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Kochava, a real-time data solutions company for attribution and measurement, has acquired DigiCenter, a provider of identity and cross-device graph data for marketers, publishers, and ad-tech providers. The companies have been collaborating on privacy-first data promotional projects since 2019.

Through the acquisition, the Kochava Collective, the world’s largest independent mobile-first data marketplace, will further bolster its owned data footprint from FreeAppAnalytics with identity data elements from Digicenter. Harnessed with the power of Kochava’s IdentityLink solution for cross-device measurement, built-in consent management, data onboarding, and audience enrichment, this will result in a complete data offering for marketers, publishers, and eco-system providers.

The Kochava Collective is a privacy-first data marketplace with key data points on over nine billion unique devices globally, including the largest hashed email file. With the acquisition of DigiCenter, the Kochava Collective now has more than a billion hashed emails within its substantial device database.

“We’ve been working together as partners for the last year,” said Kochava CEO Charles Manning in an interview with GamesBeat. “We have our measurement side of our platform business, which is our attribution analytics, fraud, mitigation, data syndication. And then we have a data side of our business, which we call the Kochava Collective. And that’s really grown over the last four years since we created it. We use our data from our Free App Analytics product in that system. And we merchandise that and we monetize that data to our enterprise customers.”

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He added, “But once we started doing that, we found that our customers were so interested in that data, they started to ask for other types of data that were high quality, just like what we were doing with react analytics. And we began developing relationships around various different partnerships. And one of them was with Dom and his company, DigiCenter, which was one of the largest domestic hashed email address to mobile device data providers.”

DigiCenter collects hashed email addresses with user consent as an alternative to tracking cookies. Kochava has also focused on consent-based data collection. With user consent,

“This became so strategic that we both agree that it would be a really neat opportunity to bring this together under one roof and really maximize the potential,” Manning said. “So that was really the thesis, and we’re really pleased to be working closely.”

Tracking with consent

Above: DigiCenter and Kochava have a big reach.

Image Credit: Kochava

DigiCenter has to keep data on when it gets opt-ins from users, like what time it came in and the answers users give in a data privacy questionnaire. That data privacy consent has a legally binding audit trail because of its opt-in language.

“We were fortunate enough, when we started the company to see all these things,” Perfetti said. “So starting the company in June 2019, we knew these were issues. We knew this was coming. So in essence, we took the approach of preparing for an opt-in only world. Two years from now, if everything is opt-in, we get to keep our data in a database, because we’ve been collecting opt-ins with audit trails for years, as opposed to having to throw it away, like everybody had to do in Europe.”

Accurate device matching is critical in unraveling the cryptic web of cross-device content consumption and extending digital reach. Kochava bridges the gap by deterministically matching internal hashed email addresses to specific mobile ad IDs (MAIDs) and linking hashed emails to a complete person graph. With these ingredients, marketers and publishers can unlock insights into mobile ad interactions, in-app activity, website visits, and other crucial touchpoints within a comprehensive people-based view.

“We are thrilled to have DigiCenter’s powerful database and team be part of Kochava,” said Manning. “With the changes in the adtech ecosystem, this acquisition adds to the privacy-first and consent-based approach to data that the ecosystem wants.”

The IDFA change

Apple has cracked down on privacy matters by making changes to the Identifier for Advertisers (IDFA) in iOS 14.5. That means mobile game and app companies can no longer track users for the purpose of sending them targeted advertising without the consent of users. Manning feels like that’s great, and that it will help steer companies in the direction of Kochava and DigiCenter, as their focus has been on getting users to opt-in to being tracked. Roughly 45% of users across Kochava’s enterprise customers today are opting in.

“It’s Apple’s platform, and you can’t circumvent the rules,” Manning said. “And big brands, the kind of companies that we serve, care about compliance.”

The Kochava Collective is fed by the company’s free measurement product, Free App Analytics, and select, premium data partners. The Kochava Collective does not include, share, or license any data from enterprise measurement platform customers. Collective data is stored independently from the Marketers Operating System (m/OS), where enterprise customers measure and optimize their campaign activity across devices and channels. The Collective complies with all user data privacy and consent regulations, including those related to the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA), the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in Europe, and Apple’s new AppTrackingTransparency (ATT) framework on iOS 14.5, Manning said.

DigiCenter CEO Domenic Perfetti said in an interview that he has worked with Kochava over the past year to offer combined offerings to clients. Now they will be able to work together more closely.

The DigiCenter footprint will join the Collective. It includes over 320 million unique people in the U.S., 180 million unique households, a billion unique emails, and 200 billion ongoing monthly events to further enhance targeting for connected TV (CTV) and over-the-top (OTT) campaigns. DigiCenter has a privacy-first approach, with upfront notice and consent upon data collection. Data is collected via opt-ins, with audit trails on events collected and profiles created. The DigiCenter team will join Kochava and pursue a shared vision to empower privacy-first, data-centric marketers of the future. Perfetti has been named the new general manager of the Kochava Collective.

Kochava has 160 people, and DigiCenter has four people. But DigiCenter has a significant role in the ecosystem, Manning said.

“My thesis is that tools like ours have to have a consent traceability element,” Manning said. “Because managing from a risk perspective, each one of these platforms, and each one of these jurisdictions, is not for the faint of heart. And that it’s not enough just to abide by the rules, but that large organizations, organizations like our customers, rely and depend on platform technology to actually have a traceable history of consent, not simply a confirmation that they feel like they’re compliant. And I think that’s going to be a trend we’re going to see as an industry across a number of different areas.

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