Autobytel Gains Direct Data Sales Channel Through eXelate

by , Mar 31, 2011, 10:45 AM
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Realizing data has become a valuable asset, Autobytel signed on with eXelate, in part, to collect and sell aggregated targeted data to companies that want to advertise on its auto Web site. The data gets plugged into a demand-side platform, which allows advertisers to gain more control of where the ads serve up across the Net.

The two companies put processes in place three months ago, but the data management platform, DataLinx, has been live for about 45 days. The platform lets Autobytel customize its private, branded marketplace, implement new data sales strategies and develop relationships with strategic buyers. It simplifies access to data and centralizes audience and privacy management functions.

Autobytel can give an automaker competitive, brand or import data, for example, explains Kyle Pratt, senior director for corporate development. An ad tag gets embedded into every Web page on Autobytel's site. The tags describe attributes such as "hatchback," "Subaru," "import," and "BMW." In the past, Autobytel allowed automakers, for example, to place cookies on the Web site, bringing the data into their network for retargeting. Companies would purchase the cookies and target the media based on the data.

Companies typically buy brand data or competitive data to target an audience segment on the site, but Autobytel didn't have the ability to sell that data directly to advertisers. Prior to signing on eXelate, Autobytel's data strategy meant contributing cookies to anonymous pools for resale. Companies could embed pixels in Autobytel pages, sell them to others, and then share in the profits, Pratt explains.

DataLinX now allows the company to sort and resell data to advertisers that want to target specific demographics or markets. It's led the company to go back to advertisers and renegotiate deals to get a higher price for the data.

Although Pratt declined to provide specifics, he said revenue rose in the last month after renegotiating data partnerships, and having the ability to sell data to exchanges linked in through eXelate.

The DataLinX platform enables publishers and data owners to manage access to their audience through a system of "configurable plugs" and reduce the impact of pixels by monitoring Web site latency and leveraging pixel-free integrations that create what the company calls "connections without cookies."

"It creates a storefront for data," Pratt said. "We can now sell the data direct to OEMs, agencies, and ad exchanges. We can monitor and set the price for the data. It puts us back in control."

After asking Pratt if this is just a test for a few months to try the system, he said "No, no, no, not after this great beginning. I don't see an end in sight."

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