaking the existing silos between traditional and digital media. As of June 2020, SpotX, a global video advertising platform, is now part of Magnite. announced a partnership with IPG’s Acxiom. With the emergence of data-enriched programmatic buying and hyper-targeted addressable advertising, the goal has been to provide better audience-based buying capabilities by combining data assets. The acquisition of IPG did not include LiveRamp, a data integration company that became a separate company.

Publicis’ acquisition of Epsilon will strengthen their efforts as online customer data becomes a core competency for advertising agencies. Epsilon’s core business is people-based precision marketing. At the time of the acquisition, Epsilon had 9,000 employees, including 3,700 data scientists. 97% of net income comes from the United States. Epsilon also has 250 million privacy-protected consumer IDs. Epsilon is focusing on media by integrating their datasets with Publicis to develop more optimized and better targeted consumer identifiers, audience segmentations and media buys for customers. With their digital management capabilities. Epsilon enables the agency to offer greater information to consumers to help optimize their clients’ business strategy. In addition, Publicis’ global accounts allow Epsilon to expand into other markets. In April, Publicis announced the expansion of its relationship with Adobe

to enable large-scale individual personalization targeting.

In 2018, Omnicom launched Omni, a people-based marketing and information platform that personalizes consumers in creative, media, customer relationship management (CRM) and more. areas. Omni allows customers to plan and purchase a media program as well as maintain anonymous first party customer information such as product purchases. The goal is to improve collaboration and produce neutral results reinforced by the lonely view of the consumer to help customers. Omni operates several third-party consumer-connected databases, including Neustar, LiveRamp, and Experian, to name a few.

Data usage has issues such as punch outs. Pattisall says, “The consequence is a sea of ​​digital sameness in which marketing and experiences deliver the same benefits and advantages. On the other hand, marketers want to do the opposite and stand out by requiring agencies to invest in smart creativity that brings together people and platforms.

Privacy can be another issue, Pattisall adds: “Nothing prevents a CEO from sleeping at night like the idea of ​​a hack or a breach. Customers should take steps to protect their customers’ data and privacy. Third party vendors like Live Ramp, Zeotap, The Trade Desk offer clean rooms that allow brands and their partners to work with first party data with low loyalty risk. Agencies are also building cleanroom and data identity solutions. These are good steps in the direction of confidentiality. But not leveraging their first-party data is a greater risk for customers. As Facebook, Google and Amazon build even higher walls, businesses in closed ecosystems must use their first-party data as a basis for understanding customers and prospects in order to maintain relationships outside the dictates of “Big Tech”. .

Well-known media consultant Bill Harvey says: “It makes sense that all agency holding companies are becoming top big data experts, especially now that digital with its obvious direct marketing capabilities has become such a part. significant media allocations. At the same time, the depreciation of third-party ID matching solutions will cause advertisers to increase the priority given to collecting the largest possible database of direct consumer relationships, even with people who don’t buy. still their marks. The agency systems will be competing to manage these huge customer databases, so they created them just in time.

Agencies embracing data come at a time when many ad technology companies are using large data sets in an attempt to compete with or replace Nielsen by providing audience metrics to use as the bargaining currency between agencies and companies. programmers.

The days of Mad Men seem to be long gone.

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