Tracking The Shopper Experience: Q&A With Connexity's Craig Teich

Craig Teich, EVP global sales, Connexity, has a deep background in digital marketing, sales, ad technology, and business development, concentrating especially on the latest technology to help marketers find new ways to reach and engage with the right consumers from gaming to retail. Connexity was previously known as Shopzilla and has recently launched a “Data as a Service” initiative.

CW: What type of shopping data do you have?

CT:  We know what online consumer are shopping for, including… the brands they shop for, and the stores they shop at.  We also have a strong understanding of the type of online shopper a person is, such as a luxury shopper, a deal seeker, or an online buyer.  

As consumers engage with product listings in our e-commerce ecosystem, whether on our owned and operated sites or via our CPC marketplace platform, we capture high-intent shopping data points from this path to purchase.

CW: Do you capture behavior beyond your own ecosystem  — and if so, how?



CT: In the majority of instances, we are able to understand consumers and their online shopping preferences through our data alone. For instance, if we find that a consumer is shopping for multiple luxury-related categories, brands and products, then we would identify them in our audience management platform as a luxury shopper.

The only time where we may need to integrate outside data is when we are establishing a new category that requires category-specific data for our audience models.

For instance, we recently announced a partnership with IRi to expand our CPG targeting capabilities. IRi’s offline, CPG purchase data can now be used as a seed set for Connexity’s audience models. We’ll score our data against their seed set to find other similar CPG audiences.

CW: Do you know when a purchase is completed so ads need no longer be pushed to that consumer?

CT: We work with our clients [to help]. For instance, we’ll change the messaging based on where [consumers] are in the purchase cycle, so we can map the ads to prospecting, retargeting, or retention.  Likewise we’ll optimize how we target ads to focus on the best-performing audiences and placements.  

CW: How do you connect shopping data to media usage?

CT:  Connexity has its own DSP, and so all of the shopping data we land in our audience management platform we connect to media via our RTB technology.  We connect to all major ad exchanges, and  directly activate our data across the programmatic ecosystem.  

When advertisers run media through our platform, we call that “MaaS” — or media as a service.  We have just launched a data as a service product, “DaaS,” that allows us to move the same audiences we can activate in our platform into an advertiser’s platform of choice and team with Oracle BlueKai and LiveRamp to move data from our platform to a partner platform.

CW: Please give me an example of how the data is used.

CT: Imagine a consumer that engages in our retail marketplace and shops for Black and Decker power tools.  From this single data point, we classify this individual as in-market for power tools.

Big DIY and Home Improvement retailers love access to this fresh data to bring in a new buyer to their site or store.  Now imagine we see this same consumer shopping for flooring supplies, faucets, and DeWalt power saws over the course of two months.  These data points create more in-market targeting opportunities.

We also classify this shopper into a DIY lifestyle segment based upon repeat activity in a similar vertical.  
The same retailers are interested in this shopper, but this persona is also interesting for banks (home equity loans), truck brands (DIY and trucks go hand in hand), etc.  

CW: Who is your competition?

CT: We compete in the marketplace with companies who use or supply data to target audiences through programmatic media. Examples might be Rocket Fuel or Conversant (media buying platforms) or eXelate and Datalogix (data providers).

CW: Give me some predictions on on the media landscape.

CT: If I had to take out my crystal ball, I would focus on two themes that will shape the journey ahead for the media space in the next three to five years: consolidation and specialization.  Platforms and technology will move in these directions, though data will continue to play across the ecosystem.

On one end, I see companies like Oracle, Adobe, IBM and others looking to create the full suite of services for data-driven marketing within an integrated mar-tech stack.  We’re already seeing this type of consolidation, but I expect the pace to pick up as new services are added to the mix.   On the other side, I see a place for specialists to still thrive and feed what should remain a relatively open market.

Connectors like LiveRamp will play a key role in this open community.   

I don’t expect the dominant players like Google or Facebook to bring down their walls anytime soon, but I do see most publishers making room for companies that can help create incremental value, whether it’s creative, measurement, attribution, or new formats. Companies that focus on being best in breed will survive and in some cases get added to the larger tech stacks.

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