Here’s What’s Behind Acxiom’s Growth and Increased Investor Interest
When data giant Acxiom scooped up data onboarding company LiveRamp in 2014, it felt like the pieces were finally falling together for Acxiom CEO Scott Howe. The company had shed its information security business and still planned to divest other divisions that detracted from Mr. Howe’s strategic mission to remake the Little Rock-based firm into the streamlined agency-friendly data services firm of tomorrow. The former corporate VP-advertiser and publisher solutions at Microsoft, then on the job at Acxiom for three years, told Ad Age, “This is a big acquisition for us.”
It was almost an understatement. LiveRamp has become a major growth generator for Acxiom, which had it not innovated by realigning its focus around what the industry has come to call “people-based marketing,” could be languishing as a washed up data broker. In August, Acxiom reported Q1 2016 revenue for its Connectivity business, led by LiveRamp, was $31 million, up 52% compared with Q1 2015. The division has around 300 customers, according to recent earnings reports.
While Acxiom remains one of the largest aggregators and suppliers of third-party data, its LiveRamp acquisition propelled it toward Mr. Howe’s goal to become a conduit for connecting offline, personally identifiable data to digital channels. It helped spur intense interest in this type of service by a variety of brands with huge customer databases but a lack of knowledge or wherewithal to use that information to find those customers across channels and reach others like them.