I’m excited to announce the launch of our first product, databridgeTM. It’s no secret that banks, retailers and mobile operators have great data. The challenge for these companies has been in how they let their data “play” in a privacy-centric model that controls both WHO can use the data and HOW the data is used (see Data Leakage). This is the core of databridge, with an initial focus on enabling transaction data to measure marketing effectiveness.
The problems we are solving are not technical. The key issues that Commerce Signals has solved are: legal, regulatory, control, use, pricing, discovery and packaging. Big Data is a technical construct, and databridge is an economic one. databridge operates through our Federated DataTM model, where the data is held within the environment of the data owner. This enables banks to leverage their current Hadoop data lakes to answer standard “questions” posed by advertisers.These “questions” and how the “answers” are generated are our packaged data product.
While readers with background in Ad Tech understand marketing effectiveness, my Payments friends may not. A marketer’s key challenge is determining how a specific advertising tactic influences purchase behavior. Most digital marketers bill based upon clicks or impressions. The buyers of advertising want to relate marketing spend to sales (ex Return On Ad Spend).
Example: What are the total sales of 100,000 consumers that clicked on a digital ad for Merchant X? A: $58,000
Payment data from a merchant, acquirer, network or issuer can answer this aggregate question without giving insight into any consumer level data. Today, our data providers cover 70% of US transaction volume, enabling both advertisers and marketers to better focus every advertising dollar.
A logical question to ask: why hasn’t anyone else done this? Historically, data aggregators and co-ops have dominated advertising and measurement (see blog and Amex/Viacom). This results in a high degree of clustering, with few instances of data crossing multiple specialists (before activation). These specialists would prefer to sell data they OWN vs data they would have to buy.
“My aggregated data can list 40 yr. old men that shave with Gillette. But do I know how old the data is? Where it came from? NO! Because if I did I would have to pay for it”. – Former COO of Millennial Media
By allowing the buyer to choose a data source and the seller to control/price data access, we release market forces on data. With typical markets, price is based upon supply and demand. But since data is in infinite supply, thus its value depends on use (and complimentors/proxies).
Commerce Signals directly holds no data, allowing us to remain neutral to both parties in a transaction. Neutrality is particularly important in measurement. One reason I love this business is that we operate in a “connect the dots” model. We help companies that should be working together to do so at greater speed. We serve as the “storefront” and distributer for large data sources.
“It took 60 attorneys 18 months to work through custom access agreements for the first 7 retailers [….] to serve the next 10M merchants we enable access in 2 days through CS”. – SVP Merchant Product
Relating to participation
“Why wouldn’t we do this? We can turn this on in 2-5 days and turn it off at any time. We can choose who we respond to and what price we charge. […] I want this, we have no ability to serve anyone beyond the top 10 data buyers […] our current model does not scale” – Payment Network
Customers always say it best. I’ve saved my favorite quote for last:
“We spent over $400M in card linked offers and have learned some very expensive lessons. Even at our scale we are not big enough, nor our data unique enough for a data industry to beat a path to our door. What we should have done is look at our past success in Visa and Mastercard. Even though I compete with — and — the common network allowed us all to make investments so that access could be extended. If we don’t do the same thing in data, Google and Facebook will continue to crush us. You have the right model. Where the other networks operate in a common set of operating regs you allow custom bi-lateral agreements.” – Top 3 Bank