Merkle rolls out PII-based data platform to power Dentsu Aegis Network

Originally published on AdExchanger


Dentsu Aegis Network said Thursday that its media agency brands in the US will use Merkle’s PII-based M1 platform for centralized data planning and activation.

Dentsu’s media agencies have been piloting M1 for a few months, and it’s now officially being deployed as a self-service tool at Carat, iProspect and 360i, as well as at centralized programmatic unit Amnet.

“For all programmatic buys where we have a known audience, we are striving to activate against M1 data,” said Doug Ray, president of product and innovation at Dentsu Aegis Network.

M1 lets Dentsu’s media agencies do people-based marketing popularized by Facebook. It uses 280 million consumer IDs based on PII and Merkle’s database expertise to power planning, buying, activation and measurement.

M1 President John Lee is responsible for the deployment and development of the platform across Dentsu. Lee said he and the M1 Support Services team he oversees will ensure that “every employee in the network that is involved in planning and activating media is logged into the platform every day as a self-service.”

It’s not mandatory, however, for Dentsu agencies to use M1.

M1 is already integrated with ATS, the direct-to-client programmatic platform that came from Dentsu’s acquisition of Accordant Media in August. It can also integrate with demand-side platforms, perform matches against publisher audiences and trade hashed IDs with walled gardens.

Merkle plans to roll out M1 to the UK in Q4 of this year.

Using PII for media activation is a sensitive area, but M1 keeps PII data-compliant by anonymizing consumer IDs before activating them for media buys, Lee said.

Basing a media buy in PII will help Dentsu agencies frequency cap their campaigns, Lee said. Clients using the platform see 20% lift in return on ad spend and a 25% improvement in unique audience reach on average, he said.

Ray sees opportunities for creative agencies to access M1. Creatives, for example, can use data from M1 to inform big campaign ideas as well as to develop personalized messages for audience subsegments, he said.

“The capabilities we have with M1 data provide massive opportunities to the creative agencies,” he said. “On a client like Diageo, for example, we can provide insights back [from M1] to an agency like MKTG, which handles their event marketing, about audiences at the location-based level.”

As M1 rolls out across Dentsu’s media agencies, more than 100 engineers, led by Lee, will work on expanding its capabilities to make traditional media like linear TV and out-of-home more addressable.

“The first thing is ensuring that any addressable or audience targeting campaigns today are leveraging M1,” Ray said. “Where we’re going as a network is doubling down on our people-based approach to marketing.”

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