Fridays with Frost: Breaking Down Unstructured Data


Fridays with Frost: Breaking Down Unstructured Data is unique among programmatic marketing platforms because it is able to leverage unstructured data. CEO, Frost Prioleau, tells us what that is and why it matters in this week’s edition of Fridays with Frost.

What exactly is unstructured data?

Unstructured data is data in its raw form, before it is packaged up into segments or tagged with a label.

It’s estimated that 80-85% of data is unstructured data. The keywords we search for, the web pages we look at,
the e-mails we write, the videos we watch —all of that is classified as unstructured data. That’s a lot of highly detailed raw data that the early RTB platforms weren’t designed to handle. 

If unstructured data works so well, why aren’t all the programmatic platforms doing it?

Well, it’s not easy.  Bidding, reporting, and optimizing using unstructured data requires a platform that is built to a completely different scale than the programmatic platforms built to handle traditional audience segments.

For example, I was talking to one of the major trading desks the other day, and when they run campaigns on programmatic platforms that use traditional segments, they typically only target 8 to 10 audience segments in any one campaign, and within those audience segments there is no breakdown on recency.

By contrast, on a campaign using unstructured data, we typically use 1000 to 10,000 unstructured data elements, which is 100X to 1,000X the 10 segments referenced above. In addition, for each data element, we enable targeting to 10 different recency settings. So, our platform is targeting to 1,000X to 10,000X the audience data that is used by a typical segment based platform.

Now that’s some big data. Where do you put that much data?

If it were just a matter of storing this data somewhere on a hard drive or in the cloud, that wouldn’t be that big of a deal.

However, to accurately bid and optimize using 1,000x to 10,000x more data in the precious few milliseconds allowed by real time bidding requires a very specialized system. Likewise, to deliver a full range of reports on 1,000x to 10,000x more data also requires a reporting engine that specifically built to handle that scale.

We designed and developed our system from scratch specifically for unstructured data—so that’s why we are able to deliver targeting, optimization and reporting options other programmatic platforms can’t.

Does unstructured data really deliver?

We see results every day that tells us that it does. And not only that, clients love the additional insights that they gain from seeing exactly what is driving campaign performance. It’s real intelligence they can use to make real-time decisions that optimize their media spend. It’s complicated for us, but it actually makes our clients’ jobs a lot simpler.