Nielsen and eXelate today revealed an agreement that will make the data from the former's PRIZM consumer segments available as part of the latter's exchange system. Marketers who use eXelate's exchange will be able to take consumer lifestyle and purchase intent information - collected offline by Nielsen - and plug it into online campaigns.
While last fall online targeting company DataLogix began offering agencies/campaign planners PRIZM data, the four-year-old eXelate claims it's the first exchange to combine granular online consumer information with Nielsen's anonymous household data. Mark Zagorski, CRO of New York-based eXelate, said marketers will be able to utilize one of PRIZM's 66 lifestyle segments to deliver relevant Internet ads. Segments include "country squires," "blue-blood estates," and "young digerati," Zagorski said, and can be dialed up for time-sensitive campaigns.
"For example, if an advertiser was trying to build buzz for the latest launch of a new boutique hotel chain, they could target...the 'young digerati,' which includes hip, affluent consumers who often make these types of places their second homes," he said. "If they wanted to drive further down the funnel to move from branding and awareness to creating a transaction to book rooms at the flagship location of the hotel, they could leverage [the] travel segment and target consumers who were looking for accommodations in the new location's area in the last 48 hours."
Though large advertisers haven't begun spending online like they do via TV, Zagorski said that including the familiar Nielsen name in the exchange may encourage brands to ramp up Internet budgets. He said that the PRIZM clusters will speak "the same language" to big brands rather than make them feel like they have to learn a new one for online.
"If you're used to driving automatic transmission cars, then you probably won't want a stick shift," Zagorski said. "By giving them something with which they are familiar...we're making it easier for them to leap into the world of online data."
The exchange could also help agencies pick up Nielsen data on the cheap, while creating online campaigns with a healthy dose of offline data. That scenario could simultaneously create better profit margins for the data-buying agencies and a sexier online appeal for the traditional brand mindset. At any rate, Zagorski said the fruits of the eXelate-Nielsen deal won't be available to marketers for at least a few weeks.
Meanwhile, the agreement is the most recent in a steady stream of major data mergers - most of which occurred during Q4 2009. All of the wheeling and dealing seems to be getting the attention of consumer privacy groups, Congress, and federal agencies.
In related data-oriented advertising news, industry players appear to be concerned about a potentially looming problem of third-party data handlers. In short, some fear the middlemen are neglecting the rules of the road and using purchased consumer information for extracurricular marketing efforts.
The third parties are creating distrust among publishers, agencies, and marketers. Worse yet, if such shady dealings were ever exposed publicly, they could end up being just the Pandora's Box for which the privacy-oriented parties are looking to open. Big agencies and exchanges like eXelate likely rue such a development.
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Christopher Heine was a senior writer for ClickZ through June 2012. He covered social media, sports/entertainment marketing, retail, and more. Heine's work has also appeared via Mashable, Brandweek, DM News, MarketingSherpa, and other tech- and ad-centric publications. USA Today, Bloomberg Radio, and The Los Angeles Times have cited him as an expert journalist.
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