Acxiom partner with Roy Morgan and Facebook to pan for database 'gold'

Data-driven marketing services company Acxiom has partnered with Roy Morgan and Facebook to leverage each other's data collection abilities to 'unleash the power' of Facebook's reach in the marketing sector.

Marketing technology company Acxiom has announced a partnership with Australian market research firm Roy Morgan and social networking giant Facebook to leverage each other's extensive database "gold".

Acxiom ANZ managing director Dean Capobianco told ZDNet the partnership is expected to blur the lines between online and offline data, and give organisations a better insight to who and where their customers are.

"Marketers have access to so much data, and making sense of it is the big challenge for everybody. Trying to find those little nuggets of gold are really important, but they still have to align to what you want," Capobianco said.

"Knowing who your customers are and knowing how to communicate to them, and via what medium is always the biggest challenge."

Capobianco said Acxiom has a marketing database of approximately 16 million Australian adults; in addition to Roy Morgan's 50 thousand person-deep panel, and Facebook's 11 million active users, he expects the partnership to provide unprecedented opportunities.

He said Roy Morgan is the "key currency" in regards to data, highlighting that media players and advertisers have been using their data for years. Capobianco said Acxiom can now use its Australian reach of 16 million people to find look-a-likes for Roy Morgan's consumer segments, across millions of Australian Facebook users.

"The aim of the partnership is to leverage all of our data, digital capabilities, and expertise to unleash the power of Facebook's reach," he said. "One of the reasons we launched this initiative with Facebook was so advertisers could reach scale; with the amount of users on the platform, it's a big opportunity for any marketer.

"Facebook really allows us to automate the process very quickly. The speed to market means we can have campaigns up and live within a day or two."

London-based media and digital marketing company Dentsu Aegis Network and strategic media planners OmnicomMediaGroup, which is headquarted in New York City, are first to market with this solution. Their campaigns are set to go live this week.

Capobianco said a trend he is experiencing in the space is media planning and buying companies such as OmnicomMediaGroup -- who do the media and programmatic buying and planning for the likes of Telstra, Qantas, and ANZ Bank -- are starting to get on board.

"[Companies can] identify audiences based on a multiplicity of options, such as a person's income, how many times a year they fly, their transaction history with the likes of Qantas -- rather than just mass mail-outs to everyone's email address.

"When marketers come to us with their own customer relationship management (CRM) data that may only be name, postcode, and email address, what we do is help them create a much broader picture of their own customers by validating that against all the sources that we have.

"It makes everything a lot more tailored, and a lot more personalised."

Speaking about native advertising people experience when browsing the internet, Capobianco said it is here merges of the offline and online worlds can be seen.

"Up until now, you could really only do one-to-one CRM marketing, which is typically just email. The more I find out about my customer by using our infobase, the more tailored I can get my message; to find those people in an online world when all of us carry an average of two to three devices per person, is a very different experience," he said.

"It's about building profiles and understanding people a lot better; building a digital profile of your offline customer."

Capobianco touched on the privacy and security surrounding the data Acxiom collects, emphasising the onus is on the consumer to read the fine print, and the company to make that information clear and understandable, such as making "opt in/opt out" provisions a lot easier for the consumer.

"[Our database is] all people who have given permission or marketing consent," he said.

"But not many people read through a 3,000 word disclaimer; what you have to do as a company is make it really easy for people to read that disclaimer and manage their own subscriptions.

"Privacy compliance is something we take extremely seriously and we have an in-house privacy counsellor as part of our business there to make sure our associates are up to scratch on compliance, legislation, and so forth."

In May last year, Acxiom acquired "data onboarding" startup, LiveRamp for $310 million. The deal brought Acxiom a customer base of more than 200 top-tier brands, as well as an expansive partner network that allows its technology to integrate with a range of marketing technologies, boosting its offline-to-online data capabilities.

The San Francisco-based startup is known for unlocking data from CRM systems and other applications. The basic premise of the technology enables marketers to match offline databases to online data -- a key element necessary for measuring the impact of digital advertising efforts.