Consumer research firm CivicScience is turning the wealth of survey data it collects from millions of respondents across dozens of publisher sites into the backbone of a new ad targeting platform called Rulo.
The company formally launched today as the latest solution to the inevitable demise of third-party cookies and other fast-disappearing device ID and online identifiers. CivicScience respondents consent to collection of their data and its use in ad targeting when they sign on, said Rulo CEO Doug Lauretano, a 20-year media veteran who’s heading the new venture.
CivicScience gathers its survey data – which up to now has been sold as market intelligence to brands – through widgets hosted on digital publisher sites, including Microsoft News, Penske Media, Univision, NBCUniveral, Nexstar Digital and Buzzfeed. Rulo is able to recognize users via first-party cookies from those sites and associate them with the CivicScience profiles and IDs.
CivicScience respondents aren’t compensated. The research firm gets people to participate largely by making the surveys interesting to engage with, including by showing people response data from some of the more interesting questions in their queue.
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The extent of data CivicScience collects can be found via regular reports it puts out on topical issues, including via a weekly email CEO John Dick sends on Saturday mornings to people in the marketing industry, often on issues of current news interest. For example, as controversy over internal Facebook research on Instagram’s negative impact on teen girls unfolded recently, Dick pointed to CivicScience’s years of prior tracking data showing a strong correlation between Instagram use and unhappiness and poor self image among teen girls.
Dick will oversee both companies; Rulo will be a subsidiary of CivicScience.
Those emails, among other things, landed Rulo one of its investors, former Amazon CEO of Worldwide Consumer Jeff Wilke, who participated in a recent $15 million seed funding round.