Adobe Acquires Dynamic Creative Tech From Collective To Bolster Programmatic

adobeAdobe is shoring up its support for display ads with the acquisition of dynamic creative optimization (DCO) tech from Collective, called Ensemble.

The small technology pick-up, announced at the firm’s European summit in London on Wednesday, will give Adobe’s advertiser clients self-serve tools to build, customize and deploy ads through Adobe Media Optimizer in real time, and to do so across devices.

The acquisition follows Adobe’s self-described “big foray into programmatic” in early March, when Adobe updated Media Optimizer to scale its support for exchange-based media buying.

“With the growth of programmatic, we’re seeing more and more demand for deeper connections to content and to content assembly and delivery,” said Justin Merickel, senior director of advertising solutions at Adobe. “Adobe’s customers have been asking us to fill that need.”

Dynamic creative isn’t new – it was top of mind for companies like Dapper (acquired by Yahoo), Teracent (acquired by Google) and Adacado several years ago. Ensemble had its start four years ago as a self-serve offering from DCO firm Tumri, prior to Collective’s acquisition of Tumri in 2011 .

But Merickel says the rise of automation is causing a comeback.

“We’ve seen a resurgence in demand for that technology and it’s really tied into the growth of programmatic,” he said. Though there was demand for dynamic creative tools a couple years ago, he added, companies lacked a way to scale their solutions and connect data back to audiences.

That’s key when it comes to cross-channel advertising, according Merickel, and the ability to address mobile with HTML5 technology was part of the rationale for the acquisition.

DCO will be integrated with both Adobe Marketing Cloud solutions and its Core Services. Advertisers will be able to test content for effectiveness, and to add demographic and location-targeting parameters to determine what creatives resonate with specified audiences.

DCO does decisionning at the millisecond of impression delivery based on passed audience profile data Adobe collects, explained Adobe’s senior product manager of advertising solutions Kiyoshi Ihara.

For example, DCO could build ads on the fly for a retailer with a large catalog of inventory with, say, 5 million or 10 million SKUs to retarget. “It has the horsepower and the algorithms in place to satisfy that level of demand,” Ihara said.

Another example is travel advertising. DCO could build and deliver ads for various combinations of outbound/inbound flights, paired with hotel and rental car combinations in different destinations. DCO can also leverage geographic data, so if a bank is selling mortgages, DCO can tailor rates and a bank’s requirements by geo to create and execute copy.

Though some believe Adobe’s display efforts have lagged, Merickel thinks this acquisition begins to complete Adobe’s programmatic solution.

“When you look at the space and where some of the bigger players are starting to pivot into in terms of data management and analytics, we’re coming from absolute strength in search and were adding certain components around RTB that we think advantage us further,” he said.

DCO will be offered as a standalone product to complement Adobe’s programmatic buying functionality and will be available to advertisers later this year. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

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