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. 

The Data’s in the Details – Volume 2: “Data – Once it hits your lips, it’s so good…”

As a follow-up to my previous blog post

In order for anyone to understand the value derived from data usage, a critical step is to actually start using data. This can come from direct integrations, testing through established “data connections”, or layering data for analytics and optimization. These are just a few ways to “get in the game”. At the end of the day, you need to be involved with data in order to see the value.

This concept can be foreign to many in the advertising space, and it should be – as the data world is still relatively new and fragmented. At eXelate, we help companies gain value through data usage, and are truly excited about the benefits.  However, we also believe the “proof is in the performance”, which can only come once there is a sincere effort made to leverage data and empower your marketing decisions.

Once the data discovery effort is underway, I have no doubt there will be significant enthusiasm around the many possibilities moving forward. I have actually witnessed the discovery of data value through eXelate partnerships over the last several years – and it is not only proof positive, but more importantly FUN…

In fact, it always reminds of the scene from Old School, where Frank the Tank (Will Ferrell), recites the lines “Fill it up again! Fill it up again! Once it hits your lips, it’s so Good…”  This coming as a result of Frank partaking in an activity, that was not in his initial plan for the evening – but one he enjoyed. Perhaps your enthusiasm for data will manifest itself in a slightly different quote, but you get the idea. (For those who have not seen the movie Old School, please stop reading this blog and immediately go see it.)  But for quick idea of what I mean, or reminder, you can watch the clip here

They Do Data! Our 2 Cents on The Wall Street Journal’s Amended Privacy Policy

Yesterday, the Wall Street Journal announced a change to its privacy policy. As the publisher of a groundbreaking series on online privacy and digital tracking, this move by the Wall Street Journal is already generating a fair amount of criticism and buzz around the net.

From the WSJ’s blog post, it appears that this effort is driven in part by a need to standardize its policies across its network of owned sites. But it’s certainly also an acknowledgement of the value of visitor data and the importance of audience monetization to publisher business models.

We think this is positive news for the Wall Street Journal, and indicative of a larger shift of more and more media companies leveraging data to drive premium digital marketing initiatives. The bottom line is that to be competitive with mega-audience engines like Google and Facebook, publishers have to play the targeting game as well, if not better.

Some other conclusions can be drawn from this move:

Transparency is key.

The WSJ not only changed its policy, but announced the change separately and included its reasons for doing so in the announcement. Smart move that was handled well.

Policies must be clear to the layperson.

Some of the Journal’s critics have rightfully pointed out that some of the language both in the policy and by the Journal’s spokeswoman are not easy for the layperson to decipher.

Publisher data sharing with user opt out is the norm.

The industry has consolidated around the opt out model and more and more publishers see the value in using audience data to deliver relevant content and advertising.


What’s your take on the Wall Street Journal’s shift? Leave us a comment…

Haters Gonna Hate, but Data Owners Gotta Innovate

There’s so much hype out there. Every day we hear about new companies and new product offerings, many of them with the potential to change how digital ads are bought and sold – and perhaps shake the advertising industry to its very core. Throw in all of the acronyms we have to learn, and it’s easy to become somewhat cynical about it all.

Despite that tendency, we at eXelate believe there’s never been a better time for innovation in digital advertising. Innovation is everywhere we look, from the usual digital suspects all the way to the White House.

Innovation is perhaps most important for data owners. With the traditional publisher business models so much in flux, now is the time for data owners to try new ideas.

The data marketing space is one area that is ripe for data owner experimentation. Most data owners should be experimenting with both unbranded sales and branded data sales. With unbranded sales, you can sell your data into a digital advertising marketplace almost with the flip of the switch.

And it can be just as easy to try out branded data sales. eXelate can segment your audience, plug you into any demand-side partners, help you with data pricing and even set up a branded storefront for you to sell your data.

A major part of experimentation is understanding what works and what doesn’t. That’s why all of these efforts need to be backed by monitoring efforts and insights (all of which you can get from our DataLinX data marketing platform).

We work with many different types of clients and help them achieve significant revenue increases. There’s no one-size-fits-all approach to managing and marketing your data — and that’s just another reason innovation is so important.

So let the haters hate. Innovate the way you manage and market your data to improve your bottom line.

How To Succeed in Tag Management without Really Trying

“If you pick the right people and give them the opportunity to spread their wings — and put compensation as a carrier behind it — you almost don’t have to manage them.”

Jack Welch said this about managing people, but we would say almost the same thing about managing Web site tags. Choose the right partners, implement the best processes and make sure the incentives are correct and you almost don’t need to manage your tags.

We kept these ideas in mind when we designed Tag Manager, a new way to track and control all of the tags a publisher runs.

Since 2008, we’ve helped Web publishers optimize both tag performance and data marketing revenue. Tag Manager brings together eXelate’s performance monitoring, data marketing and audience measurement capabilities so that publishers can spend less time managing their tags and more time creating great content and building their businesses.

We’re also sure that Welch would agree that visibility and measurement are both key in any management process. That’s why Tag Manager includes a tag activity dashboard, so that you can better understand tag types, volume and performance.

Moreover, Tag Manager is integrated into DataLinX, the only DMP in the marketplace dedicated to helping data owners maximize their return on data. That means Tag Manager sits side-by-side with both DataShield, which prevents publishers from data theft, and all of our marketplace integrations, which ensure that you get the maximum revenue from your audience data.

We know that tag management can be a painful distraction not only for your organization but for your site visitors as well. Let us show you how Tag Manager can help you get your tags under control – so that soon, you won’t even have to manage them.

eXelate at The Data Management Summit: July 17-20

Will you be in Deer Valley, Utah next week for the Data Management Summit? Come meet the eXelate team on Monday, July 18 and learn how companies like Nielsen Catalina Solutions are monetizing and innovating their data strategy in the session “Bulls-eye: Reaching and Managing Your Most Valuable Consumers”.

Also, join us on Tuesday, July 19 as we debate the largest issues facing publishers as digital advertising moves toward people in the panel discussion “From the Sell Side”.

DataLinX and DataShield- Lunch and Learn at OMMA Behavioral

Learn more about our publisher tools for data management, including DataLinX.

5 Tips for Publishers Looking to Invest in a Data Management Platform

5 DMP tips

2 weeks ago, our CEO, Mark S. Zagorski, wrote a byline about data management platforms (DMPs) for MediaPost. Here are some of the highlights:


As an online publisher, your content and the audience you’ve developed are key to your success. Building a scalable infrastructure to manage these is a competitive advantage.

Consider the following 5 tips when evaluating a partner to help promote your data management strategy. Focus on the fundamentals — management, monetization and monitoring.

1. Data Management Isn’t Tag Management

Data management, and specifically audience data management, is a relatively complex activity that goes beyond simply trafficking pixels on a publisher site. Although tag rotation is an important component of any data management toolset, it is just the starting point. Audience segmentation, data protection, audience insight and secure data delivery are key facets of a well-rounded data management practice. It is crucial to partner with a technology provider that enables these behaviors. For sophisticated publishers, the opportunities that abound in leveraging the key asset of audience data will only be unlocked in a solution that delivers a breadth of features.

2. The M in DMP Means More Than “Management”

The key reason publishers are scrambling to understand DMPs is because of the other key “M” – money. DMPs have to provide a clear path to positive ROI, generally through the ability to either: 1) make the value of your onsite inventory greater through data 2) enable you to extend the reach of your audience by audience distribution on complementary media sources or 3) provide you with a direct conduit to new revenue for your audience data through a controlled distribution channel. All these monetization channels are not mutually exclusive; they have a system that gives you the ability to flexibly move from one revenue option to another is a key.

3. Monetizing Data is a Different Animal

The ability to transfer audience data outside of your site — whether it is for your ad team’s use in an audience extension play, as a direct sale to an advertiser/exchange, or as part of a value-add package to an agency, is a feature which fully leverages the power of a solid DMP. Once data leaves the mother ship, you need to be able to ensure that both the means of the transfer are secure and that the privacy considerations you maintain are carried on outside of your site. In addition, make sure your partner “plugs” are robust, control and flexibility are essential. Every partnership is different and may entail specific pricing, transparency, access or rights that should be readily controllable by you. A DMP should help you monetize your data — if you work with a platform that has been constructed with dynamic partner access/monetization and strong publisher control.

4. DMPs (and Data Management Strategies) Are Not Built Overnight

“It’s so easy” may apply to Guns N’ Roses songs — falling in love and remembering how to ride a bike — but not to mastering audience data management. If you think about it, DMPs are similar to CRM tools. Building a sophisticated, yet easy-to-use system on the supplier side and operating it efficiently on the publisher side takes time and resources. Audiences don’t segment themselves, so you need to make sure your team is prepared for the ongoing effort it will take to manage data. Like inventory management, audience management is an iterative process, not an auto-pilot solution.

Ask if your DMP partner is going to provide support for your team as well as how they plan to help you manage the ever-changing advertising and regulatory landscape. Make sure they have the backing to be with you for the long haul. Through product upgrades and strategic support, your DMP partner should be able to keep you at the forefront of data monetization, management and monitoring trends. This takes platform depth, team stability and a solid investment backbone for all involved. As audience data value begins to approach media value, consider whom you trust with this asset.

5. Your Data is Valuable – Protect It

The greatest data management toolset in the world is worthless unless you protect the value of what it is managing. Making sure that your “plugs” to buyers are secure is one thing, but protecting access from surreptitious applications is quite another. Third-party ad units, widgets, embedded content, text links, sharing tools and more are all “open doors” which can provide easy and unauthorized access to your data. Some of my industry colleagues like to call this “data leakage,” I prefer “data theft.”

“Leakage” connotes that the data seeps out and is lost, whereas what is actually happening is that someone is actively harvesting it and using that data — with no recompense to you. So a third definition of the “M” in DMP needs to be “monitor,” and any tool that is worth using for the first two “M’s” (managing and monetizing) should also include this feature. Understanding who may be accessing your audience data and having the ability to white/blacklist certain activity is critical to ensuring that your overall audience strategy is sound. No one will be interested in monetizing your audience if they are getting it for free.