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Member ViewPoint: eXelate

An Interview with Khurrum Malik, CMO, eXelate

Q: What does eXelate do?

A: eXelate is dedicated to making digital media more relevant for consumers and effective for marketers through our smart data and analytics platform. Our smart data platform provides accurate, actionable, and agile data and analytics on online household demographics, purchase intent, and behavioral propensities.

Q: How long have you been a member of the NAI, and what key value do you see from your membership? 

A: We joined the NAI in 2009 and continue to be active members. We share a common goal with the NAI to champion consumer data rights and transparency on a consistent and ongoing basis. As the digital world gets increasingly complicated, we believe that keeping our industry grounded and focused on consumer data rights becomes even more important.

Q: You recently completed a study of third-party data use by online advertisers. Could you please provide an overview of the study and key findings?

A: We conducted a comprehensive study in conjunction with Digiday in early 2013 where we captured feedback from over 650 digital advertising professionals representing advertisers, agencies, and platforms (ad networks, ad exchanges, demand side platforms). The research was driven by the ongoing need to reduce the complexity of the ad tech ecosystem by providing clarity to the real demands of advertisers and agencies.

Key highlights from the eXelate State of the Industry survey include:

  • Audience targeting continues to grow with more than 80% of advertisers and 90% of agencies, ad networks, ad exchanges and DSPs utilizing the capability
  • Over 60% of advertisers prefer 3rd party online data for audience targeting, followed by 1st-party CRM data
  • Over 80% of the ecosystem reports that audience targeting is an effective marketing strategy
  • 3rd party online data is the highest ranked data set for both direct response and branding campaigns for both advertisers and agencies, outperforming 1st-party social, custom and CRM data 
  • More than 69% of respondents report they plan to increase their audience-targeting budgets, with an average budget increase of 38%

Folks can review the full version of the survey at or tweet us @eXelate and we’ll send you a link.

Q: In your opinion, what does this study say about the value of third-party data in the digital advertising ecosystem?

A: A surprising survey insight included the fact that both advertisers and agencies preferred 3rd party online data as the #1 source of audience targeting data over 1st party social media and 1st party custom data for both direct response and branding campaigns. This result confirms that the audience targeting ecosystem continues to rely on accurate and actionable 3rd party data pools to power effective audience targeting campaigns. Despite the ongoing debate on 3rd party cookies and data, it is clear that all parts of the digital advertising ecosystem – advertisers, agencies, and platforms – increasingly rely upon and trust the reach and effectiveness of 3rd party data. 

Q: What do you see as the biggest opportunities and the biggest challenges facing third-parties based on this research?

A: Some of the biggest opportunities are also the biggest challenges.

Mobile. The research highlighted increasing momentum for platform-centric audience targeting. Smartphone and tablet platforms were utilized for audience targeting by greater than 50% of respondents – fast approaching the 75%+ for PCs. This trend represents a great opportunity for our industry to provide multi-platform solutions; however, the challenge will lie within execution. Mobile represents a very fragmented environment when compared to the PC and will require innovative ways to cut through the noise.

3rd Party + 1st Party. Another key finding was that 3rd party data scored the highest rank for both direct response and branding campaigns; however, 1st party CRM data wasn’t far behind. The opportunity here is for our industry to be able to take 1st party CRM data and seed 3rd party online data to amplify audience targeting impact. The challenge lies in the ability to have an accurate and actionable data set that can drive a measurable difference.

The views and opinions expressed in this blog are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect those of the Network Advertising Initiative and/or any other contributor to this site.

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