GfK Group Acquires Knowledge Networks; Top Ad Spenders On Google; More App Stores

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Knowledge Networks Acquired

On Friday, market research company GfK Group announced the acquisition of ad effectiveness research company Knowledge Networks as yet another ecosystem company is assimilated. Knowledge Networks’ KN Dimestore has been in the same bucket as Vizu as both companies are looking for better ways to track the impact of ad spend especially as it relates to brands. From the GfK release, “In 2011, Knowledge Networks, which was backed by venture investors Oak Investment Partners, Alloy Ventures and Maveron, is expected to generate sales of around $58 million US.” Read it. No word on price. And, read a bit more from Research Magazine.

Google’s Top Spenders

Kantar Media has made its best guess on how the top ad spenders list looks for Google. As Ad Age’s Michael Learmonth writes, “Google likes to talk about display and brand advertising these days but the vast majority of its revenue still comes from its revolutionary core product: search.” Read it. IAC/InterActiveCorp is believed to be at the top of the list as its network of direct response advertiser properties are spending around $174 million in the the first 9 months of 2011, according to Kantar.

More App Stores

Following in the footsteps of companies such as Flite and AppNexus and their respective “app” stores, new startup and ad serving tech company Adzerk is getting into the act, too. TechCrunch’s Sarah Perez writes that about the new platform, AdOS: “The core idea (…) is to solve the challenge for publishers where there are too many ad serving tools available for use, leading to confusion. AdOS, and its ‘app store’ concept will help publishers find the tools they want, while also knowing that all those on the AdOS platform will work together.” Read it. And, read Ad Ops Insider’s Ben Kneen’s latest addition to the Adzerk blog on “Geotargeting 101.”

Agency VC Buys Audience

Agency VC kbs+p Ventures said that it will be putting money into Alan Pearlstein’s Cross Pixel Media ( Q&A). kbs+p’s Darren Herman says in the release, “[Cross Pixel’s] unique data offering enables agencies like ours and our brand clients to identify and access high value audiences for insights and to serve them advertising based on their specific interests.” Read about it. The total raise was about $1.5 million says Dow Jones’ VentureWire.

Types Of Tech Acquisitions

Entrepreneur Chris Dixon breaks down what he believes are the three types of acquisitions in tech. Dixon leads off with “Talent. When the acquirer just wants the team (generally just engineers and sometimes designers). As a rule of thumb, these acquisitions are priced at approximately $1M/engineer.” Hire 100 engineers and sell your tech company for $100 million? Read more – and the comments.

Premium And Non-Premium

A new digital magazine called “Yahoo! Insights 2011 Wrap-up” offers up recent company research in one place and reflects Yahoo!’s ambitions to serve the marketer with “premium” opportunities. A tidbit from a mobile study: “Half of consumers claim they purchase an item after researching it on their mobile phone, and 90% of mobile owners access the web from the retail store floor.” Read it. Meanwhile in a note to investors, Wall Street analyst Dan Salmon of BMO Capital Markets initiated coverage of Yahoo! saying in part, “On the non-guaranteed (aka Class 2 or remnant) display business, we are positive on the acquisition of interclick for the data management technology it will add, as well as a sales force that is strong in selling audience-based, real-time display ad programs. Moreover, Yahoo!’s push-back on display ad intermediaries should help it capture margin and gain better visibility into the opportunity with individual advertisers. So the degree of difficulty is high, but a clearer strategy is emerging.” Get it (PDF).

interclick Lawsuits

The shareholder lawsuits which came after interclick as acquired by Yahoo! have already been settled according to a piece by Phil Milford in Bloomberg last week. Milford writes, “Some shareholders sued Interclick directors in Delaware Chancery Court and state court in New York, saying the price was too low” in spite of the fact the acquisition price was 22% higher at the time. Now news on the sit Read it.

The Aol Sales Org

Ned Brody and Tim Armstrong are re-configufirng Brody’s lead sales role at Aol such what CRO Brody will remain responsible for all revenue but also be supported by newly-upped sales exec Jim Norton, who will guide efforts on the owned and operated front, and Don Kennedy, who continues to lead sales for Read more from All Things D’s Kara Swisher. Digiday’s Mike Shields writes, “It could be that Norton is the traditional brand-oriented sales guy AOL needed to complement Brody?” Read it.

Your Partners, Your Inventory

I can’t resist this… Cutting off intermediaries is not a display ad phenomenon alone as the New York Times’ Raphael Minder says that watchmaker Swatch Group is taking a turn toward premium with its yield management strategy. Minder writes, “The company will begin to cut back, and possibly eventually end, its sales of the inner workings [of its watches] to competitors to concentrate on producing watches with higher profit margins and to make sure it has enough supplies on hand for its own brands.” Read more.

Predictions 2012

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