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PlowShare Introduces Programmatic Trading Desk for Non-Profits

plowshareCorrection 4/17: The product name is Harvest RTG, not Heritage RTG as originally stated.

Public service advertising (PSA) agency PlowShare is introducing a programmatic trading desk, Harvest RTG, built by advertising technology provider RUN. The platform is designed to enable non-profits to run PSA’s programmatically, targeting diverse audiences across different screens.

Josh Millman, director of digital media at PlowShare, said non-profits can benefit from programmatic in similar ways as other advertisers in using data to create more effective campaigns. “(PlowShare seeks to help clients) create a big data set and understand who these donors are actually are (and) continuously target them,” Millman said. (more…)

IBM To Buy Silverpop, Email And Marketing Automation Firm

IBMSilverIBM will acquire email and marketing automation vendor Silverpop, the companies said Thursday. Terms of the deal weren't disclosed, but a story last month in the Atlanta Business Chronicle reported the value of a rumored acquisition at $270 million.

IBM, like Adobe and Oracle, has remained steady on the acquisitions front.

"They got massive marketing capabilities through Unica, analytics through Coremetrics and commerce with Sterling," said Ray Wang, chairman and principal analyst at Constellation Research. Particularly, with its acquisition of Demandtec, IBM clinched pricing and optimization software for personalized promotions. "One of the huge trends is mass personalization at scale. You want to be able to get in there and say what content is relevant and deliver that content regardless of what channel [the consumer] is in."

Silverpop enables this. While IBM has "an army of assets" in play for marketing, Wang said Silverpop brings the ability to effectively keep identities in context regardless of how an individual engages with a brand.

"The benefit of Silverpop is that it's not just limited to B2B or B2C," he added. "It's been effective for customers across all types of companies."

Update: Jay Henderson, strategy program director for IBM commerce and cross-channel marketing, tells AdExchanger IBM three years ago "identified the CMO as a new buyer of technology and embraced this idea that the line-of-business [beyond IT] would start buying technology." Assembling a portfolio of such technologies to sell to marketers (such as its recent snap-up of mobile customer engagement platform Xtify) became a priority.

"Silverpop is really a natural complement to the rest of our portfolio," Henderson said. He called Silverpop's email marketing component a critical factor to reach B2C marketing scale. "They also had some exciting capabilities around B2B lead management and lead nurturing for longer sales cycle. It's taking some of that B2B capability and applying it to B2C scenarios."


Ready for 'RUBI'? SSP Shares Up 30% In First Hour Of Trading

rubicon-usethisRubicon Project began trading on the New York Stock Exchange on Wednesday at $15, the low end of its previously stated $15 to $17 range range. Updated: As of 10:45 a.m. EDT, the stock was trading up 34% at $2o.10 per share.

CEO Frank Addante and fellow C-Suite founders Greg Raifman (president) and Todd Tappin (COO/CFO) were dispatched from the company's Los Angeles home base to ring the exchange's opening bell.

Rubicon aims to raise about $108 million by selling $6.8 million shares in what will mark the third "programmatic IPO" since the market for public offerings began heating up last year. "Ad network 2.0" players Rocket Fuel and Criteo have received a largely warm welcome on Wall Street, with each trading today at more than 30% above their opening prices. And others are on the docket, including Rubicon SSP rival PubMatic and video DSP TubeMogul.

But Rubicon is the first SSP/exchange company to debut on the public markets.


Rob Leathern Exits Brand Networks 6 Months After It Bought His Startup

leathernRob Leathern, the CEO of Optimal Inc. who sold his company to Brand Networks last year for $35 million, is sailing for new shores. The serial entrepreneur and one-time research analyst told AdExchanger he has started work on a new venture that is aimed at consumers and is not ad-related.

Leathern, whose title was chief product officer, will remain on Brand Networks' board of directors and is a "significant shareholder" in the business.

In a note to AdExchanger, he said, "After a successful six-month transition period after the acquisition, where I tripled the size of our product and product engineering teams, I'm leaving Brand Networks to start work on a new startup. We had a great outcome and after five-and-a-half years building Optimal, getting it profitable and to a top position in both the Facebook and Twitter data and advertising realms, it is time for me to get back to my consumer startup roots."


AOL Unifies Programmatic Products Under ‘ONE’ Platform

AOLplatformAOL Networks on Wednesday rebranded as AOL Platforms.

As part of the rebrand, the company has rolled programmatic capabilities for video with, mobile and display with the AdLearn Open Platform (AOP) and its supply-side Marketplace product, into the development of platform “ONE by AOL.” IPG Mediabrands is the charter agency partner for ONE, which will aid with agency activation of data across display, mobile, video and linear TV.

“If you fast forward two to three years from now, you’re not going to see an ecosystem where there’s four layers between the buyer and seller,” explained Amir Ashkenazi, CEO of programmatic video platform, acquired by AOL last fall. “Companies that can develop a comprehensive, unified cross-device and cross-format solution will win.”

Additionally, ditching "Networks" – and its media connotations – may help AOL dispel concerns on the buy side that AOL's ad tech arsenal is primarily a way to funnel demand to AOL-owned inventory.

AOL is betting on the benefits of the “network effect,” which Seth Demsey, chief technology officer of AOL Platforms, said is the opposite of “boxing” somebody into the use of a single product or media choice.

“When you enable [the marketer] with a platform, you can help them modify, build and evolve the platform to suit their needs,” he said. “It’s necessary that platforms work and be open to other technologies and data. The second thing is, when you create a platform, other people can extend the platform and make it more powerful in certain areas.”


MediaAlpha Brings RTB, Transparency To Lead Gen Market

steve-yi-mediaalphaA company already making waves in the insurance advertising world has taken the wraps off a "programmatic" approach to lead generation.

Dubbed MediaAlpha Exchange, the demand-side platform vendor has already engaged with some of the biggest names in advertising— including Geico , Progressive and Esurance—to target audiences and acquire customers through custom bidding strategies for clicks, calls and leads. While it's most lucrative line of business is currently in auto insurance, the company plans to expand into other insurance specialties and additional verticals that rely on lead generation such as personal finance, education and travel.

Ad Exchanger spoke with MediaAlpha CEO Steve Yi to discuss the company's beginnings and its strategy moving forward.

Tell me about the genesis of your technology.

Our company at the very high level is focused on the performance-based marketing space, known in some circles as lead generation. There's some connotations with lead generation that makes us a little hesitant to use that terminology. Our goal is to re-imagine and reinvent the lead generation space and the first vertical we're doing that in is the insurance space.

The hallmark of that is that the users we're delivering to the insurance companies in this space are highly qualified. In over 80% of the cases, users have filled out a complete form about themselves with data that gets sent to a call center. The user has already prequalified him or herself by providing a lot of very specific structured information about themselves and their needs as an insurance consumer. It is much more qualified than a display ad, a user that comes to an advertiser site.


Seed And mediaQuark Merge To Provide Audience Data In Southeast Asia

Tom Simpson mediaQuarkOne challenge of programmatic buying in the Asia-Pacific region is lack of data. Two Singapore-based companies, Seed and mediaQuark, are joining forces to provide more audience data solutions to Southeast Asia.

The merger, announced today, brings together audience development from Seed and media trading technology from mediaQuark. The new company, simply called mediaQuark, to provide audience data for clients in a number of ways, said Tom Simpson, the founder and CEO of Seed who will serve as the CEO of the new company.

"Mikko [Kotila, former CEO and now chairman of the new mediaQuark] and I started working in a strategic partnership and eventually it made sense to pull our investors together, pull the businesses together and start a new business," Simpson told AdExchanger. "The new mediaQuark has a much more defined product list and we brought the third-party audience data into play as well."

Seed and mediaQuark, both founded in Singapore in 2013, each secured one previous round of investment and the team is together going back to their initial, private investors for another round post-merger, Simpson added. The company's headcount is now 10 employees.


Rubicon Project IPO Seeks Valuation Of $671M

ipo-rubiconIf all goes according to plan, Rubicon Project's public offering will raise about $108 million ($77 million after expenses) in cash and give it a market cap of $671 million.

In an update to its January S-1 filing with the US Securities And Exchange Commission, the company said shareholders will offer 6.8 million shares of stock at a target price of $15-$17 per share.

The sell-side platform filed its long-anticipated IPO in January, signaling plans to raise about $100 million. But it didn't name a strike price, so no valuation was available.

While its target price suggests a valuation of $671 million, that number could certainly go higher in the first day of trading – that is if the industry's two other "programmatic IPOs" are any guidepost. Criteo, which began trading on Oct. 30 at $31 per share, jumped 33% in its first hours as a public company. Rocket Fuel meanwhile debuted at $29 on Sept. 20 and popped to more than double that by late morning on that day. As of Thursday afternoon Criteo was trading at about $44 per share and Rocket Fuel at about $47.


IgnitionOne Buys Knotice, DMP With Email Chops

merging-the-dmpDisplay and search ad tech company IgnitionOne has acquired Knotice, a data-management platform (DMP) and email service provider with approximately 70 employees, AdExchanger has learned.

The deal is the latest in a wave of consolidation in the DMP space that began with the October acquisition of Aggregate Knowledge by Neustar for $119 million, and also includes Oracle's February purchase of BlueKai for about $350 million.

The acquisition  helps IgnitionOne, a former subsidiary of Japanese holding company Dentsu that became independent last year in a management-led spinoff, create a more plausible story around omnichannel data and "life-cycle" marketing.

"The world is going to be about more technology from less vendors, a more integrated approach," IgnitionOne CEO Will Margiloff told AdExchanger. "The marketer will want not only customer acquisition, but also conversion and CRM."

IgnitionOne did not disclose terms of the acquisition, which the company says is its eighth. Previous transactions included European ad platform AdJug in 2011.

According to Margiloff, Knotice is "what a database marketing company should have evolved into." The company began as an email platform helping marketers mine customer data to drive repeat conversions. It later added mobile messaging, again with a focus on first-party data. Customers include Canon, TiVo and Wyndham Resorts. The company was named a "strong performer" by Forrester Research in its 2013 DMP Wave report.


DataXu Nabs Digilant CEO Ed Montes As First Chief Revenue Officer

montes-dataxuDemand-side platform (DSP) DataXu has recruited Ed Montes, CEO of programmatic trader Digilant, to lead its sales and marketing operations as chief revenue officer.

Montes helped found Digilant in 2009, back when it was still called Adnetik and operated as the trading desk unit of French agency conglomerate Havas.

Later, when Adnetik was spun off in a management-led buyout, he continued to run the company as CEO. It would later rebrand to downplay its former Havas affiliation and increase its appeal to would-be agency customers concerned about exposing their client data to Havas agency teams.

Digilant has not yet named a successor, according to a rep, though co-founder and Chief Operating Officer Nathan Woodman is certainly high on the list.

Speaking with AdExchanger, DataXu CEO Mike Baker said the hire helps the company position for global expansion and serve multinational clients that want to execute cross-border marketing strategies.