Ad tech company The Trade Desk plans to build a bigger ad targeting data set than Google or Facebook

  • Unnamed 9Trade DeskTrade Desk CEO Jeff Green

    Ad tech company The Trade Desk is planning to build out a data set on web consumers for ad targeting purposes that will be bigger than Google or Facebook’s.

  • The firm has just inked a data licensing deal with a major telecom.
  • Over time, Trade Desk CEO Jeff Green believes that Google and Facebook will be forced to become far more flexible with their ad data.

In the digital ad business, it’s assumed that nobody has more data on consumers than Facebook and Google.

Which is why the so-called duopoly continues to pull in the vast majority of new ad revenue growth, since the more data you have, the better ad targeting you can do.

But the ad tech firm The Trade Desk believes it can out data-the duopoly.

Over the next few years the company wants to piece together a larger and richer set of consumer internet data that can be used for ad targeting than either Facebook or Google.

If it pulls it off, that could put the company in an enviable, powerful position in the ad world.

“Our ID footprint will be larger than any single company login footprint,” Trade Desk CEO Jeff Green said during the company’s investor day in New York on Wednesday. Green is referring to the various ways people log-in to web sites and apps, providing information on their names, locations, interests, relationships — all of which can be used to identify people and target them with relevant ads.

Green noted that while Facebook has 1.3 billion active users, there are over 4 billion web users in the world, a number that continues to grow.

The Trade Desk plan is to ink data deals with numerous Google and Facebook competitors to help provide advertisers with loads of digital ad targeting alternatives.

To that end Green said that the company has recently signed a deal with a major telecom company to licence some of its consumer data for ad targeting. He declined to name the telecom firm.

In addition, the ad tech company has similar deals in the works with a dozen of the largest web publishers, Green said. Presumably, these are sites that encourage people to register and log in in some fashion.

Over time, Green wants to rent log-in data from other social networks, audio streaming services and big dating sites. In the end, he believes he’ll have more info on consumers than either duopoly giant.

To be clear, The Trade Desk doesn’t sell any advertising. Instead, the public company licenses advertisers and agencies ad buying software for a monthly subscription fee, making it a “SAAS” business.

The more unique, proprietary ad data it has, the more advertisers that will chose the Trade Desk’s software over competitors, so the thinking goes.

“If we want to help monetise the Internet better we have to work with the rest of the [industry],” he said.

Green also had several other bold proclamations during his lively, hour-long talk on Wednesday:

  • He predicted that Google and Facebook will soon be pressured to bend on their own data policies. Both companies are often referred to as “walled gardens” — in that they allow advertisers access to robust data sets for ad targeting, but that data is unable to go outside each companies’ walls
  • He said over the next decade, linear TV will become “irrelevant” due to cord-cutting and other macro trends.
  • Yet TV advertising is set to improve dramatically through the adoption of better TV ad tech and data. He’s particularly bullish on the potential impact of the pending AT&T acquisition of Time Warner for targeting ads.

“I think this is a happy ending,” he said.

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