RSS FeedArchive for the ‘Platforms’ Category

AppNexus Buys Paris-Based Viewability Firm Alenty

appnexus-alentyTwo months after the Media Ratings Council (MRC) green-lighted viewable impressions as a viable metric for transacting display ads, real-time bidding platform AppNexus has acquired French viewability vendor Alenty for an undisclosed sum.

The deal closed Monday, AppNexus confirmed to AdExchanger.

Paris-based Alenty was founded in 2007 by CEO Laurent Nicolas and CTO Nicolas Thomas. It claims to have been the first company to measure in-view impressions. Since then, its niche has been flooded with competitors, including comScore, Google, C3 Metrics, DoubleVerify and Integral Ad Science. In all, 11 viewability vendors have been accredited by the MRC.

But the technology has been legally contentious. In 2012 comScore sued three of its rivals  DoubleVerify, Integral Ad Science and Moat – for infringement of its intellectual property around viewability. The last of those lawsuits was settled in late 2013.


Marin Software Acquires Perfect Audience For $23M

marin-perfectOnline advertising-management provider Marin Software has acquired retargeting platform Perfect Audience for $22.8 million.

The deal adds to Marin’s social media and display advertising retargeting arsenal and to the flurry of funding rounds, IPOs and acquisitions in the retargeting space over the past year.

San Francisco-based Perfect Audience was founded under the Y Combinator seed accelerator program in 2012 and quickly followed up with a $1.1 million funding round that year.

Perfect Audience’s core product has supported retargeting campaigns on Facebook Exchange, and support has been added for Google DoubleClick, Twitter and other ad exchanges. The company targeted startups and small ad agencies as customers, a market it said was underserved by enterprise-focused retargeting platforms.

Marin said in a statement the deal “expands its cross-channel capabilities, adding new programmatic display and social advertising functions while strengthening its audience targeting tools. Real-time search intent data will be combined with behavioral and other data sources to drive audience buying and retargeting across Facebook, Twitter, mobile and other display ad placements.”


Facebook Programmatic Whiz Jonathan Shottan Jumps To Pinterest (And TellApart)

pinterest-jonathan-shottanNeed more proof Pinterest is preparing for a big monetization push? The social platform has hired Jonathan Shottan, a former Facebook ad product exec who led Facebook Exchange and due diligence on ad tech M&A.

Shottan, who has also signed on as an adviser to TellApart, joins Pinterest as product manager for advertising. His first day was Monday.

According to a Pinterest representative, the company has no specific intention to roll out a private exchange bidding platform a la Facebook Exchange, and Shottan's role will be focused on assessing the impact of campaigns that run on the platform. 

"He will be focusing broadly to start on measurement and reporting," the spokesperson said. "We have no plans to build an ad exchange."

That could mean putting in place partnerships with offline data matching companies such as Datalogix, to attribute offline conversions back to media impressions on Pinterest. It could also mean doing similar measurement through direct relationships with retailers' point of sale systems, loyalty programs and branded credit cards.


FYQ1: Sees Cloud Strength, Alludes (Slightly) To Future M&A Potential reported fiscal first-quarter 2015 revenue of $1.23 billion, up 37% year over year at 11 cents per share. This beat analyst estimates of $1.21 billion at 10 cents per share. (Earnings release) added significant head count – more than 900 – to its employee base this quarter. This was up 38% year over year; now has 14,200 employees.

“We have a lot of other great growth drivers, especially with our Service Cloud, Marketing Cloud and (Salesforce1 mobile-first) platform, but our flagship sales product remains a dominant part of the company’s success,” said CFO Graham Smith on’s earnings call.

Although continued to tout the importance of cross-cloud integration across client portfolios, there was one marked difference on Tuesday’s earnings call than preceding ones – the company did not break out revenues by product.

For the sake of a reference point, the ExactTarget Marketing Cloud drove $96 million in FYQ4 revenue; it was $81 million the prior quarter. This could be indicative of’s (and others') intentions to unify or, at least, present a unified front to customers and potential customers that want to go the suite route. In the case of, this means broadening product sell-in beyond “cloud” boundaries.


Marketing Tech Company Captora Raises $22 Million Series B

CaptoraStandalone marketing technology platform Captora has raised $22 million in Series B financing.

The company, co-founded by the former chief revenue officer of independent marketing automation platform Marketo, claims to siphon in-site demand data to flag the highest potentially performing areas for a marketer to put their dollars.  The latest round of funding will go toward product development and to fuel international expansion.

“We wanted to build a platform that was context-aware and that helps marketers show the ROI on the spend they’re putting into content,” said Paul Albright, co-founder and CEO of Captora.

“A lot of people are putting money into work flows,” Albright said, but the focus at Captora is determining what content works for what persona across a variety of locations and verticals.

The round was led by New Enterprise Associates with support from existing investor Bain Capital Ventures. Captora’s Series A round, which it closed last March, was valued around $5 million.


Taking Orders: Rubicon Project Joins The Direct Deals Pack

rubicon-directRubicon Project is the latest ad tech company to support automation of direct deals. Its first product in this area, called 49bc, will focus on mobile inventory only. Later this year it expects to add support for desktop and video to the toolset, which is still in private beta.

Rubicon is one of about 10 platform companies channeling R&D into the so-called "orders" business. Among its competition in this area are AppNexus, Mediaocean, Google, PubMatic, OpenX, iSocket, and ShinyAds.

Rubicon previously supported guaranteed ad deals through its Connect private exchange product, which first rolled out in 2012. The company says 49bc is an evolution of Connect in that Rubicon will for the first time support sellers' direct negotiations with agencies from the media discovery phase through execution.

Rubicon breaks the whole ad marketplace into three basic transaction types:  static bidding of the sort pioneered by Right Media and other early exchanges; real-time bidding (RTB) against individual user impressions; and orders. Orders is a very large bucket that includes TV, radio, print, out of home and potentially any other paid media transaction.

While 49bc’s exclusive mobile focus seems a long way from capturing that opportunity, Rubicon had to start somewhere.


Emerging Content Marketing Tool Stacks Will Emulate, Link To Paid Ad Stacks

rebecca liebResearch from Altimeter Group released Tuesday predicted that content marketing tools will begin to consolidate and eventually merge with marketing tech solutions.

"The major vendors—Adobe, Salesforce, Oracle—they're all talking about their marketing clouds. What is that? It is an amalgam of the tools they're compiling that cover everything involved with ads,  creative, targeting, serving and analytics and optimization," said Rebecca Lieb, analyst with Altimeter and author of the firm's comprehensive content marketing report out today. "Correspondingly, we're seeing this happen with content and the reason we're seeing it happen with content is that there's a growing understanding that content is the atomic particle of all marketing."

The report involved researching 100 different content marketing tool vendors for the report, as well as interviewing content marketing executives.

Despite the importance of brand-created and curated content, the vendor landscape is highly fragmented. Altimeter identified separate tools to support creation, curation and aggregation, optimization, analytics, audience and targeting, distribution, workflow, legal and compliance. Currently there's considerable overlap between the categories and many organizations today are buying the same functionalities over and over again as a result.


Is Adobe Priming A Bigger Push In Display And Social Advertising?

adobe-displayIf Oracle will flaunt the tight integration of its Marketing Cloud, so too will Adobe. The company, at its Digital Marketing Summit EMEA in London Wednesday, revealed (among other Marketing Cloud enhancements) tighter integration between its Media Optimizer and Analytics applications. In so doing, Adobe seems to be in the early stages of positioning itself as a player in the display and social advertising space.

This would also explain why the company is emphasizing its partnerships with media sources like Turn, Pubmatic, Rubicon Project, FBX, Microsoft and Yahoo.

To be fair, these are not new partnerships, but Adobe is making a concerted effort to showcase them.

“People don’t understand Adobe is in the advertising business,” said Adobe’s director of product marketing Tim Waddell. “We need to make sure we’re in search, display and social business. We have one of the best optimization engines in the market.”

That optimization engine is Media Optimizer, which has 500 global customers and manages $2 billion in ad spend. Adobe is acutely aware that this application is commonly associated with managing search bids. “We are actively pursuing display and social business and we need to grow those channels,” Waddell said.


Facebook Ad Partner Nanigans Commits To SaaS, COO Marc Grabowski Departs

nanigans-saasChanges are afoot at Nanigans, as the Facebook ad partner repositions to serve in-house marketers strictly on a software subscription basis. The company has stopped signing new managed services business and will focus on getting its self-serve platform into the hands of marketers in the ecommerce and app verticals.

As part of this singular focus on self-serve, the Boston-based company is parting ways with its COO Marc Grabowski. Marketing SVP Dan Slagen has also left the building.

Reached by AdExchanger, both Grabowski and Nanigans CEO Ric Calvillo couched Grabowski's exit in terms of "strategic differences" over the future of the company. The key difference appears to be that while Grabowski saw continued opportunity to scale managed services (read: insertion order-based) revenue, Calvillo thinks the company had to choose between a managed services and self-serve software model.


IgnitionOne: Bridging The Unknown And The Known

Will-Margiloff-IgnitionOneWhen ad tech company IgnitionOne acquired data-management platform (DMP) Knotice, did it become a marketing cloud?

CEO Will Margiloff would say the company was one even before. In the most literal sense, he’s right: “We decided back in 2011, well before anyone talked about marketing clouds, that you need to integrate the disparate pieces of marketing and ad tech into a single stack.”

Still, one would be hard-pressed to position IgnitionOne in direct competition with the marketing clouds fielded by enterprise tech giants like, Oracle and Adobe. IgnitionOne’s background, after all, is in providing solutions that help manage a marketer’s paid assets. To this end, it has most in common with Adobe, which has a Media Optimizer application within its suite.

The weakness Margiloff identifies in the other marketing clouds is their collective inability to follow the trajectory of anonymous online visitors as they become known prospects. That is: Nurture a prospect who visits a website multiple times to the point where he becomes a known converter, and continue following that relationship. Integrating the Knotice DMP is a major component of realizing that vision.

Margiloff spoke with AdExchanger.