Q&A: ExoClick's Benjamin Fonzé Talks Big Data

Rhett Pardon

ExoClick is the first ad network to offer adult advertisers and publishers “big data” statistics and deep analysis tools.

We caught up with the company’s founder and CEO Benjamin Fonzé to find out more about big data and how it will lead to a greater standard of transparency in the digital ad industry.

Big data is also changing the landscape of enterprise culture, instead of people making decisions using hunches based on guesswork, now they can base decisions on facts; data is giving companies a new competitive weapon to use to their advantage.

XBIZ: What is big data?

FONZÉ: Big data is a log of every single click a person makes on an Internet-connected device: desktop, mobile, tablet, smart watch, gaming console, smart TV, etc.

This means a huge amount of data is being created every second. All of this rich, transactional data is generally discarded or as research company Nielsen states, companies are not interested in their raw data, they want to know only what it means. So many tech companies, like ExoClick, are re purposing this data and converting it into knowledge.

But of course you can’t learn anything from just the raw data, the data needs to have filtering tools so that it can be mined and then exploited for useful purposes. From a commercial perspective clients can use ExoClick’s big data for more targeted marketing, market research, seeing changing market trends, product testing and ultimately sales generation and upselling. Publishers can evaluate which are the best performing ad slots on their websites, where their traffic sources are coming from, etc.

So big data is a mix of different ingredients, but it is the method of cooking the data that creates a ‘delicious’ recipe for monetization.

XBIZ: How is big data changing how sales and marketing executives think?

FONZÉ: Well it is actually changing how sales and marketing actually function because the statistics give you real-time knowledge. Before big data came along companies generally complied monthly, weekly and daily statistics on their sales figures, now because the data can be viewed in real time, (ExoClick’s data is refreshed every 60 seconds) you can jump right in it and see marketing and sales campaign successes and failures and react immediately. You can make instant changes to a strategy instead of evaluating it some hours, days or weeks later which makes it a much more exciting and dynamic environment to work in. You can also spot certain trends, for example, perhaps the peak online shopping time in Tokyo is 9 p.m. but in Canada it’s at 6 p.m., so you can adjust your campaigns accordingly to maximize their impact in those GEOs.

Big data is also changing the landscape of enterprise culture, instead of people making decisions using hunches based on guesswork, now they can base decisions on facts; data is giving companies a new competitive weapon to use to their advantage. A recent survey by the Economist Intelligence Unit showed that 60 percent of CEOs across the globe now use data analysis to govern their decision making process.

Similarly, according to McKinsey & Co., 72 percent of chief executives say marketers are rarely able to explain how much business the money they spend will generate. So it also helps CMOs justify their marketing budget spends because they can prove which campaigns have been effective and apportion budgets to those channels that guarantee conversions.

On a deeper level, data allows you to understanding your customers in a way like never possible before, so you can engage with them in a relevant, timely, personalized manner. In doing so, you will be able to retarget customers with the products and services they want, know when it is the right time to offer it to them and on what device you can bill them for it. This knowledge comes from knowing how to use your data analysis tools and what those tools are telling you.

XBIZ: Is big data implementation expensive?

FONZÉ: It requires hardware and developer investment, and not everyone can afford to do this. We have heavily invested in this technology and can offer these statistics and the deep analysis tools as a free additional service to our clients. To us the investment is totally worth it because we want to show how totally transparent our ad network is, advertisers can see where every dollar they have spent has gone and what the results of their investment have been. Publishers can see exactly how our traffic is performing on their sites. Transparency is trust, one of the most important brand values one can hope to attain.

XBIZ: How else have you used this technology?

FONZÉ: We have just hard launched an Android app which allows clients to access their admin panel from their smartphones and tablets and have access to the same data analysis tools. The app enables them to pause and start campaigns based on the stats they are seeing, they can check their earnings, view payments and much more. So basically an ExoClick advertiser can be out on a Saturday night on the dance floor at a club and still be in total control of his campaigns. All the data he was processing in his mind on Friday suddenly gives him that magical hunch and he can whip out his phone and make the necessary campaign changes knowing that his hunch is based on fact!