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Experian Launches Activation Partners Program, With Sights On Cross-Channel Targeting

Experian, a global information services company, is teaming up with tech vendors to expand its audience targeting capabilities, and cross-channel campaign execution. 

The Experian Activation Partners Program, unveiled Aug. 20, aims to ‘help advertisers connect with people through various media channels,” as brands set their sights on more complete marking programs. 

Participating advertisers can integrate first-party data with third-party data, provided by Experian’s ConsumerViewSM marketing database, to build ideal target audience segments, and optimize ad creative deliverables for relevant messaging. The added perk is the ability for marketers to tap into Experian’s vendor partner resources to help execute campaigns effectively through different marketing channels of choice.

Currently, Experian Activation Partners include Adaptly, Unified, 4C, Brand Networks, and SocialCode. Interestingly, the majority of Experian’s initial partners have a focus on social media advertising and campaign delivery. Patrick Workman, vice president of global platform partnerships, Experian, told DMN: 

“There’s an increasing expectation among consumers to only receive personal and relevant content from brands. And at the end of the day, marketers need to meet that expectation. With Experian’s activation partners program, brands can address numerous business challenges, including finding new customers, building audience segments and launching campaigns across all marketing channels – not just social media. Data can be a powerful tool and when used responsibly, it can help brands make the right marketing decisions and better connect with people.”

Increased focus on third-party data management through social media channels was thrust into the spotlight last week, following Facebook’s announcement that is was discontinuing its Partner Services program as of Oct. 1. The move will place more responsibility on marketers to vet their third-party data partners, and “bring their own data” to the table when working with Facebook’s Custom Audiences platform.

Data providers and DSPs could have a unique advantage in this case, by providing marketers with the information they need to fill in the gaps. Experian has already made a competitive move with their Digital Audience Activation platform, and Experian Custom Audiences.

According to a blog post on the Experian website:

“Experian’s Custom Audiences will allow you to reach the same target segments that you have in the past, and can potentially help you reach even more in the future. The digital advertising world without Facebook Partner Categories will definitely be different, but we want you to know that throughout the transition, Experian is here to help.”

With the addition of a partner program, with vendors offering dedicated social media advertising capabilities, Experian could be poised to provide a more competitive multi-channel data aggregation for social media campaigns.

“It’s about leveraging data points from various channels, including mobile, social, television, etc. to fully understand the target audience,” Workman said. “And once the target audience has been defined, campaign execution becomes vital. How does a brand communicate with a customer? What channels are most appropriate? But, there’s also a third component to that equation. Measurement. Marketers need to analyze campaign performance, so they can optimize content for future communications.”

In the Monday release, Experian said they intend to expand the program, but how the program will expand was not immediately clear. 

“As the program continues to grow, marketers can expect to deliver more relevant content to the right individuals through the most appropriate marketing channels,”  Workman said.

Targeting has remained a focus for Experian, even through shifts in company-wide strategy. In 2017, Experian sold 75 percent of its email/cross-channel marketing business to Vector Capital. The assets were rebranded under the Cheetah Digital name, with Experian still retaining a 25 percent stake in the business. Kevin Dean, president and GM of Targeting at Experian, told DMN at the time the divestment was part of a larger effort for the company to focus more on the data services side of their business.

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