I’ve been spending a lot of time thinking about data recently and it’s become the central investment thesis for kbs+p Ventures, our go to market approaches for The Media Kitchen, and how kbs+p communicates vision. My friend and entrepreneur extraordinaire +Jon Steinberg says it extremely well, advertising is becoming “guided by math, but moved by art.” For many folks in direct mail or other quantitatively driven marketing disciplines, this has been the norm, but I’m loving how this new norm is playing out across all of marketing.
Data isn’t new. Data allowed ancient salt traders to make important investment decisions in Egypt. Data allowed Christopher Columbus to accidently find the Americas. Data allowed Babe Ruth to know which pitches to throw to which batters. It’s been around.
Why it’s become a central thesis to us now is because it’s more actionable than ever because it’s become almost tangible and tools allow it to be ever more moldable. As a focus group of one, I use data to optimize my fantasy football teams thru +Nik Bonaddio‘s Numberfire platform, I use data through our Trading Desk, Varick Media Management, to optimize our biddable media campaigns, and I use data to help me understand where to invest my personal capital to help drive returns that can pay for my kids college tuition and my wife & I’s retirement.
As above, “data” can be used for many different uses.
One area of use that I’d love to see built out (and maybe I’ll pursue it) is legitimately, The Bloomberg Terminal for Advertising Data. If you are in the advertising technology ecosystem, then you’ve probably heard a million pitches with the words, “Bloomberg Terminal” but I think this is a huge opportunity around a very structured product. Let me explain.
Fact: hundreds of millions of dollars (if not billions) are being invested in media impressions thru biddable media sources
Fact: brands and agencies are building RTB advertising technologies to take advantage of market opportunities
Fact: publishers are going through an evolutionary period in which they transact their “wares”
Fact: agencies are in an evolutionary period in which they structure their buying decisions and put data front and center
In my theoretical world that I like to play out in my head every now and again, and run past trusted sources, I play out a scenario in which Advertising Traders have multiple screens on their desk, similar to a Bloomberg Terminal in which software is running showing the market dynamics and pricing. This Bloomberg For Advertising will show specific marketplace pricing (AdX, RMX, Rubicon, etc) indexes, demand volume, specific data asset pricing & demand (3rd party data), and the like.
To create this and carry out the vision, I believe as of now, but could be convinced, that this needs to be executed by a unbiased 3rd party company who isn’t tied to media or data volume. They purely are (profitably) motivated thru licensing of their Bloomberg for Advertiser software.
Why is this important?
1. Data assets as simply described above are going to become increasingly important for investment decisions in the near and mid-term.
2. Publishers need access to this information the exact same as advertisers to help drive their businesses forward.
3. Regulation of markets is a commonplace in the USA and the advertising marketplace is heading in this direction, at least at a preliminary level, especially as we increase our usage of spot and forward markets.
I believe there is a very large opportunity to be this for marketing and advertising. If you are out there building this or have a viewpoint similar or dissimilar, I’d absolutely love to hear from you.