Commentary

Real-Time With DataXu's Catanzaro On The Inaugural Consumer Index Report

Programmatic marketing solutions provider DataXu today released its Consumer Index, a new quarterly report on cross-market consumer behavior trends and purchasing patterns. DataXu claims the inaugural report looks at data from "hundreds of advertisers and millions of consumers" from three industries: automotive, retail, and financial services.

The data in the report comes from the United States, and the report asks what consumers in each industry typically do for a living, what kind of content they consume, and even what kind of food they eat. Some of the findings weren't too surprising. For example, real estate, finance, and insurance professionals were most likely to convert in the financial service industry. However, other findings, such as the fact that retail shoppers were most likely to eat organic foods, are really interesting nuggets.

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RTM Daily spoke with Sandro Catanzaro, DataXu's co-founder and SVP of analytics and innovation, to learn about the origins of the report, what separates this consumer report from others, and what the most surprising findings were. 

RTM Daily: Why did you create a "Consumer Index" report?

Sandro Catanzaro: In general, we see quite a bit of data in the market from our programmatic marketing platform about what trends are coming along, and we thought it was important to provide a point of view on how dynamic the market is. The data we gather helps marketers better understand consumers. 

RTM Daily: Why the automotive, finance, and retail markets?

Catanzaro: There is a lot of activity and traction from advertisers in those three industries. They are dynamic markets. 

RTM Daily: What industries might be included in the future?

Catanzaro: Nothing is official, but we might include something about entertainment, something about technology, and something about CPGs (consumer packaged goods).

RTM Daily: What makes this report different from others?

Catanzaro: In this report, 50% of the story is how consumers are behaving online; the other half is to help marketers better understand what consumers are going to do in the future. How does their current behavior influence the marketers’ roadmap for future product development? What type of creative should be used to engage with consumers? Marketers can develop consumer personas/profiles based on data to improve advertising performance.

It's very important to talk with your consumer, and get to know the consumer you are talking to. You start painting a profile. You start understanding them. Now, when you are thinking of the next creative - the next Super Bowl ad, say - you know [that the consumers you've been following] are more likely to be interested in healthcare or coffee. They have different personas. This report lets you talk to them in an effective way. You can target and be more efficient with your money.

Essentially, there are two ways to use media to reach consumers with ads. One is to talk with them and persuade them. What differentiates us is that we are also trying to listen to what they are saying.

RTM Daily: What was the most surprising find in this inaugural report?

Catanzaro: Nothing is extremely surprising. Many of the findings just make sense. Automotive consumers work in construction and manufacturing. People working in real estate, finance, and insurance were most likely to convert in financial services. One thing that I was very interested in was observing the behavior of consumers as the day goes by and how they use devices. For example, people engaged in automotive use their PC in the afternoon during lunch but then the use trails off at night.

It's also very interesting what happens with smartphones. People will just say it's a smaller tablet, but in fact the behavior is much more similar to the PC than a tablet or iPad Mini; in other words a smartphone is not just a smaller tablet. That behavior was interesting. It also tells me something about when you can reach consumers and what they are doing.

Macs are kind of a cross between tablet and smartphone. People like to use their Macs later in the day. Maybe they are the creative people and work at night. This is what the data is telling us.

The report is an eye opener in terms of how people act based on what devices they are using and when they use them. 

RTM Daily: The data comes from DataXu's programmatic platform. How else does programmatic/RTB data play into the equation of this report?

Catanzaro: The data is something that people use to execute real-time buying. While the data comes from our programmatic platform, it does not necessarily require media buying. It could also include offline media. It includes any interactions with consumers.

RTM Daily: Will RTB marketers use the findings in the Consumer Index Report differently than direct sales folk? 

Catanzaro: I don't think they will use it any differently, [but] one thing about buying through RTB is that because there are so many factors at once, when you actually act in the RTB market, you can factor in all of this information simultaneously into your decision process, through automation .

When you are doing an offline buy, you will probably select just a subset from this data. The advantage of RTB is you can react on all of these factors at once by using automation.

RTM Daily: All of the data collected is from the United States. DataXu broke down trends based on device and time of day. Did you also break down trends based on location (East coast vs. West coast)?

Catanzaro: No, we didn't do that, but that's an interesting idea for next time. 

One thing we have noticed in general, though, is how similarly the Pacific coast and New England behave.

RTM Daily: Thank you for your time. Do you have any final comments, or even questions?

Catanzaro: We took a lot of care in ensuring that all of the data was aggregated. This is not from a specific advertiser or brand. No advertiser represented more than 20% of the data.

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