“Vi är den tysta hjälten som ser till att geotargeting fungerar”

Kate Owen arbetar för företaget Digital Element som är specialister på att använda geografiska data för att identifiera var en internetanvändare surfar ifrån. Att jobba med så kallad “geolokalisering” kanske inte låter som något häftigt men efter att du läst denna intervju kommer du förstå att möjligheterna med deras metod är enorm.

What is your role at Digital Element?

I oversee our European sales operations. My day is usually a varied mix of conversations with clients and prospects in the Nordic region, Germany, the Netherlands and/or Eastern Europe, plus discussions with my team about their clients in Southern Europe and the UK. I keep in constant touch with our technical team and senior management in the US via instant messaging – we refer to this as our “electronic leash”!.

I also try to keep up with trends and developments in the European market by attending and speaking at conferences, such as the IAB in Sweden or the LBMA (Location Based Marketing Association). Digital Element is a member of both of these organisations.

How many people work in Digital Element?

Around 50 worldwide – 30 of whom are full-time engineers and data analysts. We are headquartered in Atlanta, with our EU headquarters in London, and additional staff in Manchester, Paris and Madrid.

How does Digital Element differentiate its solution on the market?

The two main USPs of our solution are accuracy and coverage.

Our flagship data set – NetAcuity Edge – represents a revolutionary approach to IP targeting and has been available in the European market since 2011. Traditionally, IP targeting has been accomplished by relying on the analysis of internet topology (routing infrastructure); a patented technique that Digital Element pioneered back in the late ‘90s.

This ‘inside out’ approach continuously maps the routing infrastructure of the internet to determine where ISP endpoints (DSLAMs, CMTS, POP Servers) are located, as well as the active IP addresses associated with them. NetAcuity Edge uses an ‘outside in’ approach that collects anonymised, user-supplied location information from partners (anonymous data gathered from interactions with users).

The ‘Edge’ technology is carefully crafted to ensure we collect anonymous network data only, that is well within the bounds of each partner’s own privacy policies and all relevant government laws and regulations. This information is then verified against our traditional trace routing techniques, resulting in a combined set of highly accurate and granular data that still maintains the traditional user anonymity of IP targeting. It is the only user-validated, IP-to-postcode dataset available in the market.

In addition our methodology ensures that we have 100% visibility of the internet’s publicly routable IP addresses, of which there are more than 2 billion. We see between 2% and 5% of IPs changing every month, so it’s important to keep up-to-date with these changes. We push updates to our clients every week so that once they’ve implemented our data, they know they will always have the most up-to-date dataset for their business operations.

Who is your target customer?

Our technology is rather like a building block. In itself, it is simple – but a wide range of applications rely on its integrity. We have customers all over the world in the areas of ecommerce (e-tailers and traditional bricks-and-mortar brands), fraud detection (banks, insurance companies, government agencies), digital rights management (media companies), targeted advertising (ad servers, programmatic platforms, exchanges, ad networks), content localisation (publishers, CRM systems) and analytics.

Some of our clients are huge, established market leaders such as Yahoo!, the BBC or AOL; others are innovative startups. This makes my role both varied and interesting.

What is the next step for Digital Element?

At Digital Element we listen closely to the needs of our customers and the next steps we take in terms of product development will be largely lead by their business needs. We are constantly looking to improve our offering to ensure we remain the leading provider of IP geolocation intelligence and it is essential that we consider the feedback we receive from our clients, who are using our technology, in order to achieve this.

I suppose in this way, we think of ourselves as a ‘quiet hero’ – we simply make geolocation work for our clients.