LiveRamp, a division of database marketing giant Acxiom, is today launching a new service that connects an identified customer’s offline and online actions to help measure the effectiveness of marketing campaigns.
Called Customer Link, it offers what LiveRamp president and cofounder Travis May told me is “an extension” of what LiveRamp had previously been doing — “onboarding” or making available a brand’s first-party offline and online customer data. This brings data from many sources — including info from challenging sources like call centers — to marketing tools and advertising platforms.
First-party data is a brand’s information about its own customers, obtained when they take actions like registering on the brand’s website or signing up for its email list.
Through Customer Link, LiveRamp can now put together the various, self-identified touchpoints customers have with a brand, whether online or in a store. Acxiom itself is known for its massive database on hundreds of consumers worldwide, with a special advantage in offline data.
For instance, say you log into a clothing retailer’s website so you can store your preferences and get notices about sales. You might also log into the brand’s mobile app, use a loyalty card at the retailer’s store, or provide an email address when you buy something at the mall.
LiveRamp’s new connectivity service links together those interactions to define customers for platforms that provide data management, digital advertising, marketing tools, and attribution, such as Adobe, comScore, Ensighten, Integral Ad Science, Nielsen, V12, or Videology. LiveRamp sees itself as a data provider, not a utilizer. The customer data, provided by the brand, is entirely from log-ins or other self-identification, so the linking accuracy should be high.
Key uses of this data include determining whether a sales bump — online or offline — was due to a specific campaign, deciding if a campaign worked better in some channels than others, and helping to segment users for targeted marketing based on their purchase or visitation patterns.
Why wouldn’t the brand just integrate that data themselves? May pointed out that LiveRamp’s integration with various marketing and ad tools, and its ability to collect data on a brand’s customers across a number of sources, makes it a valuable neutral source.
It also has authentication with other publishers in its network, so it can tell when an anonymous customer of a clothing retailer visits, say, a site that sells outdoor gear. If that individual signs into another site before arriving as an unlogged visitor on the clothing retailer’s site, LiveRamp knows it’s the same user. Hence, in keeping with privacy practices, is the need for anonymity.
But this is linked data, not a profile, so Adobe or other platforms can add value by merging the Customer Link data with other info to define a more complete view.
Virtually every customer data or marketing company these days pitches its ability to provide a “360-degree view of the customer.” May said LiveRamp is creating its own version of that “aspirational vision,” because of its ability to link dozens, or even hundreds, of touchpoints of first-party customer data with a high degree of accuracy, at scale.