Bloomberg Media has created its own ad platform named Bloomberg Iris, joining a list of publishers including Mediacorp, South China Morning Post and The Washington Post that have unveiled their own first-party solutions. Available globally, Bloomberg Iris is currently working with various clients, although Bloomberg did not specify who they are. Julia Beizer, global head of digital for Bloomberg Media, told MARKETING-INTERACTIVE that its investment in Iris has already helped the company grow its subscriber base and serve advertisers with first-party data and contextual solutions.
"We are seeing an uptick in performance in click-through rates and attention. But the true value of Iris is intangible. It helps Bloomberg Media better understand our audience, and develop deeper connections with them which helps all aspects of our business grow, including our subscriptions and advertising businesses," Beizer said. While she declined to comment on the monetary investment for Iris, Beizer said data has always been central to Bloomberg's strategy and a priority area of investment.
Work for Iris began three years ago after its subscription-only business launched. According to Beizer, it began collecting first-party data with consent from users based on value exchange and running it against machine learning algorithms to help grow and retain its subscribers.
Iris groups information from signed-in subscribers into four broad categories: behavioural, contextual, personal, and research data. It then processes the information to build deep insights of its audiences, something it currently nicknames "contextual plus". Iris creates segments that can be made available to all of Bloomberg Media’s direct or programmatic guarantee clients through the way they traffic and set up their campaigns.
According to Beizer, some early uses of the data have included audience insights that were used in various engagements with brands and advertisers. The data contained insights about where audiences might be physically located, what content, topics and themes they repeatedly interact with or consume and what interests they might have offline. The information can also be used to create customised, tailored products for subscriptions and advertising, for instance, being able to place the right ads in front of the right people, pull insights that can help shape the strategy and direction of creative, or time a subscription prompt to a user. Beizer stressed that Iris does not use any information from its base of Bloomberg Terminal subscribers and is only for digital users of Bloomberg.com.
The shift towards first-party data comes the industry is witnessing a deprecation of third-party cookies. Last month, Google said it will not build alternate identifiers to track individuals as they browse across the web once third-party cookies are phased out. This was in a bid to keep the Internet "open and accessible for everyone" and doing so requires Google to put in more effort to protect privacy, the company said. Just yesterday, Apple rolled out a privacy update included in iOS 14.5 following a seven-month delay. The privacy update requires apps to ask and receive consent from iPhone users before tracking them via the identity for advertisers and users can change permission preferences in their settings.
In light of this, The Washington Post, for example, developed Zeus Insights in 2019 that leverages first-party data and machine learning to give brands and publishers highly customisable capabilities to target specific audiences on its site. Meanwhile, Mediacorp launched its own universal ad ID approximately three years ago and its VP of digital sales, Jennifer Chase, said in a previous panel discussion that having plenty of first-party data allowed it to move from a cookie-based to a people-based solution. At the same time, South China Morning Post also removed all inventory from the open marketplace in Hong Kong, Singapore, Malaysia, Vietnam and the Philippines in January this year, connecting its first-party data and persistent user IDs to programmatic deals.
Separately, Bloomberg Media named Sunita Rajan as MD, APAC media sales and marketing to lead its regional sales and marketing organisations driving cross-platform initiatives, as well as leading the expansion of Bloomberg Media’s strategic marketing services offerings. She is also responsible for ad revenues and client marketing across Bloomberg Media’s global platforms including all Bloomberg Media's digital products, Bloomberg Television, Bloomberg TV+, Bloomberg Radio, Bloomberg LIVE events, print products such as Bloomberg Green and Bloomberg Businessweek.
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