Teads Acquires Brainient To Boost Interactive Video

bertrandOn the heels of raising $47 million last month, Teads has acquired the interactive video platform Brainient to further expand its video ad operation in the US, Europe and Asia.

Although London-based Brainient is strongest in the UK, France and Nordic markets, its US ambitions made Teads a logical buyer.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed, but Brainient’s team of 30 employees, including co-founder and CEO Emi Gal, will join Teads and form a standalone business division called Teads Studio.

Teads Studio will act as an interactive video service, allowing publishers or brands to create newer video ad formats, such as vertical or 360-degree video units.

Publisher demand for vertical video has been off the charts as they clamor to replicate Snapchat-like video experiences on their own properties, claims Teads CEO Bertrand Quesada.

“Brands, agencies and publishers who use Teads for outstream will be able to go to market and sell personalized vertical video, interactive and 360-degree video to customers [directly],” Quesada said. “[Brainient was] just a logical extension of our platform.” 

Teads, whose clients include Time Inc. and The Washington Post, had focused its efforts on outstream video sold mostly through direct deals.

That structure shifted as more exchanges began to support outstream. At last count, 30% to 40% of Teads’ revenue stemmed from programmatic deals, but Quesada expects to break even at 50% by the end of the year.

“When we [launched outstream] back in 2011, every year was supposed to be the year of mobile, but mobile wasn’t big in terms of consumption of media,” he said. “Now, 70% of consumers connect to our publishers through a mobile platform.”

Although Quesada doesn’t classify Brainient as an ad server – it’s more of a dynamic creative tool tailored for video and mobile, he claims – the company did compete with DCO companies and other interactive video ad platforms for brand and agency business.

In buying Brainient, Teads hopes to merge the creative, media and data demands of interactive video, particularly in mobile.

Although Teads had publisher scale, Brainient will help it improve personalization by combining the creative context of an ad with its own audience targeting.

For instance, an insurance advertiser may embed a lead form to obtain a mortgage quote within a video ad and target it to a specific subset of prospects. Or, a retailer might want to serve different video ads for winter coats with varying degrees of insulation based on the weather forecast.

That capability isn’t new, since companies like Eyeview and Spongecell have tackled the problem for years, but Quesada thinks increased mobile demand presents an opportunity for Teads to expand.

“When you serve a consumer interactive elements within the video based on who the person is, where they are or what the weather’s like, we find brand recall and performance [related to] a person’s intent is much better,” he said.

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