Permission-based programmatic advertising taps into customer data disclosure trend

iCumulus' new data management platform claims to be the first to give consumers the ability to provide information for advertising targeting and is the latest example of giving consumers back control of their own information

An Australian-owned data management platform provider is claiming to be the first to offer permission-based programmatic buying in real-time to advertisers.

The launch of the platform, which relies on consumers providing their individual information for targeting purposes, is indicative of a rising trend where customers gain the power to choose what personal data advertisers can use to address them.

The iCumulus iNimbus DMP offering was unveiled this week and taps into information consumers have agreed to provide for marketing and messaging purposes.

iNimbus data, which is based on cookie data, is matched with opt-in information from website visitors including their demographic profile, interest in products and services, and purchasing intent. More than 50 interest verticals such as investing and international travel are also being incorporated into the data set.

Publishers who contribute data to iNimbus provide full disclosure to website visitors and iCumulus said no personally identifiable data is collected or supplied. Data is then fed into each trading platform in real time for retargeting.

iCumulus has struck agreements with Turn and DoubleClick Bid Manager by Google to feed iNimbus data into their programmatic demand-side platforms (DSPs). The company has also formed partnerships with several websites to collect consumer information including lifestyle surveys, post transactional placements and free Wi-Fi websites.

On the customer side, the company has signed up Cardeon and Amnet, and is in final discussions with Xaxis, Vivaki and Accuen.

iCumulus managing director, Mark Halstead, said having visitors agree to provide information about their level of interest in communications upfront will help advertisers make experiences more relevant.

“iNimbus is unique because to date all consumer information is currently presumed - for example, if you visit a travel website, it’s presumed that you’re interested in travelling,” he said. “iNimbus offers relevant, opt-in and real-time consumer information for programmatic buying to deliver better results for advertisers.

“The higher the relevance of these consumer offers, the greater the response rate the advertiser experiences.”

Cadreon audience and analytics manager, James Wood, recognised the importance of data to help better improve client results and is currently testing the data from iCumulus.

“We can see the consumer interest plus intent data as high value to our clients’ businesses,” he stated. Interest in permission-based consumer data sharing is gaining ground as brands increasingly look to make communications more personal and relevant.

Well-publicised customer data breaches such as the payments data breach at Target earlier this year, as well as Edward Snowden’s revelations about the US National Security Agency’s privacy snooping practices, have only increased consumer concerns about how their individual information is being used by third parties.

Questions are also being raised across the marketing and advertising industry around the ethics and privacy implications of personalisation, as well as potential consumer backlash as more brands utilise data to target customers.

Related: Trust issue looms large for tech companies capitalising on personal data

Movements such as the ‘do not track’ register and website buttons in the US have been launched as a direct response to the rise of digital communication and data usage, and are designed to give consumers the right to take back control of their own data.

Another burgeoning and potentially revolutionary area of development in this space is personal clouds. The idea behind these is to allow consumers to choose when and how they’ll interact with a vendor or advertiser, and reclaim ownership of their own personal data.

Earlier this year, Australian-based software developer, Flamingo, unveiled a new relationship management platform , dubbed ‘vendor relationship management’, flipping the traditional CRM model on its head. The cloud-based platform allows consumers to specify how they want to interact and be treated by an organisation, as well as the mix of goods of services information they receive, by nominating which data can be used by third parties and retaining ownership of that data in a private cloud.

And in July, the world’s first standard and protocol for personal cloud providers, called Respect Network, was launched to help facilitate this new customer-vendor dynamic.

According to Flamingo founder, Dr Catriona Wallace, personal clouds could reshape the way marketers think by giving power back to consumers. But rather than see this as a potentially negative trend, she claims it finally opens the door to more relevant, accurate customer interactions.

According to Flamingo’s research, organisations combining co-creation and personal cloud may increase efficiency in the customer retention process by up to 50 per cent, and sales process rates by about 30 per cent.

“The easiest way to understand customers is by giving them a tool to tell the organisation what they want, their intentions and how much money they’ve got,” Dr Wallace said at the time of Flamingo’s launch.

“In the next two years, we’re going to see the wall between marketing departments and customers start to dissolve.”

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