2010: The Year of Data


zodiac_small.jpgADOTAS – This year saw data and audience targeting enter the mainstream conversation. This growing trend gave rise to increasingly noisy conversations about how that data is being used, whether it’s effective in improving the online experience, how to measure its effectiveness and whether its use violates online privacy or otherwise offends the online user.

Those in the industry have been active in resolving these issues and we expect them to be resolved in 2010. This shift will remove some of the endemic issues preventing a more rapid growth of targeted advertising, and if 2009 was spent talking about data, 2010 will be about using data.

The promise of data in creating personalized online experiences is evident by looking at a few prescient examples. Amazon.com is the first company to come to mind with its success in tailoring the online shopping experience with data on customers’ buying preferences.

Tacoda and Blue Lithium, two pioneers of the use of behavioral data, proved their value through more successful advertising and were picked up by AOL and Yahoo respectively. Google bought DoubleClick and has since launched its “Interest-Based Advertising” platform (GOOG for behavioral advertising). Now we’re seeing the blossoming of the DSPs, or “demand side platforms.”

These players are all focused on using data to optimize impressions based on…. you guessed it… Data!

Google recently bought Teracent, but the rest are largely independent. Players reading like a list of post-grad math competition team names like DataXu, MediaMath, AppNexus, Triggit and Aggregate Knowledge have all decided that someone needs to figure out how to use all this data.

At the same time, new companies are hitting the market to focus on the measurement and attribution of online advertising, while protecting user privacy. comScore has been doing a significant amount of work in this regard, and I just talked to the CEO of VisualIQ, a company that is building a platform to give marketers a holistic view of what happened in a campaign — across ALL campaigns.

Add companies to the mix like The Better Advertising Project which has been founded to expose and protect user privacy online, and the industry looks poised for explosive growth in 2010.

So the conversations are ongoing and the platforms are hitting the market to take real advantage of the data. Enter Bizo.

Data is what we do at Bizo. We collect raw business information and transform it into bizographics, business demographics (like industry, company size and geography) that are used for audience targeting, collected anonymously — with full transparency to the user.

Today we’re seeing success in the use of bizographics for targeting on our ad network of endemic B2B sites, and our partners such as interCLICK, Collective Media, AOL and Turn are seeing success using bizographics for B2B targeting across their networks, effectively opening the market for business targeting on consumer networks for the first time.

We predict that 2010 will be the year of data. We predict that we — as an industry — will work through the online privacy issues, begin to see real transparency and move forward with significant data-driven innovation.

We expect to see even more smart uses of data, with online content providers of all stripes taking similar steps to put data to work in ways that make sense.

Using very specific but safe and anonymous data points in real-time as audiences traverse the Web will deliver on the true promise of the Internet: all of the ads and content a user sees on the Web should be tailored for a highly personal experience, like on Amazon.com, and ultimately interactive and even predictive. It should be a fun year!


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