Innovid Acquires Contextual Data Specialist Taykey

The interactive video ad server Innovid has acquired Taykey, a company that uses machine learning to extract contextual information about video, text and images to help inform ad buys.

Terms of the deal, announced Thursday, were not disclosed.

Innovid, which has 220 employees, will take on half – or about 20 members – of Taykey’s team, mostly in product and engineering roles.

The remaining 20 in duplicative sales, marketing, human resources or administrative roles will not join Innovid, though Taykey says it’s “committed to helping any employees affected by the acquisition search for new opportunities.”

Both companies have a presence in Israel, which made Taykey an attractive acquisition option, according to Innovid CEO Zvika Netter.

The Taykey brand name will be retired and its assets and IP will be folded into the Innovid product suite.

Innovid looked at five companies this year, Netter said, but ultimately went with Taykey for its natural language-processing prowess and underlying technology.

Taykey will give Innovid more insight into the contextual relevance of videos beyond the creative and video engagement data it already has. 

That insight is becoming increasingly important as brands push beyond basic viewability and brand safety metrics in video to understanding the context in which their ads appear.

“We deliver about half a billion ads every day, and historically people didn’t look at the content surrounding those ads,” Netter said. “People don’t just care about whether an environment is brand safe or not. They want to see the correlation between video metrics like completions and engagement and the contextual relevance of the content.”

Taykey’s database houses an “encyclopedia” of about 200,000 content assets, gathered from social platforms and publisher sites. It uses machine learning to crunch multiple sources of data in real time and to build interest-based models based on consumer affinities.

“We scan tens of thousands of publisher sites, look at comments and … interpret what people talk about and what’s relevant for them,” said Taykey CEO Amit Avner. “We also see whether that content appeared as a video, text, or image.”

Innovid is not the only company seeking to leverage video metadata to improve its product. Nielsen’s acquisition of Gracenote reflects a similar opportunity.

Although Taykey previously described itself as a DSP, it evolved over the years to partner with a number of agency trading desks and data management platforms to feed its audience data into third-party platforms.

Innovid, however, is adamant that it won’t be dabbling in media activation anytime soon.

“While we have a relationship with DSPs, we’re extremely cautious of influencing media in any way,” Netter said. “One of our key value propositions is we’re [an ad server that’s] not owned by Google, nor do we own a DSP or an ad network that we call something else now. We’re not guiding media decisions in any way.”

Innovid has been profitable for two years and has raised $50 million to date.

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