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MediaMath Acquires Rare Crowds And Its Founder, Eric Picard

picard-mediamathMediaMath has snapped up Rare Crowds, a small, 2-year-old startup founded by ad tech trailblazer Eric Picard, AdExchanger has learned.

Under the all-stock transaction, Picard will join MediaMath as VP of strategic partnerships as the media-buying platform builds out products around private marketplaces and "automated guaranteed" inventory (i.e., direct site buys).

The deal has the markings of an acqui-hire. Picard, whose title at MediaMath will be VP of strategic partnerships, is the only exec from Rare Crowds' small team going over to MediaMath. Co-founder and CTO Scott Tomlin will consult with MediaMath through the transfer of Rare Crowds' technology.

A well-known figure in the ad tech space, Picard founded Bluestreak, an early ad server and rich media platform. Later he was an architect of Microsoft's ad platform strategy, and he also held a senior product role at TRAFFIQ before that company exited ad tech and repositioned as an agency.

His responsibilities at MediaMath will include oversight of the company's relationship with Akamai, from which it acquired Advertising Decision Sciences – along with its pixel-free ad targeting technology – in January 2013.


Forrester Wave: Platforms, Commerce Companies Vie For Top Attribution Vendor Title

TinaMoffettConsidering two of the usual pure-play suspects in Forrester’s Cross-Channel Attribution Wave (Convertro and Adometry) were snapped up by AOL and Google on the very same day in May, its latest release Friday had all kinds of new implications – media neutrality and a platform mentality among them.

The report, authored by Forrester analyst Tina Moffett, included eight cross-channel attribution vendors: Abakus, AOL/Convertro, eBay Enterprise, Google/Adometry, Marketing Evolution, MarketShare, Rakuten DC Storm and Visual IQ.

Forrester whittled an original list of 80 qualifiers down to the aforementioned eight. Moffett said the research firm put more of an emphasis on the technology piece of it and more or less eliminated those who were services focused.

“They had to be advanced and statistically based,” which knocked rules-based tools off the list, Moffett told AdExchanger. They also had to meet additional criteria around channel integration, which demanded those vendors be active and integrated across digital, offline and mobile touch points. And, hey – because you gotta make money – Forrester focused on vendors that grew their revenue by a 25% minimum between 2012 and 2013.


AppNexus Will Throttle Payments For Fraudulent Ads, Starting In Q2 2015

appnexus-fraudLast month AdExchanger reported on plans by AppNexus to roll out a "Certified Supply" stamp of approval for demonstrably valid impressions, and thereby cut off the flow of spend to impressions that are fraudulent, nonviewable or otherwise undesirable.

The certified program came amid growing industry concerns about the persistence of fraud in the AppNexus supply.

On Wednesday at AppNexus' New York summit, CEO Brian O'Kelley detailed how the program will work and named partners and fraud vendors that will collectively create a definition of fraud that can be applied across all its supply – and then enforce that definition.

The Certified program will use AppNexus' own fraud-detection technology in concert with two third-party ad verification vendors: DoubleVerify and Integral Ad Science. Beginning in the second quarter of 2015, when AppNexus or its buy-side partners use either vendor to ferret out fraudulent or invalid impressions, the buyer will not pay for that supply and the seller will not receive payment for it. (AppNexus left the door open to accepting other anti-fraud firms in the future.)

What's more, AppNexus has secured buy-in from a handful of key partners on the sell side, including its two most prominent "frenemies," PubMatic and Rubicon Project. Whenever a bid passes through AppNexus to one of its publisher customers, the two SSP platforms have agreed not to receive payment on that customer's behalf.


Q3: Criteo Celebrates First IPO Birthday With Record Revenue, Client Growth

criteoIt’s been one year since Criteo went public and the overall growth experienced by the company last quarter is holding steady.

The French retargeting firm announced a 71.9% year-over-year uptick in revenue in Q3 2014 to roughly $243 million. (Full earnings release.)

Part of that sustained growth is thanks to Criteo’s expanding client base, which increased by 450 during the third quarter to 6,581. Key customer wins in the Americas include Travelocity and Criteo also added new relationships to its publisher base, bringing the total to more than 8,000 direct publisher relationships.

Although Criteo saw marked YoY growth in global revenue – 51% in EMEA and 70% in the Asia-Pacific region – growth in the Americas was particularly explosive, up 97% in Q3 2014 versus Q3 2013 to nearly $29 million. Criteo CEO and co-founder Jean-Baptiste Rudelle attributes the increase, at least in part, to continued roll-outs of new tech and products, as well as Criteo’s “obsession with performance.”

“At the end of the day, clients are not looking for 50 different solutions,” Rudelle told AdExchanger about an hour before the company’s Q3 earnings call Tuesday. “They want one mobile turnkey solution.”


AOL’s Cross-Device Solution Aims To Cure The Advertiser’s Attribution Headache

AOLcross-device(2)If an advertiser runs a mobile campaign, but the targeted consumer doesn’t convert on her mobile device, that doesn’t mean the campaign failed.

Chad Gallagher, director of mobile at AOL Platforms, has been trying to convince brands of this for quite some time, and it’s one reason that AOL introduced One, a platform that incorporates device-linking and geo-targeting capabilities through AOL's video platform Adapt.TV and its ad management platform AdLearn Open Platform (AOP). That's live right now. Starting in February 2015, AOL will integrate Adapt.TV and AOP with attribution through Convertro.

Cross-device advertising couldn't be hotter right now, as evidenced by Facebook's rerelease of Atlas in September, a platform that leverages logged in user data to support persistent tracking. With One, AOL is beefing itself up to be a cross-device contender on the people-based advertising circuit. 

AOL first gave a hint about what it was planning back in March when it rebranded AOL Networks as AOL Platforms and rolled out a variety of programmatic capabilities through its Adapt.TV and AOP. That was the first step towards bringing One to market.

“Today we have AOP and Adapt.TV and Convertro, the attribution company we acquired about six months ago,” Gallagher told AdExchanger. “What we’ll be releasing in Q1 is the next step – a single platform where you can run campaigns in AOP and Adapt.TV and use Convertro across everything to help you understand your marketing. That’s what One is all about.”

AOL’s One will use a combination of deterministic and statistical models to reach consumers with what it claims to be a 93% match rate. Deterministic data will come courtesy of users who log directly into AOL sites like AOL Mail or The Huffington Post, as well as via third-party publishers that pass along logins from opted-in users.


Q3: Neustar’s Marketing Services Rockets Ahead – Just Not Fast Enough

neustar q3If Neustar were only a marketing services provider – that is, if it weren't at risk of losing a contract that brought in 49% of its 2013 revenue – then the company would be on solid ground.

Its Q3 revenue increased 7% YoY to $243.9 million and its marketing services division – an area of growing investment for the company – popped at 21% YoY to $37.5 million.

Q3 highlights for Neustar’s marketing services unit include Facebook’s September relaunch of the Atlas ad server, which uses Neustar’s Measurement Insights platform – “the only one of its kind to be integrated,” said Neustar CEO Lisa Hook during the earnings call.

Neustar also partnered with three mobile ad tech companies in September – Adelphic, NinthDecimal, and Voltari – which Hook said provides Neustar with “a comprehensive look at mobile consumers.”

Finally, Neustar partnered with comScore to give its marketing stack PlatformOne the ability to determine how long audiences engaged with ads and whether those ads were viewable.

Thus far, Neustar’s business as an end-to-end marketing services provider seems to be in good shape, with growth coming “across the board,” according to CFO Paul Lalljie.

Facebook's Q3: Sustaining Ad Revenue Growth, And Seizing On Ad Tech

facebook-earnings-q3-2014Facebook's Q3 ad revenue grew 64% in the third quarter, beating Wall Street expectations during a period when the company rapidly pressed its advantage in advertising technology.

Between July 1 and September 30, Facebook announced plans to acquire video sell-side platform LiveRail, ramped up volume on its Facebook Audience Network,  and rolled out a cross-device identity solution baked into its rebuilt Atlas ad server.

None of those investments, with the possible exception of FAN, had a major impact on Facebook's revenue during the period. Similarly, Facebook has yet to scale auto-play video ads in the News Feed. So it would seem the company has considerable room to run from an ad revenue standpoint.

Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg emphasized that Facebook is playing a long game in ad tech.

"We recognize that by staffing engineers in these strategic ad tech areas, we forego shorter term product improvements which would generate revenue more quickly. We believe this is the right decision,' she said.

Sandberg said the company's interest in ad tech was driven by a need for better tools in mobile.

Adobe Injects ‘Real Time’ Into Real-Time Email Remarketing

kerry reilly adobeAbout a year after Adobe nixed CPM-based email pricing models in favor of customer profile fees, Adobe Campaign (formerly Neolane) has rolled out email remarketing designed to predictively recover lost revenue from abandoned shopping carts.

Email remarketing is Campaign’s first integration with Adobe Analytics (formerly Omniture and SiteCatalyst) and builds on its first point of entry into Adobe Marketing Cloud – Adobe Experience Manager.

About 120 clients use both Analytics and Campaign, which drove the decision to connect the two.

“We see a lot of replatforming, where companies with legacy ESP [email service provider] and CRM and campaign-management systems all sit in siloed databases and there’s data synchronization issues,” said Kerry Reilly, a director of product marketing for Adobe Campaign. Adobe’s goal is to connect anonymous data from acquisition marketing with CRM data about known users.

Other marketing clouds share this goal. is trying something similar by integrating ExactTarget and a new Web analytics tool. (See AdExchanger coverage of Adobe and’s Marketing Cloud suites.)


Teradata’s Integrated Marketing Cloud: Not Totally Integrated, But Still A Strong Performer

TeradataIntegratedMarketingCloudWhat do you think of when you hear the words “marketing cloud?” Most likely, your mind conjures up Adobe, Salesforce, Oracle. Maybe even IBM.

Then there’s Teradata.

As noted in the first Forrester Wave evaluating enterprise marketing software suites (aka marketing clouds) released Tuesday, Teradata is more often recognized for its data warehousing solutions.

Over the years, Teradata acquired a handful of companies to build its Integrated Marketing Cloud, including campaign management from Aprimo and email marketing from the German company eCircle.

It more recently bought digital creative agency Ozone Online and several social media monitoring services from Argyle Social with an eye on enabling “personalized messaging and centralized data in one place across platforms,” said Darryl McDonald, president of Teradata Marketing Applications, speaking on stage at the company’s 2014 Partners conference in Nashville this week.

“The goal,” he said, “is to bring together marketing strategy with the process automation and applications” required to integrate customer data and online activity for better return on investment. “That’s what the Teradata Integrated Marketing Cloud is all about.”

Of course, that’s what every marketing cloud ostensibly is all about. 

So, how is Teradata marketing cloud different and, more to the point, what’s in there, exactly?


Facebook Reorgs PMD Program, Adding Agencies And More Partner Categories

bye-bye-badgesFacebook is unraveling its preferred marketing developer (PMD) program, its platform for organizing and referring key partners to prospective advertisers. In its place will be a new classification system, called simply Facebook Marketing Partners (FMP, for the acronym-addicted), with no badges but with a list of nine "specialties" – including ad tech, content marketing, and data providers – designed to highlight specific competencies.

Among the most significant changes: Facebook will dump its strategic marketing partner (sPMD) designation, at one time a recognition of all-around mastery of Facebook's toolset for marketers, as well as an unspoken "pat on the back" for vendors driving significant spend to the Facebook platform.

But over time the sPMD badge became an "opaque signal," in Facebook's words. It came to signify that a partner is "good," without answering "what at?" Companies currently basking in the sPMD spotlight will be relocated to other specialty buckets.

"We felt like the 'S' had served a tremendous purpose for a while," said Blake Chandlee, VP global partnerships at Facebook. "The message was, these people are good at what they do. We could add a whole bunch of people, but then it destroys the original intent, which was to help clients understand who can help them with specific needs."

In the end, getting to "specific needs" required a system of nine specializations. They are: (more…)