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Google Posts Q1 Revenue Increase To $15.42B, Lays Out Future Plans

google q1 2014Google posted a solid quarter, as total revenues for Q1 2014 jumped to $15.42 billion, a 19% increase compared to this time last year.

During its earnings call, Google emphasized its ambitions to extend its value as a brand builder and to close the price gap between mobile and desktop display advertising.

Google also stated that as of Q2, it will further break down cost-per-click (CPC) revenues by splitting out differences in clicks on Google’s owned websites vs. those on its network partners. CPCs as reported in Google's earnings are aggregated.

Google does not exclude the cost of acquiring traffic (ex-TAC) when it reports advertising revenues, though it reported TAC increased to $3.23 billion in Q1 2014 (representing 23% of advertising revenue) compared to $2.96 billion this time last year.

Paid clicks, which Google defines as clicks on ads served on Google or network member sites, increased 26% over Q1 2013. Average CPC decreased 9% from Q1 2013. (more…)

Display Revenue Flat In Yahoo's Q1 2014 Earnings

YahooYahoo reported gross revenue of $1.13 billion and $1.07 billion in ex-TAC revenue for Q1 2014. GAAP revenue was down 1% from the same period last year, but ex-traffic acquisition revenue was up 1%.

GAAP display revenue was $453 million for Q1 2014, flat compared to the same period last year. Yahoo increased the number of ads sold by approximately 7% compared to Q1 2013, but price per ad decreased by about 5% compared to the same period last year.

Yahoo earned $445 million in search revenue for Q1 2014, a 5% increase compared to $425 million for Q1 2013. Paid clicks increased approximately 6%  compared to Q1 2013 and price per click increased approximately 8% compared to Q1 2013. (more…)

AdsNative Gets Funding, Launches Product To Maximize Fill Rates

ads nativeSupply-side platform (SSP) AdsNative received Thursday a $2 million injection of funding led by Interwest Partners, raising about $750K in convertible debt prior to this series.

The company also released a mechanism called Mediation/SSP, designed to maximize publisher fill rates for in-stream native ads.

AdsNative will devote the majority of the funds to getting more publishers and networks to use the platform. The California-based startup, founded in 2012, works with Politico, Slashdot, SourceForge, Rant Media Network and The Awl, and produces about 100 million ads per month.

“In order to maximize fill rates, [publishers] need to add more and more networks manually, which involves site-side HTML work," said Satish Polisetti, CEO of AdsNative. "There is no way to automate the process or know which works best for the publisher. This is a pain both from an operational stand-point as well as additional burden to developers and publishers.”


As Buyers And Sellers Wise Up, Are Programmatic Media Companies On The Outs?

ken senaAre programmatic media companies about to hit the wall? Ken Sena, managing director and Internet analyst at investment banking analyst firm Evercore Partners, is wary.

Despite the exuberant expectations around companies like Criteo and Rocket Fuel, Sena sees a possible multifront threat on the horizon. In an Evercore report called “Questioning Competitive Barriers In Programmatic,” Sena writes: “These programmatic media companies face competitive pressures not just from buyers and buying agencies but also from sellers who bring some unique publishing inventory or data into the mix.”

He references figures from Magna Global which note that even as Internet media spend grew around 16% in 2013, display advertising flatlined at around 6%. So what’s going on? Weren’t programmatic concepts supposed to help buyers optimize spend and sellers optimize yield?

Yes and yes – and for Sena, this is why growth in display advertising has stagnated.

“If [advertisers] can zero in and say this percentage of display is more valuable, [they] might also realize other display [they're] buying is less valuable, and adjust spend there negatively,” he told AdExchanger. “And if you’re a publisher, you can flip that around. You know what’s most valuable for advertisers, so you increase the prices there but lower the prices on everything else.”

Sena spoke with AdExchanger about why the fragmented display ad marketplace, and a lack of transparency among programmatic media companies, could create some unexpected chop in the water. (more…)

More DMP Investment: Lotame Receives $15M In Funds

lotameLotame, known for its data management platform (DMP), has received a $15 million injection in Series D funding, led by Sozo Ventures and TrueBridge Capital Partners. This brings Lotame’s total funds raised to $44 million.

These new funds, said CEO Andy Monfried, will be used to enhance the platform’s technology and expand globally, particularly in Asia.

“Some of the goals I have in mind are enhanced visualization of data,” Monfried said of the former, noting that many clients now want custom dashboards to display their personal KPIs. “Better attribution, cross-device technology, delivery of audience, ongoing optimization and machine learning.” (more…)

ExactTarget Acquisition Drives Q4 Growth For reported 37% revenue growth in Q4, to $1.15 billion, driven in part by the $2.5 billion July 2013 acquisition of ExactTarget. Its full year revenue was $4.07 billion, up 33% year-over-year.

ExactTarget is the lynchpin of ExactTarget Marketing Cloud, which competes with analogous stacks fielded by Adobe and Oracle. Specifically, ExactTarget contributed $96 million in Q4 revenue – higher than what the company expected, according to CFO Graham Smith. For FY 2013, ExactTarget contributed $194 million.

CEO and Chairman Marc Benioff extolled’s Marketing Cloud product. (“We’re number one in email marketing, social listening, social publishing and social advertising with, the number one provider of services to advertisers on Facebook that manages 10% of Facebook ad spend.”) But he didn’t address one of the holes in its stack: the data management platform (DMP). This absence was made more notable earlier this week when Oracle announced its intent to acquire data technology and data services provider BlueKai. (more…)

Rocket Fuel Continues Upward Trajectory In Q4, Releases Mobile Ad Suite

George John, CEO, RocketfuelMedia-buying platform Rocket Fuel’s growth continued to shoot up in the fourth quarter, driven by – according to CEO George John during the quarterly call – a high customer-retention rate, increased sales productivity and reputation.

The company reported gross revenue of $85.6 million in Q4 2013, a 113% increase from the same period last year. Revenue excluding traffic acquisition costs (ex-TAC) was $49.6 million, an increase of 148% from the same period in 2012. Revenue for the full year 2013 was $240.6 million, an increase of 126% from the end of 2012 (FY revenue ex-TAC was $137 million, an annual increase of 145%).

John noted the the 126% revenue increase outpaced the growth rate of Rocket Fuel’s contemporaries. (In fairness, Rocket Fuel is much younger than many peers and its accelerated growth rate should be expected to an extent.)

Also, existing clients returned and increased spend.

“If we signed no new customers [in 2013],” John said, “we would have grown revenue 68% on 2012.” Rocket Fuel CFO Peter Bardwick added that despite the company’s increasing scale in 2013, it hasn’t seen a slowdown in customer-acquisition rates. (more…)

Sizmek's (Formerly DG) Auto, CPG Momentum Drives 15% Annual Revenue Growth

sizmekSizmek, the company formerly known as Digital Generation (DG), reported Tuesday a full-year revenue increase of 15%, to $161.1 million compared to $140.7 million in 2012, capped off by Q4 revenue of $47.6 million, a 16% compared to the same period last year. (Read the release.)

These figures reflect only Sizmek’s online business, and not the television ad-distribution practice it unloaded to former competitor Extreme Reach. Sizmek, now out of debt thanks to its spinoff, expects 10-20% top-line growth in 2014. Part of this is due to the company’s planned international expansion as well as domestic growth opportunities for its existing technologies.

“I see great opportunities when it comes to online video,” said CEO Neil Nguyen. “In the past year, online video grew over 40% compared to a market that we believe has grown roughly 24%. When it comes to mobile, our business grew over 90% in 2013 and we expect to continue that trend.”

Nguyen also mentioned that while the automotive vertical was a key growth area in 2012, Sizmek signed numerous CPG clients for the fourth quarter of 2013. (more…)

Criteo Q4: Mobile, Mid-market and China On The Mind

CriteoQ4 (1)French retargeting company Criteo closed Q4 with revenues of €135.9 million, up 57% from the €86.6 million recorded for the fourth quarter one year prior.

The company, which has been rooted in retail and travel retargeting since its start, said last quarter exceeded expectations after it clocked €113.8 million in the third quarter, its first as a public company.

Revenues for fiscal year 2013, excluding traffic acquisition costs, totaled €179 million, compared to 2012's total of €114.1 million. Revenue in the fourth quarter, excluding traffic acquisition costs, increased 55.3% from a year prior, to €54.9 million compared to the €35.3 million last year.

“We continue to strengthen our position in digital programmatic advertising and we are particularly excited about the launch of our mobile offering in Q4,” said Criteo CEO JB Rudelle on the Q4 earnings call Tuesday. “We are now in the process of actively rolling out the mobile solution to our base of more than 5,000 clients. In the quarter, we also started to activate mobile inventory supply across our network of RTB and publisher partners.”


Turn Confirms New $80M Round

turn-raiseAs we first reported in November, digital marketing software firm Turn has reeled in a new Series E investment.

The $80 million raise was distributed among eight venture capital firms and brings Turn's total funding to about $138 million to date. (For comparison, direct competitor MediaMath has raised a mere $24.4 million, according to CrunchBase).

We hear the new round -- likely Turn's final cash re-up before an expected IPO this year -- values the company in the $650 to $700 million range.

As we noted previously, that valuation should please Turn's earlier investors. In its most recent investment, in 2011, the company was valued at about $150 million.

Turn's gross media revenues (including media costs passed on to publishers) were $230 million in 2012 and around $350 million in 2013, according to sources, and this year's are projected to be around $500 million. However Turn's margins are humble at around 25%, significantly lower than publicly traded ad network companies like Rocket Fuel (mid-50%) and Criteo (mid-30%).