Off to College: What Students Are Looking For

exelate off to college

Since many colleges started class and orientation this week, we took a look at what students are looking for in a school. In terms of most researched universities, NYU wins the day, having the most interest on a major online site devoted to helping students find a university. Running behind NYU came USC and BU. And on to college majors, some top interests of prospective students were very interesting. Kinesiology surprised me as a top pick – perhaps a favorite among student athletes. Other interesting majors included Marine Biology (I hate to tell you that you’re more likely to study worms than dolphins), Forensic Psychology (CSI and Bones have invaded our psyche) and Petroleum Engineering (get rich betting on the fracking boom!).

Slightly disturbingly, but not at all shocking, Hottest Girls was the number one interest of online browsers when selecting universities to apply to. It wasn’t close, either. Looking at school rankings by Hottest Girls was almost twice as popular as the second most popular ranking, Admission Difficulty, itself slightly worrisome. But don’t worry, America – behind these two, in order: Best Overall Experience, Best Party Scene, and Greek Life. Academics still came in with a strong 6th place finish, just ahead of Hottest Guys. OK, you can be a little concerned.

With these rankings in mind, and since none of our schools made the Top Ten, I would like to personally recommend my home city of San Diego. Consistently ranked in the top 3 in every list of the country’s most attractive people, some excellent schools, perfect weather, beautiful beaches and Mexican food to die for!

Insight from Sean Cook, Data Analyst

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Define My Ride: Southern Luxury and Portland Liberals

exelate define my ride

Who wants what? Figure that out, and your marketing is halfway done. We took a look at the regional interest of a range of car types across 3 months of online browsing data in order to see how these spatial patterns varied across the United States.

Some of the results are surprising. Why are more folks in Arizona looking at hybrids than their California neighbors? Perhaps it can be explained by the fact that 4.3 million of 6.5 million AZ residents live in the Phoenix metro area, a place that strongly favors a hybrid vehicle. Why are Pennsylvania residents looking at convertibles more often than Florida residents? Perhaps daydreams drive auto browsing as much as utility…a theory that supports the number of Ferrari shoppers we see!

Some car types display far less regional intensity than others. Sports cars, for instance, are enjoyed more evenly throughout the country, perhaps because young men and mid-life crises are universal. Luxury vehicles, on the other hand, display strong regional biases.

These results are all indexed in order to allow regional comparison. In other words, overall interest in sedans is higher than convertibles by 4-5x. We are comparing regional differences within a body type, rather than the body type popularities to each other. That’s a topic for a different day!

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Capturing Our Interest: Most Popular Sharks

exelate shark week

Discovery’s famous Shark Week™ has kicked off once again! Deadly and hypnotic, there is something about sharks that everyone finds interesting, fascinating, and a bit scary. We looked at data from a popular website that maintains information on wild animals, and with over 100,000 users looking at information on various sea creatures, the great white shark was the one people were the most interested in! In fact, sharks captured 4 of the top 10 most popular sea creatures, with the other 3 being the whale shark, the bull shark and the hammerhead. There is something about these dangerous creatures that makes us want to know more.

Don’t let it keep you out of the water though. In 2012 sharks attacked 53 people in the US, with one fatality. Dangerous? Perhaps. But to put that in perspective, there were almost a million dog attacks and 38 dog attack fatalities in the same year. So keep an eye out, but don’t skip that tropical vacation.

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eXelate’s data eXcellence awards: The Winners

We’re excited to announce the winners for the first ever data eXcellence awards!

Thank you to everyone who nominated. Check out all the awards talk on Twitter and see the pictures below and on our Facebook page!


Top 3 Publisher Nominations:

Matchflow, Manta, TNS

Winner: Manta

Top 3 Platform Nominations:

Media iQ Digital, Videology, x+1

Winner: x+1

Top 3 eXelate Partner Nominations:

Bizo, Nielsen Online Audience Segments – TV Viewing, MasterCard Advisors

Winner: Nielsen Online Audience Segments – TV Viewing

Top 3 Agency Nominations: 

VivaKi, OMD, Xaxis

Winner: VivaKi

Top 3 Non-Advertising Nominations:

American Society of Clinical Oncology, The Polaris Project/Google Giving, Knewton

Winner: Knewton


Online Browsing Behavior: Tablet vs. Smartphone

exelate tablet v smartphone

Mobile browsing has rapidly become an integral part of our everyday online behavior. When looking at mobile behavior, it’s critical to distinguish between different types of mobile devices and how their use differs. The two most common types of mobile devices are smartphones and tablets, and each display unique usage patterns through the day. The following chart displays hourly tablet and smartphone usage. This data is indexed to their respective daily averages in order to make them directly comparable, although raw overall usage of phones outweighs tablets at all hours.

Smartphones are typically kept with us throughout the day, and display a more even distribution of use through our waking hours. This is especially clear when looking at business hours. People don’t often have their tablets with them at work, and have less time to use them. Smartphones, on the other hand, can be used more continuously through the day. Interestingly, smartphones also display a slight but consistent dip between 5 and 6 o’clock, which we attribute to the commute home. Phones don’t work well when you’re driving in your car or on the subway!

Tablets are more heavily weighted towards home use. They show a brief spike of use in the morning before work. This is followed by a fairly flat usage level, and a tremendous spike at the end of the day when we get home from work. By 11 pm, both devices are declining rapidly, with minimum usage occurring around 5 am.

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eXelate’s data eXcellence awards

This Thursday, eXelate will host its first-ever data eXcellence awardsThe awards are the industry’s first and only event celebrating the innovative use of data for smart marketing decisions.

Every second, digital media organizations worldwide leverage online data. Whether it’s for reaching a highly niche audience, understanding the profile of a brand’s consumer, or converting buyers as they traverse the web, data is the catalyst for smarter marketing decisions.

This week, we will highlight one organization from five categories – agencies, publishers, platforms, eXelate partners, and organizations outside of digital advertising – who have implemented our data to achieve dramatic results. We asked the entire industry: 1) what was your business challenge? 2) how did you use data to solve that challenge? and 3) what results were achieved? We look forward to discovering the winners on Thursday night.


To request an invitation to the almost-sold out event, please click here.

Follow all the event excitement on Twitter with #eXelateawards. 

Safe from Nature: Interest in Public Safety during Summer

exelate disaster safety

Occasionally, we remember that the internet offers more than cats and memes. In some instances, it can be lifesaving, such as when it helps to spread information about an ongoing disaster, or provides safety tips to those affected by such an event.  Given the amount of natural disasters we have seen already this summer, we took a look at some of our data that shows interest in public safety.

While not unexpected, it was clear that safety and preparation tips for disasters are most frequently accessed immediately following a large event. On May 20, an EF5 tornado touched down in Moore, OK, devastating residential areas and schools. Following this major event, traffic to websites about disaster safety increased more than 100%, indicating how important these resources are. Even when examining American websites, distant disasters such as the tremendous floods in India and Nepal in June will cause small jumps in traffic.

As a rule, some disasters such as tornados and hurricanes display strong patterns of seasonality. The tornado season is especially visible, falling dramatically as we move into moved into mid-summer.  On the other hand, disasters such as earthquakes display significantly less seasonality, being a year-round threat.

While we focused on examining the most common types of disasters, the Red Cross can provide you with the information you need to be ready for anything from drought to tsunamis.

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eXelate Selected as One of AlwaysOn Global 250 to be Honored at AlwaysOn Silicon Valley Innovation Summit

New York, NY – July 22, 2013 – eXelate, the smart data company that powers smarter digital marketing decisions, announced that it has been chosen by AlwaysOn as one of the AlwaysOn Global 250 winners. Inclusion in the AlwaysOn Global 250 signifies leadership amongst its peers and game-changing approaches and technologies that are likely to disrupt existing markets and entrenched players in the Global Silicon Valley. eXelate’s smart data platform provides accurate, actionable, and agile data and analytics on online household demographics, purchase intent, and behavioral propensities.

eXelate and the AlwaysOn Global 250 companies will be honored at AlwaysOn’s 11th annual Silicon Valley Innovation Summit at the Computer History Museum in Mountain View, CA on July 23rd and 24th. This two-day executive gathering that highlights the significant economic, political, and commercial trends affecting the global technology industries. Innovation Summit’s goal is to identify the most promising entrepreneurial opportunities and investments in the global tech industry.

“This year’s AlwaysOn Global 250 is seeing an unprecedented shift from desktop to mobile. Concurrently, innovators in the cloud are making it possible for an entirely new generation of application and software solutions to enter the technology marketplace. The enterprise world has endured a long ramp-up to the cloud as well as finally accepting that mobile is here to stay. Now, businesses are demanding even more robust, secure applications with which to run their operations — anytime, anywhere,” says Tony Perkins, founder and editor of AlwaysOn. “The Global Silicon Valley is rising to this challenge with unfettered enthusiasm, providing business management solutions, IT infrastructure, and elegant, stable applications. Coupled with bleeding-edge consumer adoption of the latest and most powerful media applications, the companies on this year’s AlwaysOn Global 250 represent the highest-growth opportunities in today’s private company marketplace.”

The AlwaysOn Global 250 winners were selected from among thousands of domestic and international technology companies nominated by investors, bankers, journalists, and industry insiders. The AlwaysOn editorial team conducted a rigorous three-month selection process to finalize the 2013 list.

eXelate makes online, offline and custom modeled data sets actionable across 500M online consumers worldwide. eXelate’s proprietary maX dataTM– customized audiences built for advertisers based on first and third party data – delivers 3-5x better campaign performance as compared to conventional targeting.

“eXelate is thrilled to be included as an AlwaysOn OnGlobal Top 250 company,” said Mark Zagorski, CEO of eXelate. “This award recognizes our commitment to powering accurate, agile and actionable data for digital marketing decisions worldwide for marketers, agencies, platforms, publishers and data providers. It is an honor to be recognized for our technological advances that influence game-changing marketing endeavors.”

About eXelate

eXelate is the smart data company that powers smarter digital marketing decisions worldwide for marketers, agencies, platforms, publishers and data providers.  eXelate’s smart data platform provides accurate, actionable, and agile data and analytics on online household demographics, purchase intent, and behavioral propensities.  Through the collection of trillions of directly measured online data points and distribution partnerships with information leaders such as Nielsen, Nielsen Catalina, MasterCard Advisors, Bizo, and more, eXelate makes online, offline, and custom modeled data sets actionable across 700M online consumers worldwide. As members of the NAI, IAB, trustE, Council for Accountable Advertising, and Evidon’s Open Data Partnership, eXelate is a leader in privacy compliant advertising practices. For more information, please visit or follow  @eXelate.

The Path to a New Car: A Word from eXelate’s VP of Auto Sales

This is my first blog post as the automotive guy at eXelate, and being born and raised in Detroit, it’s been all about cars my entire life.  Now that data has become a major factor in targeting automotive shoppers, it just made sense for me to marry my auto marketing experience with smart data.

The auto shopper is one of the most sought after people across the web.   For years, marketers have been trying to figure out who is in-market and who are just tire kickers.  Are they looking for new or used or are they still undecided? And how long will it be until they really get serious and actually pick a model they like enough to go to the dealership to take a test drive?  Is that today or 3 months from now?

This is not a linear process like traditional media has taught us.  The purchase funnel we used to talk about is more of a path to purchase that actually resembles fingerprint technology.   Fingerprints might all look the same at a glance, but each one is different.  Everyone’s vehicle buying situation is unique and constantly changing.  Decisions need to be made for an infinite number of reasons; time frames and patterns are impossible to decipher.

Think about it.  Let’s say it’s January and one person wants a bigger car because they just moved to Buffalo, New York from Jacksonville, Florida and think that driving in the snow will be a challenge.  And another person wants to make sure they have a vehicle with the correct towing capacity for that bigger camper they’ve been eyeing.  Both definite SUV shoppers.  One has an immediate need and the other is still in the planning stages.  Yet you need to make sure you are targeting both individuals throughout their decision making process.  That’s where data comes to the rescue.  People’s online habits can give us clues to make marketing decisions more effective.

While OEMs are looking to target new vehicle shoppers, the auto shopping population has almost 3x as many used vehicle shoppers compared to new.

US Auto Sales, 2012 (

US Auto Sales 2012 (Source: NADA)

When consumers go to auto shopping and research sites, the sites are designed to reach both new and used shoppers, so almost ¾ of your targeting is to the used buying market.  What if you could use a data source that concentrated on new car buyers and over indexed the marketplace to make targeting more effective?  That’s what eXelate has been doing in the auto vertical and that’s why the data is much more effective.

A recent 90 day Korrelate study found that eXelate data reaches half of all new car buyers.   In 2013 alone, you can reach 8 million auto buyers and 34 million that are in consideration.

This is an exciting time to be in the data business, and the auto industry understands how important it is to reach people throughout the entire path to purchase – wherever that road is to a new car sale.

Frank J. Smychynsky is VP of Automotive Sales at eXelate and is based in Detroit, MI. With over 20 years in the world of cars, Frank is our resident auto expert. Click here to get in touch with him. 

Charitable Giving in the USA

exelate charitable giving

Charitable giving is one of the greatest things we can do to help our fellow man. We decided to take a look at some of the patterns of charity occurring this July within different age groups to see what would emerge. What did was expected, but interesting. The choice of charity seemed to reflect empathy with those in similar situations.

Looking at Generation Y, education was a huge concern, receiving the plurality of attention, followed by social services and welfare- a broad category containing everything from supporting veterans to the impoverished. Gen X followed these trends, but third place is where they differed: Gen Y broke slightly towards health related charities, while Gen X placed more emphasis on religious charities.

As we get to those in the Boomer generation and older, interests changed dramatically. Religion remained in third place, much like their younger Gen X counterparts. New to the mix was politics, with increased political donations correlating with the higher voting participation rates among older citizens. Social services moved up to the number one spot, the only charity type to cross every age group!

On a final note, this does not entirely capture the full range of charitable giving in the United States. In fact, with all things considered, religious donations are the dominant type of charitable giving in America. Tithing and church collections add up to enormous numbers of offline donations which are difficult to capture using web data.

Charity is a big part of the culture here at eXelate – take a look at some pictures from past community service events we have participated in.