Zeotap is a data company that enables its clients to achieve better results through precision at scale and intelligent technology. Founded in Berlin in September 2014 and now has offices in New York, London, Madrid, Milan, Bengaluru and Mumbai and counts all major media agencies and many global brands as its clients.
However, it wouldn’t be easy for its founders to take the Zeotap, where it is now. After undergoing a lot of curves and mustered loads of experience in its portfolio, recently we got a chance to know more about the company, its journey, ideas, market position and industry trends by Mr Projjol, himself, he is a co-founder and chief procurement officer (CPO) at Zeotap.
Projjol is an experienced product and technology executive, serial entrepreneur, keynote speaker and panel moderator. At Zeotap, Projjol is responsible for the company’s global cross-operator platform through which telecom operators’ data is made safely available to the advertising ecosystem. The platform initiates a new era of mobile targeting and was built entirely based on the principles of the privacy-by-design philosophy.
Before Zeotap Projjol was Chief Product Officer at moboqo and VP Marketing & BD at Fyber both of which were acquired by Applovin and RNTS Media ($190 million) respectively. Projjol holds an MBA from Oxford’s Saïd Business School, an MS in Informatics (HCI) from Indiana University and a BA in Computer Science (summa cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa) from DePauw University.
First of all, how did you start Zeotap and what you had envisaged before laying its foundation?
The story of Zeotap is inspired by John D. Rockefeller and how he refined crude oil to make it available for the mass market. In the same way, Zeotap sees themselves as data refiners – making data as useful as it can be for an array of activities, from better marketing to feeding propensity models.
Zeotap was founded in September 2014, in Berlin. Zeotap was founded with the idea of democratizing high-quality mobile data that was previously unavailable, to the mobile advertising ecosystem. Zeotap’s identity and data platform are comprised of socio-demographic, interest data, raw app data usage, and purchase data coming from 3 of the 5 operators in India and other large enterprises. Since inception one of Zeotap’s clear focus has been to solve the issue of lack of data quality at scale for advertisers. Zeotap secured its first $1.3 million round of funding from HitFox Group and several angel investors. After 3 years of its initial success, Zeotap received its second round of Series B funding of €12 million in early 2017 to further accelerate growth in the areas of technology and markets like Europe, Asia, and North America, with a focus on India.
Zeotap was founded by two industry veterans Daniel Heer (CEO & Founder) and Projjol Banerjea (CPO & Founder). Today, Berlin is the global HQ for the brand, with data engineering happening at our Technology HQ, Bengaluru and it works with mobile network operators (MNOs) to create additional revenue streams for their vast amounts of user data.
How does zeotap’s technology, zeoCore, help brands make sense of their 1st party data and essentially work?
Firstly, zeoCore ingests data from third party sources, like telecom operators and more, the data is then tested against our internal quality audit benchmark – data not meeting our standard is not ingested, lastly only the high-quality data is ingested into our technology. On the other hand, a brand wishing to use our data integrates with our platform and essentially connects its CRM to our database. This allows us to do a number of things, we can then match their data to our online identifiers for better customer insight, enrich their data with further attributes that were previously lacking to build 360-degree customer profile views, and or activate these profiles across the device spectrum.
What is the key vision of Zeotap for the Indian market?
Zeotap’s strategy is to be the go-to place for brands who seek to make better use of their first-party data to better understand and therefore cater to their customers and prospects. Today Zeotap works with over 50 of the world’s top 100 global advertising brands and has partnered with data owners like telecom operators to share their vast data assets on its technology platform zeoCore which has privacy and security at its heart.
Zeotap is not alone in the market, of course, it should not be. So, what makes your company distinct from others?
Zeotap is not alone in the market, agreed! But, Zeotap gives out the best deterministic data among different third-party data organizations through their inhouse technology platform, ZeoCore.
ZeoCore, the intelligent data refinery platform has been ISO and CSA silver band certified. It is recognized by CIO Review as one of the Top 20 analytics platforms globally. zeoCore the in-house technology platform is helping Zeotap differentiate from other data providers and thus, this technology-driven data refinery platform uses methodologies including the application of data science to build high-performing data segments from the ground up with the highest quality. In order for Zeotap to maintain the granular-quality at scale, the company has implemented internal data quality audits conducted and automated by zeoCore. From the large pool of data partners that want to work with Zeotap, only those whose data score at a 70% precision or higher get to be ingested into zeoCore.
What do you think, are the most important or revolutionary innovations influenced by the Zeotap to enhance user and marketer’s experiences?
Zeotap offers three unique products to the advertising ecosystem that are powered by its in-house technology-driven platform:
Connect: Connect allows a brand to Digitize its customer relationship management tool (CRM) for a unified customer view. This entails merging offline and online data worlds, namely emails and phone numbers from CRMs to digital IDs. Allowing brands to successfully do suppression and identity customers across the domain spectrum.
Insights: Zeotap Insights enables brands to unlock the full power of their first-party data by combining it with high-quality third-party data so that customer trigger points are understood made addressable. The addition of Zeotap data to first-party data in the CRM/DMP helps to build 360-degree customer profiles. These profiles inform budget allocation and enhance predictive models and analytics.
Activation: finally Zeotap activation allows brands to increase ROI through based on customer insight. Added insights allow brands to conduct better prospecting and suppression based on their own data, reach current customers that want to be up/cross-sold, get in front of customers with a high likelihood to churn.
What kind of organization are relevant for you and to consume your data? And how different companies use your data to escalate their growth?
I think it is most relevant here to speak industry-specific. Take for example banking/insurance, FMCG and auto. In banking, a huge concern is customer-churn which sits at an annual rate of about 25%, in FMCG 40% of sales will be digitally driven by 2020 (6 weeks away), and in auto 86% of car shoppers do online research before going to a brick and mortar store to make the final purchase. In all these instances, brands lack the necessary data points to gain insight into customer behaviour, whether it is a lack of loyalty that predicts potential churn or a lack of customer journey mapping across the offline and online worlds. Brands wishing to truly make sense of their customers need more data to build full identities that can be understood and used in a smart way. Once you have these identities or 360 customer profiles, mapped, you can use this insight to inform your marketing decisions. Any company wishing to increase retention and acquisition and reduce churn by digital means is a potential customer.
What are the untapped areas or segments in the market which you think should start utilizing the benefits of data analyzing firms like Zeotap?
Firstly, untapped segments and untapped data and identity areas pose two different scenarios. For segments, it’s important to look at consumer trends and behaviours, for example, last month was Diwali – some top segments used for reaching customers online were consumer electronics and home renovation . For untapped areas, we are focusing on feeding propensity models with high-quality data to improve analytics and for instance, reduce churn. I think banking/insurance, FMCG, and the auto industries are in a good position to use our solutions, however, other industries can also see huge benefits and should not defer from data and identity solutions, but rather aim to use them and gain a competitive edge.
How artificial intelligence, which is great data generation and consumption source, helping digital advertisements and data analyzing industries? Is Zeotap also using AI or ML tech in its products?
We are betting on automation and artificial intelligence, and that’s precisely what we’re implementing in our proprietary tech platform zeoCoreTM. We started with automation in the fields of data quality, and we’ve gotten quite far.
As of today, zeoCore automatically tests the quality of fresh new data and only ingests it into our platform if it meets a rigid quality threshold. We’ve also built an automatic advanced data scoring and merging engine that ensures that the quality and precision of the data remain, even if volume increases.
For our clients, we’ve built sophisticated segmentation and lookalike models, to better classify and extend their data sets, and have recently commenced work on advanced propensity assessment solutions that will be launched next year.
How can data owners choose the best partners to monetize their data with, and how can they trust that partner?
There are new laws today like General Data Protection Act (GDPR) and the proposed California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) that give guidelines on data protection and privacy. It is imperative for companies wishing to monetize data to fully see that their partner is 100% compliant.
For example, at Zeotap, we have taken stringent measures to ensure data privacy and security compliance that have been recognized. To name a few, we count over 8 certifications including ISO 27001, CSA Star and GDPR Seal that ensure total end-to-end compliance and safety in every market.
Last question. Is the Data Platform like Zeotap or any other only useful for big brands or small business in India can also take its advantages? And how in-house data analysis & management is different from external or third party data platforms?
Be it small or big brands, data helps companies make smarter decisions. For marketers, it allows for a micro probability to understand consumer behaviours and patterns and helps direct marketing efforts. This data-driven approach allows for better budget allocation and enhanced personalization – that ultimately makes the customer journey more successful in a number of respective ways, like reducing churn for example. Both big and small businesses that use a customer relationship management tool or data management platform are in a position to use our services.
It has become quite a trend for business to focus on first-party data strategies, this is namely because third-party data has an opaque supply chain whereby quality is not assured. At Zeotap though, we offer data transparency and ensure only deterministic data is used for analysis for the best possible results.