Oracle Buys Crosswise For Cross-Device Tracking, Marketing Cloud

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Oracle has acquired a marketing technology company that helps organizations get a clearer, unified profile of their customers, regardless of whether the customer is using a smartphone or a PC.

Oracle is beefing up its services to marketing and advertising-focused customers with the acquisition of an Israeli company that tracks how users engage with advertising and media.

Oracle announced that it will buy Crosswire, a provider of machine-learning based cross-device data that can help marketers track cross-device advertising, personalization, and analytics.

Oracle did not disclose the conditions of the deal, but press reports say Oracle paid approximately $50 million for the venture-funded startup founded in 2013.

Tracking consumers across devices has been a priority for marketers since mobile phones became mobile Internet devices. To get a clearer picture of sales and engagement, as well as an accurate snapshot of customers, organizations need to track consumers across all of the devices that they use. 

It used to be that marketers could just look at a user's interaction from their single computer to a website. But now, consumers may use a computer at home and a mobile phone during their commute or while shopping at a store. A study from Adobe released last month found that 80% of consumers switch devices while researching purchases and end up buying something online. Apps have complicated the picture further. How do you track the same consumer across all the devices that that a single consumer now uses? 

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Several companies, including Oracle and Adobe, are working to address this issue for marketers. Adobe recently announced plans to roll out Cross-Device Co-op in the second half of this year to help brands link devices to their common user. This solution lets brands share information about individual consumers including login and website data, but stop short of identifying consumers by name.

Gartner's 2015 Magic Quadrant report for multichannel campaign management placed six vendors in the Leaders quadrant -- Adobe, IBM, Oracle, Salesforce, SAS, and Teradata.

Oracle is not new to this challenge either. The company already offers ID Graph as a data management platform as part of its Oracle Marketing Cloud. The technology helps marketers connect consumer identities across multiple devices and channels to one customer, creating a customer profile.

But Gartner's 2015 Magic Quadrant report cautioned that Oracle's mobile analytics capabilities were limited to SMS and push messaging.

Oracle's acquisition of Crosswise adds another piece to Oracle's solution. Oracle said in a public letter to customers and partners posted to its website that Crosswise applies "advanced data science and proprietary machine-learning techniques to this data … matching multiple devices to individual users in an accurate, scalable, and high quality manner."

Crosswise's revenue comes from organizations licensing access to its data and its API.

The service adds to Oracle's existing solution, which already includes 3 billion profiles from over 15 million websites in its data marketplace, according to Oracle.

Crosswise "further broadens the Oracle ID Graph to construct a simple, complete view of consumers' digital interactions across multiple devices," Oracle said in its letter to customers and partners. Like Adobe's planned co-op, the Crosswise offering promises marketers a more complete view of customers and potential customers.

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