eXelate Unveils Direct-To-Advertiser Publisher Data Tool To Sell Audience Segments

Tech company eXelate Media will unveil Wednesday tools that enable publishers to build a private data marketplace where advertisers can purchase audience segments directly from a Web-based store.

Buying audience segments direct from publishers certainly isn't the norm, but the platform -- Private Marketplace for Publishers -- aims to attract those who stood on the sidelines concerned about the lack of control. There are a variety of tools designed to help manage latency from third-party cookies dropped on their Web site, as well as methods to let consumers set privacy functions.

Through one system, the publisher can build in an aggregated opt-out function. Centralizing privacy functions will become a big deal. Unless there is a combined system, the publisher must have separate opt-out links so consumers have a way to get rid of the cookies.

The pricing model for the audience segment tools works on a fee-per transaction basis. It's about setting up direct relationships, putting the functions of a data exchange in the hands of the publisher, and letting advertisers buy audience segments through an online store.



Mark Zagorski, chief revenue officer at eXelate, says publishers had been concerned about not having control on data pricing and the potential of cannibalization when it comes to participating in a data exchange. "It's open to any publisher, but realistically the publisher must have scale," he says. "It will vary depending on the category. It may not work for a blogger that has about 10,000 unique visitors per month, but it should for automotive sites that have 5 million unique visitors per month or a directory site like WhitePages.com."

WhitePages, which supports about 200 million U.S. listings, becomes one of the first companies to take advantage of the service. Ingrid Michelsen, senior director of ad sales strategy and development for the online directory, says the team has been working to map out the data store, implementation has begun, and the site should launch in July.

The biggest problem for the directory site has been not being able to build and bundle audience segments based on the billions of searches done across the site daily. Ad networks have not been able to scale users, Michelsen says. The tools let WhitePages build audience segments on people doing searches for automobiles and cars, for example. A tiered package will let advertisers buy real-time automotive searches or behaviorally targeted segments.

"The technical implementation issues will mostly focus on making sure we're collecting and bundling the correct search behavior," Michelsen says. "We've spent more than four years refining that process for our on-site audience targeting. It can be challenging."

Down the road, eXelate will help WhitePages embed other third-party exchange data in a tag-management tool, so the company won't need to put JavaScript code on all pages across its site.

Michelsen, who reviewed offerings from Collective and others with similar packages before making a decision, expects a return on investment in time. "We're expecting it to be a slow ramp, but not cost-prohibited," she says.


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