TV ad measurement provider iSpot.tv has acquired Ace Metrix, a company that screens and scores video advertising using a survey-based methodology.
The deal will help iSpot track both business outcomes and the brand impact of ad creative and media in real-time, including persuasion, likeability, watchability, purchase intent, brand recall and emotional factors.
Advertisers can use this type of data to inform their TV planning and buying process, something that isn’t being done today, said Sean Muller, iSpot’s CEO and founder.
“No one has integrated how people feel, who saw the ad and what happened as a result,” Muller said. “Now, for the first time, those things are coming together under a single platform.”
Muller declined to disclose terms for the mainly cash deal but did say that Ace Metrix has a loyal base of 100 large advertiser clients and generates “north of $10 million” in recurring annual revenues, with a 30% annual growth rate. iSpot used a combination of cash off of its balance sheet as well as other financing sources, he said.
With the acquisition of Ace, iSpot, whose client roster already includes P&G, T-Mobile and Google, now has access to annual contracts with more than 500 brands. iSpot’s ad measurement partners include Neustar, Oracle's Moat, The Trade Desk and OpenAp.
Ace, which gathers consumer sentiment before and immediately after an ad first airs, adds a missing component to iSpot’s offering by helping determine what resonates about an ad and why.
Integrating measurement from Ace into iSpot’s platform will give brands a more unified, granular understanding of audience reach, consumer attention and brand impact tied to the ROI on their TV and CTV advertising investments.
The two dashboards will be interoperable, said Muller, who noted that iSpot clients have been asking for the ability to layer branding impact into their overall measurement.
“There’re companies that do it today, but it’s very slow, [and] it takes weeks, if not months, to get results,” Muller said. “What Ace has innovated is the ability to do that in real time and in a syndicated manner so you can benchmark yourself against the competition.”
Though Ace and iSpot have worked together in the past for certain clients to track brand impact and perceptions, iSpot wanted to bring this capability in house so that clients don’t have to work with another company or vendor in order to connect their data, Muller said.
iSpot has a short- and long-term integration strategy planned. In Q1, all Ace measurements will be reported against iSpot creatives and iSpot data. In Q2, iSpot will begin rolling out products that leverage the combined assets of the companies. Though Ace is being fully merged, iSpot is retaining the Ace Metrix brand in its product suite to measure branding impact.
The deal was in the works before the pandemic hit, which Muller said bolstered the demand for Ace’s offerings as brands became more sensitive about their messaging, particularly in the midst of the social unrest over the summer – and now the riots at the US Capitol.
“That actually gave a pretty sizable boost to the Ace business because brands were doing a lot more testing and measurement of their creatives and also benchmarking,” he said. “They really wanted to understand what their competitors are messaging and how that was resonating.”
The deal comes on the heels of last month’s upgrade of iSpot’s Unified Measurement platform, which allows brands to utilize person-level, cross-screen ad measurement in real time and analyze the impact of CTV and linear impressions on business outcomes within 24 hours.
“Everything we do is cross platform now, whether its audience measurement, business outcomes and now brand impact,” Muller said. “With the combination with Ace, we have plans to roll out specific brand impact [measurement for] every streaming platform and across linear as well.”
Also on the docket for iSpot, Muller said, is a possible IPO in the years ahead. He’s also not ruling out additional M&A activity.
“We’re getting to a pretty sizable scale now where we’re starting to think about a potential IPO,” Muller said. “We’re always on the lookout for innovative companies and services that are very complementary to us, but all of this revolves around delivering market-leading and best in-breed solutions to the market place.”
The Ace deal will add 42 Ace employees to iSpot, bringing its total head count to 240. iSpot will retain Ace Metrix’s Los Angeles headquarters, adding to iSpot’s presence in Seattle, New York City and other cities across the US. Ace CEO Peter Daboll will join iSpot as chief strategy officer.