ADOTAS – Tell us about the origins of TARGUSinfo. What compelled you to produce AdAdvisor by TARGUSinfo and what need in the industry has been fulfilled by it?
TARGUSinfo was founded in 1993. The company’s mission has always been to deliver accurate and actionable attributes about consumers, in real time, to our clients during a transaction with the consumer. We deliver these attributes to clients who are interacting with their customers and prospects over the phone, in-store at the point of sale, and online on the Internet. We currently process over 7 billion real-time transactions per month, and are at an annual run rate that will exceed 100 billion transactions this year.
We started development on the AdAdvisor platform in late 2007. We were looking to expand our ever-growing presence in the Interactive Advertising industry, and in looking at the display advertising market we saw an ecosystem that was getting bogged down by inefficiency and was starving for data.
In looking at our core assets: rich, authoritative verified data, an advanced segmentation and analytics platform, and a real-time data delivery network, we realized that providing our data to marketers in the display advertising industry would companies get much closer to the goal of serving the right ad to the right person.
What do your executives’ prior experience contribute to the success of AdAdvisor?
Our senior most executives were among the early pioneers of building geo-demographic segmentation systems as well as architecting real-time data delivery platforms. That background, along with our years of experience working with companies in the interactive advertising industry providing lead verification and scoring solutions, has contributed significantly to the early success of AdAdvisor.
Who are your competitors and how do you differ from them?
At 50,000 feet you could say that anybody providing “third-party data” into this ecosystem is a competitor. But when you look more closely at AdAdvisor from TARGUSinfo you will see that our data is not only vastly different from what other companies are providing, it is in many cases a very strong complement to the offerings from other data providers out there.
Take BlueKai or eXelate for example. They do a great job of collecting “in-market” data, that is data on individuals who are exhibiting signs of buying a product or service, such as plane tickets, a new TV, or a car. That is data that AdAdvisor never sees, because we don’t observe or track users online.
However, BlueKai or eXelate sees what a user is currently interested in buying or doing, they have no real insights into what that user is like, what his or her lifestyle is, or what the user’s propensities are. So an advertiser can use a combination of AdAdvisor data and in-market data to deliver an extremely relevant and timely ad to that user.
Where does TARGUSinfo collect its data and how is it used in AdAdvisor?
We do not collect any data on online users. All of our data is based offline and is sourced from over 200 data partners. We use data from multiple partners to corroborate attributes about offline households and individuals, and incorporate those attributes into AdAdvisor audience groups, such as “Households likely to own a Nintendo Wii” or “Households likely to own their own home.”
We make those audience groups available to publishers, ad networks, demand side platforms and digital agencies to help them with their ad targeting and messaging. We find that our data is very strong at the top of the purchase funnel, because our ability to provide insights into a user’s likely propensities and lifestyles gives advertisers the ability to create the right messaging to influence that user into moving further down the funnel.
Have you come across any privacy issues?
We have been extremely focused on building the AdAdvisor business in a privacy-friendly way and have not run into any privacy issues. In fact, we are on the IAB’s Public Policy committee, and we have been approved for membership into the NAI and are going through the membership requirements right now. We are committed to ensuring that we and our peers work towards providing consumers with the most positive online experience possible while ensuring that their privacy is protected.
Who are your clients and what have they said about your services?
We are working with a number of leading ad networks, demand side platforms, agencies and exchanges, many of whom have been eager to issue press releases to announce our partnerships. These partners often point to our set of rich, verified attributes as a key component of their ability to more effectively deliver advertising to the desired audiences.
What is TARGUSinfo hoping to achieve going forward?
Our goal is to be the key driver of on-demand insights about consumers into the Internet advertising ecosystem. We feel the Internet is poised to see a period of tremendous growth in advertising dollars as more large brand advertisers use the medium, in large part because of our ability to help them deliver their messaging to the type of people they want to see that messaging.