UPDATED 05:12 EDT / MAY 15 2014

Acxiom gets into Big Data ‘onboarding’ = cue more targeted ads

origin_7775805386Internet users are about to see even more targeted ads that seem to know all about the products and services they might be interested in.

That’s because Big Data services giant Acxion has just snapped up LiveRamp for a cool $310 million. LiveRamp, for those who don’t know, connects the dots between customer data from around 100 marketing applications, including BlueKai, Marin Software and Rocket Fuel. The process is known as “data onboarding”, and lets marketers match data from various transactions and online serches so they know what kinds of ads to target at people. LiveRamp reckons it’s pretty good at this too, pointing to a 143 percent revenue increase last year, though it doesn’t give any exact figures.

Even so, those figures obviously impressed Acxiom, which happens to be something of a Big Data pioneer. Acxiom specializes in gathering up diverse company data and transforming that into dollars for its customers, which include the likes of United Airlines, Epson and Hearst.

LiveRamp will give Acxiom a shed load of offline data that it can use for its marketing efforts. Such data can be considered even more valuable than online data, as it’s derived from real interactions with the company, and not just random Internet searches that may or may not be applicable to a consumer’s interests.

Acxiom isn’t the first company to go about trying to integrate online and offline data. The world’s biggest advertising company, Google, acquired an online ‘ad attribution’ company called Adometry earlier this month, while AOL bought a similar firm called Covertro for $100 million. And Acxiom is already in the business of helping customers like Facebook and Google determine how much their online ads contribute to in-store purchases.

However, AdExchanger points out that Acxiom could have some problems – many of LiveRamp’s customers also happen to be its competitors, and so it speculates that more than a few of these clients may decide to jump ship.

Of course, the deal could lead to further concerns about how Big Data is being used against people. While both Acxiom and LiveRamp insist they do everything possible to ensure that people’s data remains anonymous, people are still going to find it somewhat creepy when they start seeing ads that clearly indicate that someone, somewhere, knows all about the things they’re interested in buying.

photo credit: watchingfrogsboil via photopin cc

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