Online advertising fascinates me, especially the process of buying data and using it to target ads. It might seem simple, but I sat down to have a chat on Zoom with Nick Jordan, founder and CEO of Narrative, so he could walk me through how it works.
“Think of us as the eBay of data,” Jordan said. “eBay doesn’t buy or sell baseball cards. They provide a software platform to complete the transaction.”
What makes this so interesting is other types of companies have been coming to Jordan wanting to sell data on a
variety of topics such as wildlife. One tags wildlife, tracking the animals in real time, which has an interesting use case all on its own for marketing and advertising.
Narrative last week announced a partnership with data marketing firm Claritas to make its consumer data available to marketers on its platform. Claritas provides marketers with insights into consumer behavior patterns through its proprietary identify graph. That graph ties 5 billion data points monthly to digital behaviors and devices. The Claritas Identity Graph connects more than 255 million consumers to more than 800 million devices.
One thing should be clear: Narrative neither buys or sells data. It provides the platforms through which marketers buy and sell. When asked who is responsible for the data, Jordan said buyers and sellers know where the data comes from. Each supplier can dictate the data license, and terms and conditions.
The majority of Narrative customers buy raw data sets and gives them to data science teams, Jordan said.
Marketers using Narrative’s Data Streaming Platform do not need an intermediary. They can source, evaluate, buy, process, and activate the Claritas datasets within hours by themselves. They also get transparency, automation and control of the data acquisition process to increase speed to market, save money, and reduce the risk that stems from dealing with data brokers, according to Jordan.
Data brokers historically sit between the acquirer and seller. The deals typically come with opacity. The broker controls pricing.
Narrative’s platform is a collection of apps, according to Jordan. He said the website lets anyone access data types from more than 40 providers to build tools and power campaigns. One data streaming service found under the apps tab at the top of the website page is called Universal Onboarding, which lets marketers onboard offline data online.
Anyone can buy data on Narrative’s website by creating a dataset of any user on a specific website. For example, a company can buy a dataset of consumers of Fanatics.com who placed an order for less than $100. “If I bought a T-shirt on fanatics.com, I would fall in within that audience,” Jordan said. “You add it to your cart and get an estimate of how many users fell into that data set.”
Once the data audience is paid for, some people use a credit card. Narrative will deliver it to the platform of choice. Narrative treats transactions similar to a consumer ecommerce experience like buying a shirt online at Nordstrom.
Data provided by Claritas available through the Narrative Data Streaming platform includes demographics, lifestyle behavior, multicultural behavior, business data, segmentation, profile and audiences, and identifiers.
Tim Cook will do whatever he’s going to do, he said. Google will do whatever it will do, and the execs will probably change their mind five or six times. At the end of the day I don’t think data will go away. “Technology and regulations will provide tighter controls, but we still will be here,” he said.