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Acquisition Of Ad Network Fluent By “Data Fusion” Provider IDI May Create A New Marketing Powerhouse
Announced earlier this week, the combined company intends to build advanced profiles on more than 100 million customers.
At first glance, information solutions provider IDI’s purchase this week of customer acquisition/ad platform Fluent seems like just another acquisition.
But a deeper look shows the building blocks for a marketing powerhouse.
IDI, based in Boca Raton, Florida, employs advanced “data fusion” technology to extract useful insights from multiple and diverse data sources. The difference between this approach and, say, other kinds of data integration is the difference between a combined dataset and interpretations of that data.
IDI has primarily applied its technology to regulated data, like your name and your Social Security number, for such purposes as debt collection, fraud prevention, cybersecurity and due diligence.
New York City-based Fluent, on other hand, has built up a first-party databank on more than 100 million customers. It obtained them via real-name signups on various sites it owns, like Samplesandsavings.com and Allamericansavings.com.
A user who registers at one of their sites for a discount offer provides her email address and other info and then can immediately be served an ad relating to her profile. Later, Fluent can email profile-specific marketing messages to her and, via cookie or mobile device ID, can direct relevant ads.
But Fluent has bigger goals.
It wants to know much more about this user, like that her family has two cars and she might be interested in car insurance. It also wants to know about her interests so it can build a content-based relationship on things like tips for playing golf.
“Content is key to extending the relationship to the consumer, to get the consumer to engage,” president and cofounder Matt Conlon told me.
He added that Fluent, which expects to gross more than $130 million in this fifth year of business, wanted IDI’s “stronger data analytics and segmentation chops” so it can focus more on delivering relevant content to users and higher value to advertisers.
“You can serve a lot of ads,” he said, “but if I know somebody has kids in the house,” they can be shown recipes. And recipes are the start of a relationship.
But IDI may be able to deliver a lot more than recipes.
By matching Fluent’s identified customer base with other identified and anonymous datasets, it may be able to discover harder-to-find attributes like relationships between customers, product preferences or political leanings.
The newly combined business, then, will cover the spectrum from regulated data to first-party-based customer data to first-party data possibly combined with regulated data and expanded by insights gleaned from other data sources.
In other words, an ad network plus content with a large customer base married to an engine for interpreting huge datasets.
It will be interesting to see what the offspring will look like.