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IDG's TechSignals looks to tap Big Data for advertisers

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IDG launched its TechNetwork (IDGTN) four years ago, creating a vertical ad network that allowed marketers to cost effectively reach carefully vetted technology sites and blogs beyond IDG's owned and operated properties. Early last year, IDGTN took another innovative step by embracing the real-time-bidding trend with the rollout of its Tech Media Exchange. With the debut of Tech-Signals in late September, IDGTN is again innovating by using cutting-edge Big Data technologies to offer display advertisers enhanced targeting capabilities coupled with a wide reach across a technology-focused network of 500 direct network sites, 2,000 affiliate sites and additional sites in the exchange. “We're bringing site-level targeting to a network-scale audience,” said Pete Longo, CEO of IDGTN. “We are using the depth of knowledge about audiences and technology that comes from IDG and overlaying that on all the inventory that's available to us. The impressions we have at our disposal are in multiple billions.” TechSignals employs a sophisticated data management platform to sort through an enormous amount of first-party data—generated by 110 million monthly unique visitors and billions of ad impressions on IDG's direct and affiliate networks and its ad exchange—and third-party data from a variety of sources to create multidimensional user profiles. These profiles allow TechSignals to predict buying intent not only in terms of products in which the user is likely to be interested but also of characteristics that may further qualify buyers, such as demographics, geographic location and terms recently used in search engines. TechSignals is powered by a proprietary taxonomy developed by IDG that can identify more than 25,000 data segments. The taxonomy is derived from the research and measurement of global technology spending conducted by IDG's IDC division, IDG's proprietary research on technology purchasing patterns, and semantic analysis from the IDG News Service Global Editorial Taxonomy. “By partnering with IDC, we now have access to the most granular IT taxonomies for all of the most relevant IT categories in the industry,” Longo said. “What that means is that TechSignals can build audiences with a level of granularity unlike anyone else,” he added. “Every impression is identified with a user, and we know a lot about that user. So the system has very specific information to make better decisions about how to target that user.” IDGTN hopes to reverse the general trend in online display advertising prices with TechSignals. “Advertisers pay more for the data-targeted impressions because they're seeing higher click-through rates,” Longo said. “Also, when advertisers are looking for a very specific, hard-to-find audience, they're willing to pay a premium.” Another benefit to advertisers is that the data-enhanced inventory can be purchased in two ways. “The inventory sources—our networks and our exchange—are available for direct purchase or through bidding in our RTB [real-time bidding] advertising exchange,” he said. The technology behind TechSignals, called IDG Data Solutions, is a shared resource inside IDG Communications. The same platform powers IDG Enterprise's Premium Data Services, which debuted in June. TechSignals is being sold only by IDGTN salespeople and Premium Data Services only by the IDG Enterprise team.
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