Reach banks on first party data with adtech overhaul

Reach_titles2Reach, the media giant behind the Mirror, the Express, the Star, and a raft of regional press, is ramping up its adtech capabilities by pooling its existing first party data platform with its data matching capabilities and custom-built AI contextual tools under the Neptune platform.

Supported by the Ad Tech Workshop, which will house developers, testers and product managers, the platform will be spearheaded by Reach Group digital director Terry Hornsby.

The move is the latest in a series of adtech initiatives for Reach, starting in late 2019 with Mantis – an AI-powered brand safety and contextual tool spearheaded by Hornsby and developed in partnership with IBM Watson.

Hornsby later established a team to develop Reach’s Plus products that offer customer matching, and developed Ocean, Reach’s first party data platform.

Both Neptune and the Ad Tech Workshop come as part of Reach’s wider “customer value strategy” announced in 2020, designed to fast-track the company’s efforts in bolstering its data and technical capabilities, with a target of reaching 10 million registered customers by the end of 2022.

Hornsby commented: “At Reach, we were among the first in developing our own digital tools to solve problems facing both advertisers and publishers.

“Being ahead of the curve on first party data has given us a great opportunity to continue to experiment and innovate.

“This latest investment in our in-house workshop and the Neptune platform underpins our approach – trying new things, finding new opportunities for growth, and taking our destiny into our own hands. When we need a tech solution, we roll up our sleeves and create it.”

Late last year, Reach signalled its intention to further ramp up its data operations by appointing John Lewis Partnership’s head of insight to a board advisory role. Barry Panayi, who is director of data, insight and analytics at the retail group, added the Reach non-executive job to a similar role at Ofgem, which he took up in 2020.

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