MediaMath Gets Into The Data Business With Launch Of Helix

  • The shared first-party data of MediaMath’s Adroit subsidiary is being spun into the new Helix business unit, and Adroit is being merged into MediaMath.


    Programmatic media buyer MediaMath is getting into the data business with the launch today of its new subsidiary, Helix.

    In 2013, the New York City-based MediaMath bought content delivery network Akamai’s ad business — which included a data cooperative that stored purchase behavioral profiles from merchants’ customers — and added it to its Adroit business unit. Now, Adroit Digital’s Shopper Cooperative is being spun off into Helix, and the Adroit name and operations will be merged into MediaMath.

    Jacob Ross, who headed Adroit Digital, has become president of the new Helix. He noted that Helix’s key dowry is a massive load of shared first-party data from about 300 company members — mostly merchants, plus some hospitality vendors and others — that had been the Adroit Shopper Co-op. About a third of the top 100 largest retailers in the US are members.

    “Being a member of Helix enables us to tap into a much wider pool of shoppers, many of whom are perfect customers for our brand,” Pep Boys assistant vice president of marketing, Rachel Silva, said in a statement.

    Those Cooperative members agree to share their anonymized customer info with others in the Co-op. Ross told me that there are now about 500 million active user profiles and monthly data on about $10 billion worth of e-commerce transactions. In November, he said, more than a billion transactions were tracked.

    First-party data is often considered the highest quality, because it’s a company’s own customers. The co-op’s shared data — actually second-party, because it’s shared first-party — can then be matched against acquired browsing data across publishers.

    So if you bought a pair of shoes from an online merchant in the Co-op, your anonymized purchase profile can be shared with other business members of the Co-op, who can target you because you fit their customer profile. Your profile can also be matched up — through cookies, device IDs or other techniques — with your browsing patterns obtained from outside data providers, enriching your profile with your visits to, say, Consumer Reports’ and ESPN’s websites.

    Ross said that previously, advertisers could only use this Co-op data if they employed Adroit’s services as a media buyer. Now, anyone who uses MediaMath’s demand-side platform for ad buying — and is a member of the Co-op — can employ the data.

    Eventually, he said, MediaMath may drop the DMP requirement, so that “if you want to access our data, you pool your data into Helix.”

    Ross noted that previously, MediaMath allowed clients to bring their own data for ad targeting, or to employ data from any of the third-party sources that partner with MediaMath. Now, it can also offer its own supply.

    Of course, these days everybody and their brother and sister seem to be building up marketing data repositories. Ross said Helix distinguishes itself because of its emphasis on shared first-party data, its alliance with the MediaMath programmatic media buying platform and its emphasis on merchant transactions.

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