It’s an exciting time for Turn. We’re in a major growth phase with over 200 employees across 14 offices worldwide and expanding. We’re seeing our fastest growth occurring across Europe with 430% year-on-year revenue growth in the region. We have major global brands using our service directly, or through their agencies. We work with the Top 5 holding companies in the world, and run 3,500 campaigns monthly around the globe. Having witnessed firsthand the interest in Turn at the DMEXCO event in Germany last week, I am excited about our prospects for continued growth, as our products address the pain points that digital advertisers across Europe have today.
Turn’s goal has always been to empower the marketer at their moment of decision. To this effect, we developed our cloud marketing platform for scalability, speed, open access and, most importantly, the easy delivery of insights for smarter marketing decisions.
What the “cloud” part means for the marketer is that there is no software to install, no need to have to integrate with advertising exchanges or inventory partners, no need to build data ingestion tools to pull in first-party data, no need to strike deals with every third-party data vendor. They simply subscribe to our service and can begin streamlining their digital marketing operations.
We know that every marketer is unique in their use of, and access to, data. We built the platform to be flexible and offer personalised strategy and planning; and a critical differentiation is that Turn also offers consulting and customisation. One simple example is that a marketer is welcome to buy third-party data from Turn’s Data Marketplace, but if they have a special relationship with a publisher or offline data company, they can easily strike a deal and our platform offers separate tools for them to set up that data vendor directly – it even allows them to determine the pricing model that fits their specific need.
Every marketing department is different, but some examples of the data they store in our system include: site-specific activity, response on emails, search keyword data, and offline CRM data, such as purchase habits and customer loyalty scores. Similar to the extremely cool “iCloud” from Apple, where my family can share photos from different phones or cameras, marketers (or their agencies on their behalf) may push user-based data and unstructured data into Turn’s Data Management Platform, Audience Suite. Then, they can securely access this data from our interface globally.
For the techies, we have five data centers worldwide that allow for close proximity to geo-specific data, which enables user profiles and advertising auctions to interact with minimal latency. Additionally, due to our large buying footprint for Turn’s DSP, we have a broad and stable user base. Reach matters not only when you are trying to find your target audience to serve them a digital ad, it’s also critical when you plan to run detailed attribution reports and create actionable media plans and forecasts.
Many of the European companies I’ve met with say, “we are two to three years behind the US”. I would encourage European agencies, marketers and publishers to take a different stance. I feel that they have an opportunity to learn from the US, and see firsthand what has been successful when it comes to data-usage in media planning and targeting. There are incredible technology companies out there that didn’t exist when we all had the vision and dream of accessing vast amounts of data and making the data actionable. The technology is here today, the business structure in many cases has been proven and in many European countries there is a real opportunity to make data-buying much more successful due to the close relationships in Europe between advertiser and publisher.
How central is data to not only Turn’s business, but also its consumer facing product features?
Well, first of all, I feel as though we should break down that fun word “Data” a bit more.
We all know how user-based data can be used in targeting, but let’s look at two other examples of different types of “Data”. The first example of “Data” could be ad campaign performance data. This can be used in our system to measure the success of a multi-channel campaign and show the optimum mix of creative messaging at different points in the sales funnel. Every day marketers manage a multitude of campaigns and are presented with an overabundance of campaign performance data. However, the question for marketers is in how to connect that data to their quick decision making to have a high impact to their business. Turn has the data warehouse to bring the data in and the simple analytic tools to provide the answers.
Secondly, let’s think about the data that isn’t connected to a user ID. For example, search campaign spends and flight dates. This data can also be imported into Turn and the marketer can run analytics based on launch dates, interaction on other media campaigns and even purchase events.
So as you can see, data is in the DNA of everything we do, not just in terms of the platform but the service we provide our partners. Our platform has enormous capacity that’s ready to scale with the growing needs of our clients.
Describe the DMP functionality you have developed – do you expect DMPs being integrated into delivery platforms to become common place? Is it a FNAC or a genuine standalone business?
My sense is that the investment required to build a pure DMP may restrict the number of companies who can offer a truly integrated solution. It is a lot harder than most initially think, especially when you have to build one to operate at the scale of global internet advertising.
DMPs have evolved in their importance to a marketer beyond just an add-on. Today, they must offer flexibility of function, open standards and well-defined APIs that allow integration with advertiser, agency and data supplier platforms. We believe a DMP should work well with DSPs, and also be a valuable tool for a marketer as a standalone product. That is why our products, Audience Suite and Turn’s DSP Campaign Suite, can be used together or separately.
Audience Suite brings together all available data and sifts through it to bring insights that marketers can use to reach their audience more precisely. With a clear picture of who those customers are, marketers are able to better analyse their campaign results, audiences behaviours and motivations, to reach them all in real time. Additionally, Audience Suite can connect with other DSPs in the market.
The benefit of using Audience Suite and Campaign Suite together is that you not only have a holistic view of your media plan and its success, but are also able to take action on important changes seen in customer acquisition or interaction with your brand. This action occurs in our system almost immediately – as little as 10 milliseconds in most cases!
How does the DMP functionality increase the ability to create more one-to-one relationships? Will this finally help move the activation of data beyond simple retargeting strategies?
Centralising all your data sources gives you a complete 360 view of each customer. Turn’s platform, for example, stores more than 700 million anonymous user profiles with associated data attributes. Combining this with Turn’s intelligent learning algorithm also means that the more data you have, the more informed your decisions can be with the creative served. In short, DMPs enable advertisers to get very granular with their messaging to various customer segments. Going well beyond retargeting, this is re-envisioning the communication flow through the sales funnel, and delivering highly relevant messages from start to finish, all driven by data insights.
Can you describe the Big Data stack for Turn? How is value created around this?
Big Data insights are the core of our expertise. We’ve spent seven years building a system that processes 750,000 queries per second. For each query, we evaluate up to 2,500 different data points, sifting through two petabytes of global data. We have a huge emphasis on real-time in our engineering team.
For our customer, value is created in two ways. One, because we can process more information faster than anyone else. This means we get the insight to them faster, so they can make a decision about what to do next with their marketing campaign. Second, Turn provides them with tools to do their own analysis. For example, DataMine is a powerful analytics platform that provides marketers with direct query builder access to all event level data, such as impression, click, pixel, etc., that is contained in our data warehouse. By combining advertiser data using DataMine with third-party data, marketers can generate any type of custom analysis without limitation.
How does Turn ensure its getting access to the *right* quality data to leverage the full opportunity of real-time bidding? Is this access critical to making the most of algorithmic design and predictive analysis?
That’s a very loaded question – and I love that you asked it. The debate about what is the “right” or “best” data to purchase had gone on well before we were making it available for targeting in digital. I think we need to give a bit more credit to the marketer and their agency. They spend significant money building audience profiles for all advertising mediums. For digital, they know how to vet data sources and often use Turn to test performance, accuracy and duplication of data vendors. Turn partners with the best of breed data providers including Acxiom, Experian, eXelate, Eyeota, VisualDNA and BlueKai, to name a few. This data is made available for prospecting and purchase by Turn clients. We call this our AlwaysOn Data Program. I’ll be honest, getting access to a variety of third-party data in Europe is challenging. We are seeing growth, but with each individual country determining their data collection and privacy policies, this will remain a challenge for advertisers. That is why we often recommend starting with first-party data and having the marketer bring in what they have rights and access to: search data, site-specific data, CRM data, and even suggest they partner with their largest publishers to see if they can strike an agreement that allows them to bring in samples or select types of data. In addition to the already integrated AlwaysOn data vendors, Audience Suite gives marketers the ability to easily configure and load any type of data.
Ultimately, the right data is what’s right for each advertiser. As important as partnering with the right companies is the ability to provide advertisers with an accessible and open system that allows for actionable and useful insights.Global Desk Editor