Will Data Provide The Fabric For Online Advertising?

There has been a lot of noise for marketers to absorb about behavioral targeting and data, according to BlueKai CEO Omar Tawakol. He says marketers and advertisers hear about an evolution, but there is a need to boil it down to essentials.

"Marketers don't want two different platforms or the ability to capture their own data and do one thing with it, and then append data from other sources, and do something else," he says. "They want one way to analyze and segment a variety of data for all media."

Data targeting will influence all media in the future. It will line the foundation of campaigns to support a variety of online media, from search to display.

Tawakol says marketers use data to target in two ways. The first is through a method of serving ads without proxies, in which ads get served to people instead. The second, more tactical way, is serving ads through demand-side platforms to chase cookies. BlueKai is trying to get marketers to make the move from proxies to people.



Plus, there are only two ways to deliver advertising: loud and interruptive, or relevant, according to Tawakol, who believes several fundamentals need to change before the industry can get to a stable state when it comes to data collection. "People need to be aware that if they attack relevance, you're left with publishers that will need to put more ads per page. That will become louder and more interruptive or, worse, the publisher will have less money to pay the bills," he says.

"On the other hand, just because consumers pay for content using ads that are more relevant doesn't give the industry free rein to rape and pillage data," Tawakol says, calling the debate cartoonish. "Advertisers can't see this as carte blanche to do whatever they want. That's why the threat of legislation is getting executives to stand up straight and finally put energy into transparency, control and value propositions for consumers."

BlueKai recently acquired Seattle-based TrackSimple, a data analytics company that provides reporting, analysis and prediction services to media companies. The idea is to combine TrackSimple's technology with the BlueKai Platform, giving advertisers and agencies the ability to move beyond spreadsheets. A central view gives agencies a clear visual on how campaigns perform against each other and allows for spend optimization using what-if scenarios. It fits into Tawakol's futuristic vision of online marketing.

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