At Google, an example of how the Mountain View, Calif. company might turn data into gold can be found in the Analytics Benchmarking Newsletter published earlier this month.
The fact that Google has been "exploring" building a data exchange for the past couple of years has been an open secret among agencies and tech insiders, according to Mike Baker, CEO, DataXu.
If data become the Internet's gold, the holy grail becomes finding a method to electronically facilitate the sale and the acquisition of third-party data, similar to a stock-trading desk at NASDAQ. Publishers sell out ad unit inventory for a month, but collect cookie data such as purchase intent or brand affiliation that another company could use -- or might want to sell that data to other sources outside its network by offering it through a data exchange such as adBrite, BlueKai, eXelate, Lotame, or TARGUSinfo. Exchanges would facilitate the electronic sale.
Aside from putting the exchange in a broker role, exchanges could partner with data intelligence companies such as adBrite, offering clients perks through additional free services or services at direct costs.
Sources believe Google will soon announce a service for buying and selling data, similar to those that Iggy Fanlo, adBrite CEO, said his company already offers. "When data becomes increasingly valuable, the focus gets turned on the audience," he said. "Who you're looking for becomes more important than where to find them. It's similar to the TV world 25 years ago when cable was the weak redheaded stepchild."
adBrite provides data to advertisers from BlueKai, Lotame, eXelate and other partners without taking additional revenue. Fanlo sees it as a benefit to advertisers that increase their budgets and spend as return on investment rises.
Speculation from industry insiders suggest that advertisers have been asking Google for this service. Audiences take priority, but the major challenge companies like adBrite might have points to the massive amounts of data available to Google through its search engine, display ad network, and now Google+. The combined data collected through these networks dwarf all others.
Google acquired AdMeld -- an advertising optimization platform for publishers -- for $400 million to help advertisers get better results from display ads, but does not have a data exchange to support targeting.