LiveRamp’s IdentityLink expands to a new frontier: Television

Through its service for matching people's data sets, LiveRamp wants to help advertisers conquer television's many platform variations.

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LiveRamp’s IdentityLink connects one customer data set with another via a persistent identifier, such as an email address.

For instance, a brand might supply its customer list, and IdentityLink will connect it through the email or another solid identifier to other data about that customer, such as their mobile device ID or an identifying cookie. Now, the brand can directly and individually target its customers online.

LiveRamp utilizes the term “people-based marketing” to describe IdentityLink. The idea is that its joined customer profiles don’t just target the few behaviors of a cookie, but the contours of a person who may also have offline purchases and other non-online attributes.

Today, the San Francisco-based LiveRamp is expanding its IdentityLink universe to include television.

But television these days is not one platform. It includes linear non-addressable TV, linear addressable TV and over-the-top TV, not to mention TV clips and programs shown throughout the web. This has turned TV’s advertising pie into a series of pie slices.

LiveRamp’s GM of Television Allison Metcalfe told me that her company sees an opportunity because TV viewership has become so fragmented. LiveRamp is “able to link disparate identity sources,” she said. Here’s a new IdentityLink dashboard screen for television:

For an example use case, she suggested that Polk, a third-party provider of car data, might be contacted by Toyota for a new Prius campaign.

Polk selects 3 million users in its database whose online browsing suggests they might be interested in such a hybrid electric vehicle, and it provides the data sets on those 3 million to LiveRamp.

Similarly, Comcast provides its subscriber data to LiveRamp, which matches the Comcast subscribers to the Polk users through an email address or another persistent identifier. This yields, say, a half million Comcast subscribers who are on the Polk list.

Toyota can then direct TV ads to those subscribers with addressable set-top boxes. Or some of the matched Comcast subscribers might have Polk data indicating that they follow shows like “Modern Family” and they live in Chicago, so the Toyota ads can be directed in the old-fashioned way of buying a show and geographical market, but now propelled by data.

In this and similar use cases, LiveRamp serves as a kind of match-making Switzerland. Comcast would likely prefer to give its golden subscriber list to a neutral party like LiveRamp to match with outside third-party data, instead of directly to the third-party provider.

LiveRamp’s match-making is useful in determining cross-device identity, where an advertiser wants to direct ads to the same user across that user’s phone, laptop and tablet. Since television is currently such a fragmented platform, running TV ads across all its incarnations resembles the same cross-device identity problem.

Metcalfe noted that LiveRamp’s parent company, Acxiom, bought Allant’s Audience Interconnect TV data platform two years ago and that Allant and Experian — the latter company better known for its credit data bureau — had been among the main players for addressable TV.

Now, she said, Experian remains “very focused” on addressable TV, while two other firms active in advertising across the TV archipelago — Tru Optik and Nielsen — are LiveRamp partners.

Opinions expressed in this article are those of the guest author and not necessarily MarTech. Staff authors are listed here.

About the author

Barry Levine
Barry Levine covers marketing technology for Third Door Media. Previously, he covered this space as a Senior Writer for VentureBeat, and he has written about these and other tech subjects for such publications as CMSWire and NewsFactor. He founded and led the web site/unit at PBS station Thirteen/WNET; worked as an online Senior Producer/writer for Viacom; created a successful interactive game, PLAY IT BY EAR: The First CD Game; founded and led an independent film showcase, CENTER SCREEN, based at Harvard and M.I.T.; and served over five years as a consultant to the M.I.T. Media Lab. You can find him at LinkedIn, and on Twitter at xBarryLevine.

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