Jürgen Galler is the CEO and co-founder of marketing intelligence platform 1plusX. I recently caught up with Jürgen to find out more about his role. He also talks data strategy, and the challenges of activating first-party data.
Tell us about your role – what does a typical day look like for you?
As CEO of 1plusX, I am responsible for the overall company strategy and business. However, at my core I am a product guy that likes to innovate around complex problems, and I’ve moved between B2B and B2C products since the beginning of my career. At 1plusX we focus on empowering large publishers and advertisers to market themselves and their products successfully, using AI to build the highest quality target segments. It really is fascinating to see what AI can do.
On a typical day, I get up, prepare breakfast and take my two-year-old to childcare; then spend the day jumping from one meeting to another, although mostly virtually these days. I try to protect time for productive strategy or creative sessions, and often end up meeting to discuss projects with colleagues.
I remember many years ago reading a piece that highlighted the need for communication and the importance of meetings within a manager’s typical day – well, that’s what it has become for me too. However, in the evening I try not to work and would rather cook dinner and spend time with my family or friends.
In your opinion, what are the key elements of an effective data strategy?
Firstly, prioritising data quality rather than quantity. Effective data interpretation must look beyond the raw data and consider behavioural patterns and trends to unlock its true value. This is where AI comes in. Machine learning can enhance existing data, filling in gaps where there are inconsistencies or the size of the data is small, using lookalike modelling and predictive analytics to create a coherent consumer narrative.
Therefore, an effective data strategy should include effective AI-enabled tools to really enrich and extend consented data, particularly with the death of the cookie and ever-evolving privacy regulations making it harder to achieve granular insights. Moreover, it’s important to work with up-to-date information by collecting first-party data in real time, and enhancing it with predictions and contextual insights to increase the accuracy of audience segments.
Finally, and most importantly, privacy regulations must be adhered to at all times. First-party data is great for this, as businesses can obtain users’ consent for its collection and use.
What are the biggest challenges brands face when it comes to activating first-party data?
Many brands struggle to define their target audience segments, which is one of the reasons I started 1plusX in the first place. Companies are often lacking the sufficient technology to successfully manage their data, so our AI technology helps companies identify their key segments and then effectively select the best ways to reach and target them.
Aside from a lack of technological resources, other barriers to the effective targeting of an audience include the impending death of the third-party cookie, coupled with the complexity associated with the protection of consumer privacy. These seismic shifts in the industry over recent years mean that granular consumer insights are less readily available.
However, many brands have access to consented first-party data from newsletter signups and onsite registrations, for example. This data is often limited, hard to scale and is sometimes incomplete, so it can be difficult to infer precise targetable characteristics. To continue to activate this kind of data and tap its full potential, businesses will have to put an emphasis on prioritising privacy-centric audience analytics, as the industry’s attention on data protection grows further.
Tell us about your leadership style – and how does company culture at 1plusX reflect what you are trying to achieve?
The greatest thing about founding a company is that you can choose your colleagues and the people who surround you. My leadership style is very laid back and transparent. I like to give people the freedom to take ownership of their own projects and areas of responsibility. Once a month, I give a CEO briefing where I share financial updates with the team; what we’re achieving, how we’re performing as a business, and what our costs and churn rates are. I believe in empowering staff with knowledge and so we’re much more open about these things than other, larger companies.
Culture is very important to us and we run a lot of team events to build morale and have a very flat company hierarchy, which creates a real democratic, equal environment to work in.
From the very beginning, we defined 1plusX as a product engineering company. Therefore, our engineers have lots of innovative ideas and can understand our products in the context of the wider industry landscape. We actively encourage our engineers to consider how products will impact the market, fostering a mentality which creates a synergy between engineering and product.
1plusX was recently acquired by TripleLift – what significance will this have for the company and the wider industry?
As the media industry has evolved in terms of privacy and consumer behaviour, players are looking for a way to keep up. The acquisition of 1plusX by TripleLift puts privacy-friendly data solutions and ad placement capabilities under one roof, a seamless solution that benefits both publishers and advertisers. The combination has resulted in a scaled, independent media platform designed for a privacy-centric ecosystem.
For publishers this means increased monetisation of their content by further enriching their first-party data using AI techniques, and for advertisers it signals more precise targeting capabilities through audience segmentation.
I expect similar partnerships to follow in the coming years, particularly when the third-party cookie is finally phased out on Chrome and marketers continue to seek alternative solutions. The coming together of DMPs and SSPs will ensure privacy-friendly, first-party data is actionable for programmatic advertising in the privacy-centric world.
We hope to achieve continued growth, kick-started by our recent acquisition, which will allow us to grow our client offering and base of publisher and advertisers rapidly. The scalability the acquisition has also provided means we are looking to continue developing our product offering, so watch this space.