InfoSum Clinches $65M In Funding; Outbrain Holds First Earnings Since IPO

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The InfoSum Of Its Parts

The data onboarding startup InfoSum raised $65 million at a valuation of $300 million, up from a $100 million tag a year ago when the company landed a $15 million investment. Ad tech companies have been capitalizing in investor interest in “data privacy” solutions and have reconfigured CTV, contextual advertising and mobile data services as privacy-related businesses. IRIS.TV and GumGum are recent examples, as well as InfoSum. “This is a sea change in how companies are thinking about relationships to customers and the way they use data,” InfoSum CEO Brian Lesser told The Wall Street Journal. “Governments will continue to take an interest in this. I do think this wave is building and ultimately will crest.” [Related in AdExchanger: InfoSum North American President Lauren Wetzel spoke earlier this year about the company’s approach to identity and data onboarding.]

Outta This World

Fresh off its July IPO, the content recommendation company Outbrain reported its first quarterly earnings. Outbrain’s Q2 revenue increased 57% year-over-year to $247.2 million, while profitability flipped from a $2.6 million loss a year ago to a net $15.2 million gain this quarter. Co-CEO David Kostman told investors that the company is “a driving force of the open web,” and that it helps media owners compete with Google and Facebook. Outbrain is leaning into its contextual ad products, as an alternative to cookie-based targeting. “We’ve been building and using contextual targeting technologies for about two decades now. Contextual … doesn’t use any cookies at all. That’s a very important strength for us going forward,” said Yaron Galai, the other co-founder and co-CEO. Outbrain’s shares traded down more than 12% after the earnings. [Related in AdExchanger: Outbrain’s CEO On Its IPO, Ad Quality And Why He Brushes Off The ‘Chumbox’ Label]

Play To Pay

Mobile gaming has coalesced around a free-to-play model that monetizes with ads and in-game payments. But game developers face an uncomfortable choice. Fewer people make in-game purchases now, and developers don’t want to dial up ad revenue for fear of losing players, according to a blog post by Dave Madden, president of Simulmedia’s gaming business PlayerWON. The biggest advertisers are also other mobile game companies trying to lure away players, creating a “treadmill business model” that boosts the revenues of mobile ad tech and walled garden platforms, but isn’t sustainable for developers. Even Fortnite, the most popular free-to-play mobile game ever, has seen its rate of users who make in-game payments drop from 22% in 2018 to below 10% this year. Simulmedia’s pitch is for rewarded video ads that users can watch (or play, at least) in exchange for an in-game prize. It’s a tough balance, because rewarded videos might offer similar incentives as in-game payments – unlock a new level, say, or gain some new equipment – and that is still a big business, even if only a couple percent of users purchase anything.

But Wait, There’s More!  

Reddit and the NFL extend their content and sponsor partnership. [Adweek]

A brief history of Squarespace’s in-house agency and creative approach. [Marketing Brew]

YouTube’s chief business officer on TikTok, shopping and future deals. [The Information]

Most small and midsize businesses run on outdated software suites. [HBR]

You’re Hired

Amazon tapped Mike Muriano as executive producer of live sports for Prime Video. [The Hollywood Reporter]

Dashlane named Dhiraj Kumar as chief marketing officer. [release]

Major League Baseball hired Karin Timpone as CMO. [Adweek]

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