Shopzilla Merges Business Units Under Programmatic Connexity Brand

Shopzilla plans to announce Monday the integration of its three marketing business units that will operate under the Connexity brand. The move combines Aisle A, the audience activation division of Shopzilla that taps into targeted shopping data; Bizrate Insights for consumer insights, ratings and reviews; and Connexity's programmatic media-buying platform, which the company acquired in February. Customers include Best Buy, Cannon, Citi, Macy's, The Home Depot, among others.

The combined services tally 15 years of retail experience to support programmatic media, data modeling, customer insights and online product distribution, evaluating roughly 1 billion monthly retail-focused data points.

Shopzilla claims to market 2 billion keywords on Google and Bing monthly as the third-largest shopping search engine worldwide. Data mining and machine learning extract insights, like the 2013 holiday trend data, to determine what people shop for and why.

"It's good for the retail industry to have specific data like this to power at least some display ads," said Sucharita Mulpuru, Forrester Research vice president and principal analyst for the ebusiness and channel strategies. "Amazon's the only other ad network with detailed intent and purchase data, and a lot of companies don't want to work with them. This helps marketers develop retail specific prospects, theoretically, much better than other resources."

Katie Schnepf, vice president, director of media at Digitas, has worked with Shopzilla, but not the services housed in all three units. She believes the integration will give the agency and its clients more effective media buys. Shopzilla will need to think about its road map for growth and how to differentiate its programmatic buying in a crowded space.

"The advantage becomes connecting offering from Connexity with Aisle A and Bizrate," Schnepf said. "The consumer path to purchase means going through many touch points. It becomes more important to integrate all including ratings and reviews. That's where the layer of programmatic will come into play."

The targeting data comes from the company's owned-and-operated online retail sites, like Shopzilla, and Bizrate, product marketplace listings syndicated across its 3,000 publisher partners, and Bizrate surveys. Audience segments are created and activated by dynamically bidding for display inventory on ad exchanges or Shopzilla sites. The platform identifies the audiences performing best and adjusts bid prices in real-time, per the company.

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