Adobe Expands Ad Platform With New Marketplace For Buying And Selling Data

Adobe is giving customers access to more data with the launch of a new offering, the Audience Marketplace.

The company already offers the similarly named Audience Manager, where customers can bring together audience data to use across Adobe’s marketing products. (It is, in ad tech parlance, a data management platform, or DMP.) But Ali Bohra, director of product marketing for Audience Manager, said that the actual buying and selling of data is still happening outside the Adobe platform — something that’s changing with this new launch.

Before we get into more detail, how about a quick refresher on the different types of data used in advertising: There’s first-party data, which is what a company has collected on their own. There’s third-party data, which is purchased from data providers like Exelate and Acxiom. And then there’s second-party data, which is basically first-party data that a company chooses to share with a partner or partners.

Still with me? Okay, so the Audience Marketplace will include third-party data, just like any other data exchange, but from Bohra’s perspective, it’s the second-party data that represents “the real story,” and it’s an area that Adobe has been focusing on “over the last 12 to 18 months.”

“In what we’re calling the data economy, there’s an expanding view of who can buy data and who can sell data,” he said.

This might seem like a pretty arcane distinction, but Bohra argued that it makes a big difference, because third-party data tends to be a lot less specific, covering things like demographics and geography, compared to data that a company gathers for itself, which can include a user’s online activity, sales data, call center data and more.

For example, an airline with a rewards program could sell data about ticket purchases and destinations to hotels, who could use that information to target and personalize their ad campaigns. Or an online media company could sell data about desirable segments in their audience.

“With third-party data, there’s nothing competitively differentiated — if I’m a brand, there’s nothing stopping a competitor from buying the same data on a third-party marketplace,” Bohra added. While second-party data isn’t exclusive either, it usually involves information that a company doesn’t want to share widely, but might be willing to sell to a few select partners.

Adobe has been talking about this marketplace since March (at least), but now it’s actually going live for Audience Manager customers. Besides the addition of second-party data, Bohra said Adobe’s approach stands out because it’s not selling any data of its own.

“Our philosophy is, we’re agnostic,” he said.

The goal is to eventually expand the marketplace across the entire Adobe Marketing Cloud. Bohra also said it’s designed to ensure that no personally identifiable information gets shared in the process.