Acquired by Valassis; Viewability Extends To PubMatic; Gradient X Launches DSP

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Direct-mail, newspaper coupon marketing, and, yes, digital ad company Valassis announced the acquisition of online ad network yesterday to enhance its “Valassis Audience Network, the components of an expansive network of online and offline data, state-of-the-art ad serving and targeting technology, come together.” Read more. All Things D’s Peter Kafka broke the news, “A source familiar with the deal pegs the purchase price at less than $50 million; raised a reported $27 million, primarily from Interwest and Norwest Venture [Partners].” And, read the release. To give some context to Valassis, it has been dipping its toes in digital and display waters for a while now. For example, two years ago Valassis made a deal with Yahoo! to sell local display – see that AdExchanger Q&A with John Lieblang who has since left the company.

Viewability And The Sell-Side

PubMatic announced that it will integrate comScore’s viewability product into its publisher-side app platform. comScore Validated Campaign Essentials is essentially the next generation of AdXpose (which was acquired in August 2011) and other comScore enhancements. The idea with this deal is that publishers who sell through PubMatic will be linked to buyers who want to buy according to comScore’s viewability-influenced metrics. Read more. The comScore web extends.

Tuning Facebook Frequency

Omnicom’s Resolution Media and buying platform Kenshoo announced the results of a new study about Facebook ads. Stick this in your algo: “The ideal Frequency Rate for ads across Facebook platforms – once a user has seen the ad seven times, there is a dramatic drop in engagement.” Read the release. And, download the white paper (pay with some PII). Another finding is higher CTR means lower CPC for facebook ad buyers. But does a click translate into real value (ROAS) for the advertiser? Ahhh, that’s the question.

Dropping The Pixel

AdExchanger was surfing the real-time advertising web yesterday and came across a few videos on the Google DoubleClick Ad Exchange and its real-time bidding protocol. These videos are “old” webinars and may have been around for months, but there are some interesting tidbits, basics and real-time, ads fun. Did you know that “AdX” has less of a match rate than other exchanges? Google says its because “buyers match pixels are more prevalent on other ad exchanges” and publishers don’t like pixels slowing their sites and stealing (my words) their audience data. Only the winning bid in a display auction gets to drop a pixel on AdX – unlike other exchanges where evidently other non-winning bidders can toss in their pixel – says Google. View the videos. UPDATE: Google has since updated the landing page for the videos to indicate that “some” of the videos are “out of date”.

Birth Of A DSP

A press release trumpet the initial funding for a company called Gradient X which says its a mobile demand-side platform. The release discusses the team: “The company is led by Brian Baumgart-CEO (Chief Strategy Officer at Adconion Direct), Julie Mattern-CIO (Co-founder and Chief Technologist at the Rubicon Project) and Michael Lum-CTO (Head of Engineering at OpenX), and will use the funds to expand its engineering team.” Read more.

Purple Power

In a post on iMedia Connection, Underdog Media’s Jeff Hirsche is a Yahoo believer as Michael Barrett taking the Yahoo CRO role shows light at the end of the tunnel. Hirsch writes, “A smart publisher with this kind of clout can truly leverage opportunities in the marketplace. First, they have a chance to truly claim the position as the premier guaranteed inventory property on the web. With an effective sales force, Yahoo can leverage sponsorships, large formats, creative executions, video, etc. at premium CPMs like no other. The quality AND the scale are there.” Read more.

Times Gets Tech Board

The New York Times announced two new board members of interest to the tech world. Joichi Ito, director of the Media Lab at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and former Microsoft exec and aQuantive CEO (currently a VC at Madrona) Brian McAndrews will take seats on the NYT’s Board of Directors. Read it. paidContent founder Rafat Ali tweeted in reference to the NY Times CEO vacancy, “Brian McAndrews & Joi Ito join NYTCo board, tech heavies. Clearly means new CEO won’t be.” The Guardian (irony!) says its a BBC exec. Read it.

DNT Machinations

On Ad Age, Lotame COO and GM Andy Lehman reviews the Do-Not-Track machinations and sees a solution. He writes, “even in the absence of a ‘magic privacy button’ the combination of existing laws and regulations and market incentives will discipline companies that abuse consumer data. The end result? A long list of consumer benefits generated by advances in Big Data, with a continuing residue of vague consumer unease even in a DNT-on world.” Read it all.

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