Digital Innovation New Publishing Tech
4 mins read

Q&A: How SBDS is facing the challenge of DataTech

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Formerly known as SilverBullet Data Services, SBDS are pioneers within the DataTech services sector. Founded in 2016 by data specialists, Simon Theakston and Umberto Torrielli, the company counts publishers like The Economist as a client, as well as brands such as Maserati, Dolce & Gabbana and Michelin amongst others. It has also forged key partnerships with Deloitte, Adobe, and Salesforce.

WNIP caught up with Ben Chivers, Partner – Technology, Media, Telcos, to discuss publishers’ data and how its effective management is only going to grow in importance.

Can you give us some background about SBDS?

SBDS is a data services company that advises businesses on how to activate consumer data through the use of their data management platforms (DMPs) and consumer data platforms (CDPs). Headquartered in the UK, we’ve developed a presence across Europe as well as recently opening offices in Melbourne.

What business problem is your company addressing?

SBDS works with both the supply and demand sides of the advertising value chain. Changing legislation, new technologies and an increased awareness of data usage has meant all companies need to have a defined data management strategy and a structured, well-managed data management platform.

However, more often than not, our clients are overwhelmed with their data sets, having siloed pools of data in several locations throughout the business. This makes it hard to drive insights and realise the potential revenue locked in this data.

Many companies have already identified this problem and invested heavily in data management platforms to help bring these fragmented data sets together, but find they’re not getting the expected results – the expertise needed is not in place.

Focussing on the supply side, many publishers are looking to activate consumer data to respond to the growing dominance posed by the Googles, Facebooks and (in some cases) Netflixs of the world. However, publishers also have the opportunity to drive new revenue streams through targeted advertising or the monetization of data.

How is your core product addressing this problem?

SBDS offers impartial, tech-agnostic advice. We know the pros and cons of all the major data activation platforms in the market to enable us to find the right solution to meet a client’s specific use cases.

No-one wants to hear they’ve made a poor investment, least of all on expensive data tech.  Thankfully, the problem isn’t necessarily the DMPs themselves, but rather the way they’re currently being used.

SBDS is able to independently review the publishers’ needs to help build an integrated strategy from the ground up, even getting our hands dirty with the technical build of platforms when required. This means publishers can finally get their hands on the insights they need to develop a deeper understanding of their audience and, ultimately, a better targeted and relevant advertising offering for brands.

For example, we worked with The Economist to help the publisher integrate
its DMP and CDP, and enabled them to power header bidding campaigns with audience data. In essence, we aligned their pools of data to optimise ad sales revenue, as well as providing the tools to further monetise their ad inventory.

How does your service work?

In the world of software and data, what works for one client might be completely wrong for another. SBDS therefore works on a case-by-case basis to ensure the best results for each client, working alongside in-house teams and systems already in place.

We empower businesses to cut through the complexities surrounding data and technology, providing the tools and expertise to truly realise the potential of their consumer data, through deep unparalleled operational experience. 

This approach and market position means we don’t just help publishers identify areas of technology changes, but we also follow-through properly: building process and identifying the people needed to enable the ongoing management. This is a rarity in the world of DataTech.

What are other people doing in the space and why?

SBDS is uniquely positioned in the services space, working with both demand and supply businesses. Whilst DMP providers are more than happy to give advice at the point of sale, the element of impartiality is often missing. This is how SBDS differs: we are tech agonistic. We’re able to help publishers make informed decisions on their DMPs and CDPs without being tied to any one vendor partner.

SBDS works for marketers on the demand side and publishers on the supply side. We use this experience to bring together the data activation needs of the entire advertising value chain.

How do you view the future?

The effective management of data is only going to get more important. With 91% of advertisers already planning to adopt a DMP by the end of 2019 and 53% of media and publishing business having already done so, awareness of the technology will only continue to rise. However, from an industry standpoint, the focus must be on developing and nurturing global talent and expertise. 

The industry as a whole needs to work with skilled data experts, who can help build and teach the next generation of data scientists. If we do this effectively, publishers and advertisers alike should benefit from the better understanding of their data.

What’s more, this will become increasingly true in a data landscape ruled by GDPR and new legislation, where advertisers must rely on publishers to have complete oversight and control of their data and the permissions that come with it.

Thank you.