Our big idea: consumer behaviour data provider Measure Protocol

Co-founder Owen Hanks talks us through his concept and business model
BizAge Interview Team

Hi Owen! What does Measure Protocol do?

Measure is a consumer intelligence company which helps brands to deliver better outcomes by providing them with consumer behavioural data collected from our proprietary communities. We only collect data in an ethical manner and individuals are rewarded for data they provide. Our clients then use this information to improve decision making in a number of different ways - from competitor intelligence to product development and strategy and planning for marketing and advertising.  

What’s the origin story?

Paul Neto, John Martin and I founded the company to try to bridge the gap between the data that brands need to make better decisions, and the consumers which can provide this information. We noticed that some consumers were taking part in surveys but not being compensated fairly. There were other issues with relying on survey data, too – such as fraud and ‘over-claimed’ responses. So we set about creating an ecosystem which rewards users fairly for their data but requests behavioural data to ensure 100% accuracy - meaning information based on actual behaviours rather than claimed behaviours. We aligned with all the latest regulations as well as operating systems such as Apple and Google. We’re still learning about the depth of data at our disposal as we seek to understand consumers’ ever changing, digital lives: What they are doing and buying online.

Measure’s founders come from the worlds of ad tech, measurement and research. We had seen a shift in the marketplace, with brands craving better data to enable them to make well-informed decisions. We felt we could be a pivotal player in this space. And I often talk about what I call the unfair dichotomy of the research space – the fact that, while consumers are at the heart of every business decision, most market research companies don’t pay them fairly. If you can pay and treat them fairly, you’ll get better insights from more people. If I don’t want to spend 20 minutes answering questions for a few pennies, why would anyone else?

What’s unique about what you do?

We focus on behavioural data to understand what users are actually doing. This way we can be 100% confident that our data is completely accurate and untainted by fraud and over-claimed or unreliable information. In order to access this data we have developed our own patented data collection technology which lies at the heart of everything we do, giving insight into app engagement metrics, app usage, in-app purchases and activities and more. This proprietary technology utilises optical character recognition and image processing; we are essentially training computers to read screens in the same way that humans do.

Who are your customers?

Our client base is predominantly brands – big names such as ITV, Google and Netflix – but also market research agencies and communications and PR professionals. We are used by many of the leading entertainment and tech brands, but our technology is relevant to pretty much any company. Our data is totally opt-in, and clients use this consumer intelligence, for planning and strategy as it shows them how people are spending time with their brand.

What were you doing before?

I have been working in the media and advertising industry since the early ‘90s, and my co-founders have similar backgrounds. We have held roles in large public companies such as the BBC, BskyB and Comscore. We sold our previous companies to a US ad tech company called YuMe, which then went on to IPO on the NYSE in 2013.

What were the main challenges? And what learnings can you share?

Consumer data is such an enormous field to be working in, and brands need a huge variety of different information to understand signals from noise in order to help them make decisions. We spent the first three years making sure that our technology was simple and easy to understand, as the market has a habit of over-complicating things and confusing potential clients or buyers. Making things simple is our main goal. That’s both our biggest challenge and our greatest opportunity.

What do you look for when hiring?

I always hire for grit. If you’ve got grit and talent, then of course that’s great – but if you can’t go the distance then it won’t be a good fit. This is so important, especially with start ups, scale ups and growth companies – and you have to always strive to be better than the status quo. To my mind, too, start ups are genuinely a marathon.

How do you market the company? What’s your advice?

We target our buyers in a number of different ways - from regular communication and marketing in relevant trade press to social media marketing to specific groups. We utilise the data we see to deliver interesting findings and trends that we believe will resonate with our target market. We are particularly proud of our quarterly ‘AppLife’ report, which we distribute to customers and potential customers. It’s received huge praise from the industry as well as being referenced in major publications such as The Wall Street Journal and Newsweek

What funding do you have? Is it enough?

We’ve raised three investment rounds over the last three years – angel, seed and pre Series A funding. We are fortunate to have VC strategics as well as key angels that are known experts in our industry as our investors. They are enormously supportive and have helped us strategically over the years.

Tell us about the business model

Our current business model is designed to provide clients with certain types of behavioural data, such as Netflix viewing consumption or Amazon purchase history, in an automated, recurring way in a raw format - via an API integrated with their business intelligence technology. Clients pay for the volume of data and the rarity of this information. However we are really excited as we are just about to launch our new business model - The Measure Consumer Intelligence Platform. This is a SaaS model which will provide our clients with the ability to build their own data intelligence based on the vast volumes of consumer data that we manage on behalf of our community.

What do you do outside of work to relax?

I have been running all my life, since my teens, and reasonably competitively too. I am now in my 50s and it has become even more important to me. If I don’t exercise I feel ten times worse. But I don’t think about running when I’m running - I think about everything else. It’s my quiet time, my time to think outside of the box. It’s when I get my ideas for products. I think through a problem by running for one or two hours.

As I said before, there are also many parallels between running a marathon and a start up. We’re on a journey and we’ve got very comfortable over the past six months understanding where we fit. We’re growing up. We are not just a few guys sitting around a table any more. We have an understanding of our core differentiators, and how we benefit our clients through the ability to make better business decisions. We sit on a veritable goldmine of data.

What is the future vision?

We’d love for every major consumer brand and agency to be clients of the Measure Platform and to help tackle their most difficult challenges. We want behavioural data to be the foundation of all business decisions and we’ve got a really exciting roadmap ahead, having received lots of great feedback from clients.

Why do you do this?

I love the energy and creativity of building things and I get excited building teams of people who are connected by the same mission; determined to build a culture whilst developing exciting products. I also love hard work and the reward of solving difficult problems.

Written by
BizAge Interview Team
June 13, 2023
Written by
June 13, 2023