LiveRamp: Acxiom's $310M Silver Bullet

by Luke Jones  on Monday, May. 26, 2014 12:00 am  

Scott Howe

Finally, LiveRamp ties the CRM data to a user’s browser, so a marketer can then begin an ad siege.

“The digital marketing landscape is still largely wild and untamed,” LiveRamp CEO Auren Hoffman, who will remain with the company in San Francisco, said in a presentation. “Today’s data-driven marketer wants a solution that can seamlessly, accurately and securely get its CRM data into all of its digital platforms, a solution that puts the marketer back into the driver’s seat.”

When LiveRamp launched in 2011, it only matched CRM with customers using computers; in April, it announced support for mobile.

“Mobile marketing is rapidly developing and commanding more marketing spend,” Hoffman said in a release. “LiveRamp’s new data onboarding to mobile product will allow marketers to use their customer database for in-app personalization, targeting, measurement and analytics.”

The benefits of this for Acxiom should be obvious: It can finally get the data it needs for its AOS clients, and targeted ads start to become even more targeted.

Acxiom claimed that, after LiveRamp is integrated, the company will be able to reach 99 percent of the adult U.S. population, with options to expand globally.

But there are some questions about how well this will work: Some of LiveRamp’s clients, like Epsilon, compete with Acxiom. In May, Hoffman and Howe told AdExchanger, an online trade publication, they were not concerned. Hoffman said Acxiom has a “commitment to keeping LiveRamp as a neutral and open system.”

Howe went so far as saying that competition in the data mining industry needs to simmer down. He told analysts in May that “we live in a world where cooperation and connectivity are the new norm. And so as a result our sales force needs to change, and the days of cutthroat competition need to be replaced, and is being replaced, by dedicated sales resources that are solely and maniacally focused on their particular clients and helping their particular clients succeed.”

Even so, investors didn’t seem to greet Acxiom’s announcement with much confidence. When Howe announced the LiveRamp purchase on May 13 — the same day that the company declared a net loss of $29.2 million for its fourth quarter of 2014 — Acxiom’s stock dropped from about $27.50 to just over $21, and it’s not shown much recovery since then.



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