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Telefonica’s Weve strikes audience data deal with Axonix to push programmatic trading

O2-owned Weve has kicked off its Mobile World Congress activity by announcing a tie-up with Axonix that will gives advertisers further insight to its 31 million-strong audience base, and better enable programmatic trading.

The deal is geared towards helping advertisers trade display advertising more effectively using Weve’s audience data, with agencies, trading desks and brands the ideal target market, according to the outfit.

Weve’s partnership with Axonix, which essentially means advertisers can load theWeve audience insights into Axonix’s platform, then use it to bid on display advertising inventory using the ad tech partners of their choice, is the first significant product development since Weve was taken 100 per cent into O2’s ownership.

Advertisers can choose from 50 standard audience segments, although bespoke packages are also available as per a client’s brief, with the insights generated from both the operator’s Wi-fi and cellular networks.

For instance, typical data provided would be something like: ‘18-24 year old smartphone customer living in the metropolitan area’, which is then used to identify the relevant audience segment.

O2-owner Telefonica is also eager to stress the efforts it has taken to maintain its audience’s privacy, with Robert Franks, Telefonica’s managing director of digital commerce, emphasising to The Drum the open nature of the platform.

He said: “The reason this partnership is really important is that Weve has access to unique, authenticated customer data on up to 31 million customers whom we have permission to advertise to.

“This lets us enable agencies, trading desks and clients to benefit from our access to those insights. The deal also gives advertisers the flexibility to execute campaigns through their preferred demand and supply-side partners, while at the same time we maintain full control and benefits of those insights, without compromising any privacy.”

Elaborating on the measures Weve has taken to maintain its users’ privacy, Franks also explained that audiences can be targeted using a “non—persistent identifier”, which essentially means that all means of identifying the audiences are deleted after a campaign.

Currently there are live beta tests with brands and agencies, although Franks was not in a position to discuss exact details of these campaigns globally, although he did add that those currently participating represented “blue chip brands”. He added: “The initial results we have are very positive.”

Telefonica Group is the main investor into Axonix, a specialist mobile ad exchange that rose from the ashes of Velti last year, and the pairing represents the scale of the ambition behind the pan European’s eagerness to take a significant slice of the ever growing programmatic trading market.

Although there is a relationship between Axonix and Weve – via way of Telefonica’s stake in both – Franks was at pains to point out how the two are independent of one another, and the partnership was agreed after an open RFP process.

Daniel Rosen, Telefonica’s global director of advertising, told The Drum: “At Telefonica we are using our authenticated first party customer data to power the programmatic digital advertising market to help brands target audience segments.

“Few other data sources can match our data insights as they are built on the first party relationships we have with our customers, to build accurate audience cluster groups that enhance targeting and increase the context and relevancy to the audience.”

Further elaborating on the growing influence of mobile operators in the digital advertising sector, he added: “The penny is now starting to drop with major advertisers that carriers have a unique ability to make their digital advertising more effective. Third, this excitement is starting to make brands more eager to embrace new operator-centric advertising products, such as sponsored data.

“The acquisition of Axonix not only allows us to now offer data-enriched mobile inventory to our advertising clients, but also provides us with a trusted partner to protect our customers’ data in the advertising ecosystem. Additionally, mobile ad inventory is a great complement to our existing offering of SMS marketing, a very effective advertising tool in developing markets, the majority of Telefonica’s footprint.”

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Ronan Shields

I cover digital media trading and martech for The Drum magazine, plus I write my own opinion pieces, I don't really commission them.

All by Ronan