Pureprofile looks beyond research as Andrew Edwards takes executive chairman role

Weeks after taking on the role of executive chairman of Pureprofile new boss Andrew Edwards has signalled the research business is shifting strategy to become a player in delivering creative to target audiences by using the data from its panels, rather than just relying on research revenue.

Edwards: Taking on increased responsibilities

Edwards was named executive chairman of Pureprofile in November and stepped up from non-exec chair into the three-day-a-week position in January.

The company floated in late 2015 at 49c per share, which has since declined to 41c, giving it a market capitalisation of $46m.

In a major transition for the business, founder and CEO Paul Chan – who still owns about 6% of the company – now reports to Edwards, who will oversee the research company’s continuing push beyond merely providing data from its survey panels to offering programmatic through Sparc Media.


Chan: Remains with the business

It is also developing its plans for recently acquired lead generation marketing business Cohort in a bid to break its reliance on the increasingly commoditised research sector.

In his first interview since assuming the executive role, Andrews said the early days of programmatic adoption had seen companies profit, but there was also confusion.

The digital research company expects to play a bigger role with brands as they use data to drive programmatic offers, but Edwards has warned there is a shift making its way through the industry.

“The transparency issue around this market is that people have been making a lot of money out of the newness of this market and the confusing state of this market,” Edwards told Mumbrella.

“Now with the major players globally wanting transparency, that is absolutely going to shake up the market. The margins are all going to be squeezed and so they should. The buying is going to be questioned, and so it should.”

He said the messages brands were having to pay attention to in the data economy ranged from legislation and compliance and the challenges of random media buys, through to programmatic just becoming spam.

“I listen to what people are saying and they are questioning the effectiveness of programmatic and the buying of that type of media,” he said.

Edwards said he believes there is a fundamental problem with the underlying data that drives programmatic with decisions about placement being made based on cookies rather than an ongoing dialogue with consumers.

In recent weeks the company has added a string of new clients including Unilever, Carlton & United Breweries and AOL to its roster and Edwards said he expected to announce other wins in coming weeks.

“The business that is coming our way that we hopefully will win are top 100 global multi-national brands and the business that we have recently won are top 100 global national brands,” Edwards said.

“Pureprofile is borne our of research, we understand what people want and we understand how people are feeling. We have built the platforms and build the systems that enable us to have a two-way dialogue with them. There is definitely people questioning the quality of the data, the quality of the buying and the effect that that buying in a programmatic space has on their brands.”

Edwards sees the future growth of the business coming from the UK and US, while Asia will not be a target for some time to come.

Analysts say wins of global clients such as Unilever an work on a proof of concept with News Corp appear to be helping pave the way for the business, with Edwards saying the Australian-based business would see much of its opportunities with global brands.

In a report, Danny Younis of analysts Shaw & Partners said the development and implementation of the new offeringss would be crucial to growth of pureprofile, which is listed on the ASX as PPL.

“A transition from proof of concept to commercialisation in our view is both validation of PPL’s strategy and product offering, as well as transformational in PPL’s future earnings generation,” he said.

Gregg Taylor of Blue Ocean Equities said the new platforms offered a major opportunity. “PPL are now entering a phase where there is the opportunity to create a virtuous cycle of growth based on: a high quality and fast growing profile database; an industry leading technology platform; and increasing relationships with global content owners/publishers (media companies) and market/advertising researchers,” Taylor said.


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