When Kayak Is Up A Data Creek, It Uses Third-Party Paddles

Emily Scott, director of marketing at online travel site Kayak, says it’s not an either/or proposition when it comes to using parties. You know, first or third party sources of data.

Speaking on OMMA's "Treading Water" panel this morning, she says Kayak experiments with using third-party data for its targeting purposes, especially when its own first-party data isn’t delivering what it needs.

“For me, the first question is what do I want to achieve. If I can’t find that with the data I have, we look at what other data we can get from other partners,” she said, adding that while “audience-buying, obviously has become huge,” there’s still a lot of value in using inferential data like contextual targeting.

“Looking at contextual indicators, which is another source of data, sometimes it comes more cheaply,” she said, adding that often times it’s a matter of testing and seeing what works. She says Kayak typically works through its demand-side platform, MediaMath, to conduct real-time tests of various targeting methods to see what actually performs, and learn from that.

“Then it’s in the numbers. What’s the lift rate,” she noted.


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