Data is the most valuable currency in the 21st century. Data and analytics guru, Bernard Marr said: “While the average small business has less self-generated data than big players. . .this doesn’t mean big data is off-limits. In fact, in many ways, big data is more suited to small businesses, because they’re generally more agile and able to act more quickly on data-driven insights.” But this same currency has faced massive scrutiny in recent years, with regards to how it’s being collected.
Multiply Marketing Consultancy, a subsidiary of Abu Dhabi-listed International Holdings Company (IHC), recently announced the acquisition of a stake in New York-based digital marketing and attention analytics firm Yieldmo. Communicate chats with Samia Bouazza, Managing Director at Multiply, to learn more about the acquisition and the importance of data and how it is being treated in the region.
Could you talk about the importance of data and how it’s treated in the region?
We’ve been talking about big data for a long time now and it has been helpful for marketers, to identify patterns, major trends, and behaviors. It also means having access to demographic and socioeconomic information, which gives you a clearer idea of who you’re talking to. But in recent years, technology has enabled marketers to get access to smaller data points which are termed as microdata. Microdata is information on the individual level such as browsing history, hobbies, engagement with adverts, etc.
It’s a win-win for both consumers and brands. Consumers are exposed to brands that are relevant to their interests and brands are getting higher returns on their ad spend because they’re talking to the right people, especially in times where all brands are competing for the customers’ focus and attention. Technology also allows us to understand what kind of content works with the audience – how individuals are reacting to different adverts.
What drove your interest in acquiring a stake in Yieldmo?
Yieldmo is a great addition to our portfolio as it’s one of the fastest-growing digital marketing companies in North America. The company is heavily focused on developing its technology in mobile advertising and has a lot to offer our clients in terms of; targeted, personalized data that allows them to reach, connect and engage with their audience more effectively.
What does this acquisition mean for the agency and how does it fit within this evolving landscape we’re currently in?
The primary objective was the expansion of our portfolio to continue our growth. We’ve been expanding well organically in the UAE. However, we also see an opportunity to expand inorganically, through selective acquisitions. Here, it’s important to identify high potential industries and areas that we understand well and that can complement our services. By investing in technology, we’re able to scale up our offering and increase our opportunities.
For us, the acquisition of a stake in Yieldmo has two benefits. Firstly, it increases our exposure to leading marketing technology and helps to diversify Multiply’s interests into new markets.
The second is that we have the opportunity to bring Yieldmo’s technology to the region and help complement Multiply’s offerings to clients. This also allows our teams to receive training on how to use the technology to maximize value for our clients, by giving you a deeper understanding of an ad’s context and improves content- to allow for more personalized relationships with their consumers. I believe all brands need to seek and achieve this, especially post-pandemic.
How does Multiply handle data?
Multiply as an agency either invest or acquires companies that are involved in the handling of data. We do not develop tools that collect or store data, ourselves. When it comes to the matter of privacy, we ensure that the companies we’re involved with are operating ethically, and in full compliance with the data and privacy legislation, not just for the markets they are active in, but also the most stringent regimes globally, such as the European Union’s GDPR regulation and in the UAE.
How is Yieldmo approaching the eradication of Google’s third-party cookies and Apples’ IDFA? Are you looking at other technologies?
Like any industry, marketing needs to adapt to changes in the operating landscape. We’re confident that the companies that we invest in, such as Yieldmo, are ahead of the curve in terms of anticipating evolution in the digital marketing arena, and are developing the appropriate solutions for marketers.
What kind of edge does using machine learning provide in our region?
Machine learning will help us to better leverage data, to develop more personalized and experiential marketing. The best way for brands to engage with their customers is to personalize their – message, offering, and content, and machine learning helps in creating a feedback loop, which allows marketers to obtain the necessary information they need to create better content. After all, I believe that the relation between a brand and its consumer is similar to one between two people, it must be engaging, interesting, and be based on trust.
There are a lot of brands that are getting into the area of personalization of products – for example, allowing people to customize colors, materials, and accessories for products.
When it comes to experiential marketing, we’ve seen advancements in AR and VR technology and machine learning plays a big role in making them life-like. Brands are now able to offer an actual experience instead of just talking about it – for example, using animation to show how someone will look wearing a certain pair of glasses or a certain jacket. The additional effort to personalize a product deepens the emotional engagement with the brand.
Both these trends require technology and the use of microdata to help create a great consumer experience.
Is there a rich talent pool in the region to be able to utilize this data effectively?
I believe we do have the talent. I also believe that with the acceleration of remote work adoption post-Covid, we’re able to access talent from anywhere. We work with teams in Europe, Asia, and the Middle East. This has certainly been an additional benefit from our acquisition of a stake in Yieldmo and has enabled a smooth process of knowledge transfer.