CHICAGO – Consumers have more ways to consume media than ever before, challenging advertisers to track the effectiveness of their marketing efforts. The growth of the omnichannel universe is driving a shift toward audience-based measurement, and TransUnion is working to be at the forefront of that development.

The company, which is best known as a provider of consumer credit reporting, has made a significant push into advertising technology with several acquisitions including this month’s deal to buy Tru Optik. The company’s patented identity graph, Tru Optik Household Graph, has information on more than 80 million U.S. households, covering more than 90% of how people consumer content on internet-connected devices including smart TVs, gaming consoles and smart speakers.

TransUnion 18 months ago participated in a funding round of Tru Optik, and this year’s sudden jump in streaming media usage among homebound consumers during the pandemic demonstrated the need for audience-driven measurement.

“We recognized 18 months ago when we made the investment in Tru Optik that they were doing some amazing innovation in a part of the world that was clearly going to become bigger,” Matt Spiegel, executive vice president of marketing solutions and head of media vertical at TransUnion, said in this interview with Beet.TV. “We were sitting on a really amazing set of a data assets that I expected to become more important as the modern marketing world is becoming more people-based and more driven by identity.”

TransUnion plans to integrate Tru Optik’s platform into its suite of marketing solutions, making its service more nimble.

“We’ve been working over the last 18 months to connect our various views of identity, and the tools and products on top of that we think the market needs,” Spiegel said. “We had to do it as a single entity, we need to be able to move faster, get more integrated, provide the level of innovation that can only be done when you are truly one company.”

The buyout of the remaining interest in Tru Optik follows TransUnion’s acquisition in August of Signal, a technology company focused on real-time data consumer collection, and last year’s purchase of TruSignal, a provider of people-based marketing solutions.

The acquisitions come as growing demands for consumer privacy and stricter regulations on data sharing force the media and marketing industries to develop new methods of tracking audiences. Tech giants like Google and Apple are taking steps to improve privacy measures. Google has indicated it will stop supporting third-party cookies in its popular Chrome browser starting in early 2022, while Apple plans to make app developers obtain consumer consent to opt in to being tracked with its Identifier for Advertisers (IDFA), among other measures.

“It’s important that the market recognizes we’re going to have one big TransUnion market set,” Spiegel said. “The future of the media and marketing world is driven by identity- and people-based marketing, and that is done at the individual level, but also the household level.”