Flashtalking Acquires Encore, Adds Attribution Services To Its Offering

FTencoresale_edited-1The ad server Flashtalking added attribution analytics to its platform Tuesday with the acquisition of Encore Media Metrics. The terms of the deal and valuation were not disclosed.

“We think there’s a real opportunity in the market by bringing together in a bundle all the options for online advertising programs,” said Flashtalking CEO John Nardone.

Flashtalking recently added cross-device functionality to its platform when it purchased Device[9] last September.

Nardone said Flashtalking last year also developed its own viewability solution, which, like Encore’s algorithmic attribution or Device[9]’s cross-device recognition, is available for an added cost.

“The question of build versus buy versus partner is something you face in ad tech,” he said. “You have to move fast to take advantage of the market.”

Encore will also continue to serve and build its roster of clients, said founder and CEO Steve Latham, who will be general manager of Encore by Flashtalking.

“We are holding to Flashtalking and Encore’s position as independent providers,” said Latham. “We will continue serving clients no matter what data set, and whether they use Flashtalking or other services.”

Responding to potential brand or agency RFPs, Encore will compete for independent attribution accounts just as Adometry by Google competes for accounts beyond its owner’s gates. Latham said in those competitive situations it’s a big advantage to have the support of a platform, which provides business development to win accounts and services teams afterward, compared to Encore’s team, which has fewer than 10 employees.

Latham acknowledged that as a standalone point solution, Encore would ultimately need to be part of a larger platform. “The friction of all the solutions, and forcing brands to cobble everything together, is a lot of effort and has prohibited the growth of independent attribution,” he said.

While Flashtalking and Encore emphasize their openness compared to ad tech stacks like Google, they’re still taking notes from the industry apex predator. Independent or not, bundling services enables better margins and makes it easier to grab a share of marketing budgets.

While Encore will be available a la carte, Nardone anticipates bundled discounts for clients using multiple Flashtalking products, just as there are scale discounts for those putting a lot of spend through its ad server.

The added services are also a key step for pulling holding company business and larger campaign budgets away from megaplatforms like Google and Facebook. Niall Skinner, head of ad operations at Havas and a Flashtalking customer, called the deal “a great move for Flashtalking into the attribution space” and said there’s an opportunity in the market for an independent ad server to provide advanced analytics on multichannel campaigns.

Nardone said Flashtalking has an aggressive agenda in 2016 to develop or buy category solutions that can be integrated as value (and price) add-ons. Areas where he’s interested in expanding this year include fraud detection, brand safety and cross-device targeting.

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