The UK based affiliate marketing network Skimlinks has just announced the launch of a new ‘data provider’ service to affiliates promoting products through them. The interesting thing about this new service is that they are using their own publishers to help collect the data, which is then aggregated and distributed back out for use in advertising and other efforts.
The service is being called, “Audiences by Skimlinks” and is an advanced programmatic ad targeting service that can be used to improve the results from a variety of types of ad campaigns.
The system collects data from all the publishers who are participating. The data is pooled and made anonymous, then aggregated into useful formats so that it can be used for targeting ads. The revenue generated from this service is then shared with all the publishers who contributed to the system. The revenue share is based on the amount of data each publisher provides.
The Skimlinks network collects information about clicks and conversions from publishers in their network. They say that this includes 1.3 billion unique users from around the world. The data is pulled from about 55,000 publishers and 20,000 merchants.
Last year Skimlinks had about $625 million in e-commerce revenue generated.
The idea to involve publishers in this system was developed based on an effort to break into the big ad data system that is currently dominated by major players like Facebook and Google. Those systems are naturally able to collect massive amounts of data because of the huge number of users they get. This had effectively eliminated the ability for other companies to compete at a similar level.
With this concept from Skimlinks, however, thousands of publishers can contribute their unique data to the co-op, which will then compile it so that the total amount of data can rival the big players. While they are certainly not there yet, this is far more than just a proof of concept. As the total number of publishers and merchants sign on, the amount of data will continue to grow.
This is not just a co-op of small publishers either. Skimlinks reports that they have large, high quality publishers on board including Time Inc, Huffington Post, Gawker Media and many others. Interestingly, however, it will likely be the fact that they are able to draw data from publishers and merchants of all sizes that will make this system the most powerful. While big name publishers get the largest volume of data, the smaller sites can contribute unique data as well. Most people visit a variety of types of sites both big and small, so this collection format will produce a more accurate picture of what users are actually doing.
While this system is still very early in its efforts, the results are looking very positive. If it continues to grow like this in the coming weeks and months it is very possible that the Audiances by Skimlinks platform will be a major player in the industry.