SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico — These days, ad agency holding companies don’t only build media plans and buy.

Many have also become full-fledged data operators, offering their brands measurement, audience profiling and more.

In this discussion at Beet Retreat San Juan, Laura McElhinney, Chief Data Officer, Horizon Media, explained how that is changing her agency.

Tech investment

“We’ve invested a lot of money over the past few years in technology, that’s in our own internal tech stack,” she said.

“It does get very expensive. You now have operational expenses on top of that for the long term. I not just, ‘hey, this is going cost me $10 million to build’.

Horizon Media is the largest privately held agency in the US with clients like Anheuser-Busch InBev and Geico.

It has its own data platform for creating people-based audience identifiers, Blue, built using TransUnion’s own identity graph.

Break The TV Mould: Horizon’s Koenigsberg Wants To Rip Up The Rules

Nevermind the cookies

It’s not just about a product offering, however. McElhinney says Horizon is increasingly aiming to gather first-party audience data so that it can be sure it is dealing with privacy-compliant ad opportunities.

She says she wants to offer “a value proposition with the consumer and pushing towards that consumer consent”.

“We’re doing that for ourselves internally to build out our own internal panel, if you will, with consented people, but also working with our brands as they’re building out their first party (data),” McElhinney says.

“Then it doesn’t matter about the cookies.”

You’re watching coverage of Beet Retreat San Juan 2023, presented by LiveRamp, Madhive, Magnite, Paramount, T-Mobile Advertising Solutions and VideoAmp. For more videos from the Beet Retreat, please visit this page.