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12 May 2022

Full Throttle scales on coattails of desperate MVPDs

With everyone shouting about the death of the cookie, those with a genuine solution to the problem can find it hard to be heard above the white noise. First-party data miner Full Throttle has an ingenious possible answer with potential for huge scalability in the coming years – by bundling the technology into the Upfronts pitch of leading MVPDs.

 

Publishers like Charter, Comcast and iHeartRadio are flashing a 12-month free subscription to Full Throttle’s SaaS service in return for an annual ad commitment at the Upfronts.

Speaking to Faultline this week, the company’s CPO, Amol Waishampayan, says that despite the fuss over a cookie-less future, advertisers and brands are facing a huge challenge of scarcity when it comes to first-party data. At present, brands are scraping the barrel for email addresses of users that never followed through with a purchase, but Waishampayan claims this is only the tip of the iceberg.

Full Throttle looks to generate unique, cookie-less first-party data for its brand partners, which can then be used across all advertising verticals. This is done without using any of the standardized identifier technologies (e.g. cookies, IDFA), most of which are heading for the chopping block in the near future.

Instead, Full Throttle installs its proprietary, patent-pending software directly onto a brand’s website. Subject to them opting in, this tracks a user’s activity on the website and their location data, which means that this previously untraceable consumer can now be linked to an address for retargeting. Waishampayan says that this offers a ten-fold increase in the amount of household-level, first-party data that a brand has access to.

“It’s not our data. We are just the service provider, allowing marketers to access their own stores of data,” Waishampayan explained.

For the moment, this allows brands to perform “retargeting on steroids” – essentially, chasing up all those potential customers with follow up ads. But as well-loved identifiers begin to die, these proprietary data stores will become essential for all marketing activities.

On the video side of things, Full Throttle can distribute a brand’s collected data to MVPDs via the decentralized media network Blockgraph. In the US, Blockgraph currently spans over two-thirds of all broadband and pay TV homes. Our chat with Blockgraph’s CEO, Jason Manningham, just a few weeks ago, teased that the company is set to add another 19 million pay TV homes in the coming months as it adds more MVPD partners.

This should be a significant leg-up for Full Throttle’s expansion, although Waishampayan cautioned that fully onboarding onto Blockgraph is a lengthy process for MVPDs. Operator engineers have to facilitate an entire new data flow to and from Blockgraph, which means that no transactions will be taking place right away.

Brands can also plug their sales data into Full Throttle’s dashboard via APIs to use the new sets of first-party data to establish whether campaigns led to any conversions.

Waishampayan says that many advertisers are growing weary of huge data marketplaces like LiveRamp, which are increasingly seen as a black box. “Everyone used these because of great brand equity but increasing demands of transparency from TV networks means that advertisers often don’t trust them,” he explained.

Another issue is the fact that LiveRamp does not offer true ownership of the data that fuels its identity graph, which Waishampayan believes could prove problematic in the long run. “We are evangelical about enabling people to own their datasets,” he said.

This trepidation about future-proofing its business means that Full Throttle is thinking outside the box. Waishampayan says that enabling advertisers to safely cross-reference their datasets, without facilitating actual sale of the data, is next on the agenda, although he cautions that this is still at least one year out from coming to market.

This would mean that every brand or advertiser could become a publisher, monetizing datasets not through sale, but through exchange. “The best way to be resilient is not just selling anonymized data – it will still count as a sale,” Waishampayan warns.