by Johann Kwan with research by Lily Wang and Rex Yeung
Oracle, one of the world’s biggest multinational technology companies, has been buying data broker companies and consolidating their services under the Oracle Data Cloud. In 2014, Oracle acquired data broker firms Bluekai and Datalogix (now Oracle DLX) and incorporated their activities and technologies into the Oracle Data Cloud. In 2016, Oracle acquired AddThis, a company that specialized in social bookmarking and analytics.
Oracle has supplemented these data broker capabilities in the last few years by adding capacity beyond consumer targeting, branching into advertising analytics and brand protection by acquiring Moat in 2017 and Grapeshot in 2018. While these activities are not of immediate interest in this blogpost, these expanded capabilities are noteworthy as they indicate a trend uniting targeted marketing and advertising capabilities.
Bluekai and Datalogix provided complimentary data broker services, now integrated into one platform, for advertisers to target specific audiences. Oracle DLX connects offline behaviours and data, often from loyalty card programs, with online behaviours for the purposes of facilitating targeted advertising. Those online behaviours, in turn, are generated by cookies left on the consumer’s machine (using Bluekai’s technologies) from partner sites. Oracle Data Cloud tracks consumers’ interests across these on and offline activities and presents them to advertisers through their BlueKai Data Management Platform (DMP), which allows advertisers to combine their first and third party audience data and create target audiences, identify specific targetable attributes of their audiences, and provides data and performance metrics on their campaigns all in one interface.
Where are they getting their information and what information do they have?
The kinds of things they can track
Oracle Data Cloud then subjects that information to various forms and analysis and in sorts consumers into different “Audiences”. Interested in targeting only people in the market for a Volvo SUV? With a kid 4-5 years old? And is a motorcycle owner? There’s an audience list for that.
Or maybe you’re a business looking specifically for people with a certain lifestyle. Maybe you’re looking for what Oracle’s literature terms “spa mavens,” that is, women of an age between 33-55, with a certain household income, and an interest in “cosmeceuticals, skin care, luxury linens, spa retreats, beauty products.” There’s a an audience list for that too.
Or maybe you’re an American political party and you want to target your advertising only at people in certain congressional districts, with conservative views, but aren’t registered Republicans. There’s a list for that as well.
What are they doing in Canada?
Oracle is one of the world’s largest tech companies and has Canadian field offices in Mississauga, Calgary, Dartmouth, Edmonton, Markham, Montreal, Ottawa, Toronto, Quebec City, Vancouver, and Waterloo. They are the second most popular DMP in use on Canadian websites, behind LiveRamp, with a 20.33% market share.
Oracle offers an opt-out tool on their website to opt out of the Oracle Data Cloud. The Oracle Data Cloud is also part of the Digital Advertising Alliance (DAA) and is a party to their opt-out tool, which has to be accessed and run on every browser and device used by the consumer. There is also an app distributed by the DAA that allows consumers to opt out of their targeted ads in mobile applications on Android and iOS devices.
Oracle’s integration of many marketing tools into the Oracle Data Cloud is one of a few trends in how data brokers and advertising companies are organizing in the last ten years. The Adobe Experience Cloud and Salesforce both follow the same recipe, though Salesforce has not integrated programmatic advertising into their offerings.
While Oracle’s opt-out tools suggests that Oracle acknowledges the privacy implications of their technologies, these tools are cumbersome and only benefit those consumers who know of their existence. In a 2016 survey conducted by the Digital Advertising Alliance of Canada, only 38 percent of 1000 Canadians interviewed recognized the AdChoices logo, which means the majority of Canadians were still not aware of the program nor aware of their ability to opt out of targeted advertising.