5 Questions with Cardlytics

August 16, 2016 — by Aruna Paramasivam    

In our quest to provide as many interesting and innovative audience targeting solutions as possible, we have recently focused on transactional data providers, who can provide data based on credit card and bank card purchasing power. We are one of the first platforms to carry Cardlytics syndicated audiences, and also have their measurement solutions as well as custom segment capabilities. I recently had a chance to talk to Dani Cushion, CMO of Cardlytics, to understand better how our data buyers can best use this type of data.

  1. The headline on your website says “Every purchase tells a story.” This seems especially resonant at a time when more and more consumers are blocking ads. How do you help your customers turn these purchase stories into better marketing stories?

We believe that what you’ve purchased in the past is a great indicator of what you’ll buy in the future. And, in a world that is becoming more and more about relevance and personalization, this ability to reach consumers at the right time with the right content is increasingly important. We have insight into $1.5 trillion in consumer spending across 120 million bank accounts, which provides us a unique perspective on how to best reach consumers with relevant content.

For a long time, demographics have served as a way for marketers to segment consumers. These were a nice proxy that got you close to a target, but they weren’t perfect. Demographic-based audiences assume that everyone within a particular age range or gender spends in the same way. But that’s simply not the case.

As an alternative to demographics, at Cardlytics, we live instead by “purchasegraphics”—segmenting that uses past purchases as a predictor of future purchases. These purchase intelligence-based audiences segment people based on what they buy, which helps brands tell more tailored stories and improve their campaign targeting accuracy.

  1. What informed your decision to offer your services outside the banking channel?

We’ve used our purchase intelligence to target and measure campaigns within our native bank advertising channel for the past eight years. Our brand clients saw great success in this channel and wanted the ability to use that same purchase intelligence in campaigns across connected media. Earlier this year, we launched Platform Solutions to do just that, using purchase intelligence to make all marketing more relevant and measurable.

  1. How do you see yourself complementing an advertiser’s first, second- and third-party data?

Our purchase intelligence gets richer as you append other data to it. For example, geolocation data gives you a good picture of foot traffic in your brick and mortar stores, but it doesn’t tell you if consumers actually made a purchase. When you layer our purchase intelligence onto geo data, you get a great picture of consumer behavior around your store. What percentage of people that come into the store make a purchase? Are people coming in and not buying? These insights help brands make smart decisions about things like merchandising and in-store customer experience.

This is just one example, but you can imagine the possibilities when you complement our purchase intelligence with other sources, such as CRM or web browsing data.

  1. Since you launched your Platform Solutions service, what are some surprising insights clients have seen in terms of where their customers shop and how they spend?

One area where clients are often surprised is around loyalty. As marketers, we count on our loyal customers. The ones who keep coming back to express their devotion through frequent purchases. The ones who remain steadfastly immune to competitors’ marketing efforts…or so we think. We’re able to provide clients with a more complete view of consumer spending—we like to call it a “whole-wallet view”—to help brands understand where customers are spending when they’re not spending with the client’s brand. This eliminates a blind spot for brands and gives them a true understanding of who their loyalists are. Often times customers that appear to be brand loyal are actually heavy category spenders in disguise. This new view of loyalty helps brands refine targeting to capture headroom and nurture true loyalty.

  1. In a February AdAge article, you said you were “setting up the pipes” to enable advertisers to purchase audience segments based on Cardlytics data for ad targeting via ad exchanges. We are really pleased you have chosen to partner with MediaMath on making your syndicated segments as “always on” with us. Can you tell us how advertisers can use this targeting capability best?

When we launched Platform Solutions earlier this year, a large part of our strategy was forging partnerships with the right players to make our products easy for advertisers to consume. MediaMath was one of our first choices to make syndicated audiences available. These are prepackaged audiences that help marketers reach high-intent consumers based on actual past purchases. For example, a brand could buy an audience of casual dining customers, frequent travelers or specialty grocery shoppers.

Syndicated Audiences complement Cardlytics’ custom audiences that allow brands to create unique audience segments based on tailored criteria. For example, consumers who spend with a brand’s top three competitors. Or, consumers who spend at least $100 a month in a given category.

These “purchasegraphic” audiences are powerful, helping brands reach people based on what they buy versus who they are demographically. This reduces ad waste, allowing advertisers to get more from every impression.