5 Questions with AddThis

March 16, 2016 — by Aruna Paramasivam

MediaMath has maintained a close data partnership with AddThis, having seen success both with their standard and custom offerings, especially given their monthly coverage of 2 billion unique visitors from 15 million mobile and desktop websites. Now a part of the Oracle Data Cloud family, alongside BlueKai and Datalogix, we look forward to working with them even closer, especially given their scale in international markets. I recently sat down with Hal Muchnick, CIO of AddThis, on his recent visit to our offices to hear his thoughts on what differentiates their data and what lies ahead in 2016.

1. AddThis has a really unique behavioral dataset. Can you talk about your methodology and why it’s so differentiated in the space?

Sure. Our dataset is generated by the anonymous activity of 2 billion unique users who visit any one of the 15 million domains that have chosen to install AddThis JavaScript on their pages. This massive scale gives us unique insight into the interests, intent and activity of consumers across the web, and we update all of this data in real-time. This helps us equip brands with a truly current and holistic window into their target audiences, and we do this at a global scale.

2. What are your best tips for using behavioral data in campaigns?

Behavioral data is extremely versatile. It works as a standalone for awareness campaigns, or in concert with other data types. We’ve seen a lot of success with creating custom audiences in combination with first-party data. For example: you’re an online retailer that owns and understands an incredible amount of data about your active customers, and how they behave on your properties. But what you don’t know is how that user behaves when they leave your site. AddThis behavioral data can help complete that picture, allowing you to target your users on a much broader scale.

3. What do you think will be the biggest challenge for data providers in 2016?

I think data providers need to realize that the days of big brands and agencies buying black box data are numbered! More and more marketers want to know the source, quality and relevance of their audience data; providers who can’t give a clear and transparent answer will struggle.

4. You were founded in 2004 before programmatic was even a word. What have been the most surprising evolutions in the intersection of martech and adtech?

The sheer speed at which the two industries have collided is surprising in itself. We’ve come a long way from the days where advertising tech and marketing tech were two very different practice areas. We’re now in a place where we really need to streamline efficiencies between all the disparate tech available, and I think we’re going to see a focus on that in the year to come.

5. What do you think is on the horizon for the rest of the year when it comes to martech and adtech?

Standard audiences have been a great way to get brands and agencies using programmatic and testing the water. The more standard audiences are activated against, however, the clearer it is that brands are all targeting the same users. Our standard audiences are a little different, because we create them from looking at our first-party-permissioned data set, but folks who are repackaging other people’s data don’t have the ability to create really targeted standard audiences. I think we’re going to see the use of more custom audiences. Marketers are growing weary of standard, off-the-shelf audiences due to the lack of transparency into the composition of the audience and the risk of wasting budget on fraudulent impressions. Programmatic audience buying will continue to evolve from the use of standard data to the need for custom data to plug into and create distinct audiences.

In addition—international growth! There is so much opportunity in EMEA and APAC, and I think this is the year where we’ll really see market penetration in these regions.

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