Reaction: On Google’s Acquisition Of Invite Media

Google Buys Invite surveyed executives from the digital ad world regarding their opinion on the recent acquisition of Invite Media by Google which was announced yesterday.

What are your thoughts about Google’s acquisition of Invite Media?   Any concerns?

What does Google’s acquisition of InviteMedia mean?

What are your thoughts about Google’s acquisition of Invite Media?   Any concerns?

Matt Spiegel, CEO, Omnicom Media Group

I think this acquisition makes sense for Google. Google, via DoubleClick is fundamentally in the business of helping publishers and advertisers transact in both search and display (via DARTSearch and DFA/DFP); as more display dollars move to exchange and auction driven placements they certainly need to extend their solution set. This also points to the fact we really need to better define what the industry means by the term DSP. In my opinion a DSP is really a technology play focused on campaign management tools/functionality. Our trading business utilizes these technologies as simply one part of our solution; if Google, through its acquisition of Invite, pushes the capabilities of these companies forward faster, that will be good for us and our clients.

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Will Margiloff, Founder and co-CEO, Innovation Interactive, a Dentsu company

The deal itself is no real surprise, we had believed that someone like Google, Yahoo! etc would gobble up Invite. It makes strategic sense for Google – gives them a immediate way to 1) bring DoubleClick technology and inventory directly into the DSP space 2) increase their potential for Display dollars and 3) manage Display beyond just Google

We are curious to see how Search data will play into an Invite offering that is owned by Google. We obviously think having search and display data working together, for media optimization, analytics and attribution, makes a lot of sense. For the past three years, we have focused the majority of our divisional technology efforts along these lines.

Wonder how Google Analytics data will play into Invite?

One general concern, which would be not different than ones voiced previously, would be around Google having even further ownership of media dollars, plus Google now having access to a lot of data on competitor’s products like Right Media,, AdDesk etc.

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Bill Demas, CEO, Turn

My first thought is that this was obviously not unexpected. Second, this move is great validation of the DSP space. Third, it solidifies Turn’s strategy to build a highly scalable agnostic platform that integrates all best-in-breed technologies, data and inventory for elite marketers. Fourth, it will be interesting to see how agencies, brands, and publishers react to Google’s on-going consolidation of demand technology and inventory across search and display channels.

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Tim Ogilvie, CEO,

I’m amazed at how quickly Google has moved to acquire solutions along the entire value chain. From DFP/Adsense to Invite/AdWords they’re now connecting supply to demand with an integrated technology solution. As they start to flex their muscles, I expect they will introduce efficiencies that are desperately needed and leave a trail of dead or dying companies in their wake.

You bet I’m concerned! I think the next six months will be critical. If competitors continue to dither, Google will wrap up display as they’ve done with search and that leads to a much less dynamic market. I think both agencies and publishers understand this. The real question will be whether they act on it.

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Zach Coelius, CEO, Triggit

First, congrats to Zach, Nat and the rest of the Invite team, my hat is off to you gentlemen. I think the Invite acquisition is a great testament to how seriously Google is taking real time bidding (RTB) and the dsp space. RTB is here to stay and it is the new platform for digital media buying. The players who have been sitting on the sidelines waiting and hoping that it goes away now really need to figure out their RTB strategy.

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Eran Shir, CTO, Dapper

The display market has seen tremendous M&A activity in the past 6 months, and we view Google’s acquisition of Invite Media as the first step in the transformation of the ad exchanges themselves. Through this, you can easily imagine a future where exchanges are interconnected through a single platform, giving advertisers more visibility and efficiency in their display media buying. We congratulate Nat and the entire Invite Media team on their success, and we’re pleased to see such a strong validation of the power and value of intelligent media buying.”

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Chris Sukornyk is CEO of Chango

First, congrats to Invite Media on the exit. The acquisition makes a great deal of sense for anyone seriously looking at entering display; and Google has not been shy about their intentions to enter display in a major way. The capabilities required to monitor billions of impressions per day and make pricing decisions in real time is a hard engineering problem. I think you will see that to operate in the display world you simply must have real-time buying capabilities and so this acquisition makes strategic sense.

Google does have a tricky line to walk by simultaneously operating both the supply side (the AdX Exchange) and the demand side (Invite Media). Essentially Google has the problem of answering to two masters with conflicting goals. On one hand their goal will be to optimize the supply side by earning as much revenue for publishers as possible. On the other hand, they have to please the demand side (advertisers) by buying media at the lowest cost possible. Time will tell if they can create an internal wall that keeps both sides happy. Certainly, as a DSP ourselves, we would like to see AdX retain neutrality and a fair marketplace for everyone to buy inventory at auction.

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Rob Leathern, CEO,

Congrats to Zach and Nat and team! Sounds like a good outcome for you guys.

There are certainly going to be some concerns about fairness from Google, (which it appears they are trying to address by bringing some transparency to things) but I don’t have any material concerns competitively about this. I believe we’re all still just scratching the surface of the “addressable-audience advertising” market (AAA, you heard it here first!): and there is still a lot of hard work ahead!

What does Google’s acquisition of InviteMedia mean?

Frost Prioleau, CEO,

Google’s acquisition of Invite Media means that Google recognizes the importance to advertisers of buying via exchanges and other sources of real time bidded inventory. Congrats to Zach and Nate and everyone at Invite Media for being rewarded for their pioneering efforts in the field. We wish them well!

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Mike Baker, CEO, DataXu

Google’s acquisition of a demand side platform means that the market is embracing “buy side” technologies in the digital advertising space. Advertisers and their agencies are seeing a DSP capability as a “must have” because it empowers them to target, value and optimize media spend independently of the sellers. I think buyers will be reluctant to, in essence, outsource their job to the largest media seller.

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Ajay Sravanapudi, CEO at LucidMedia

This is likely the start of a bigger consolidation in display media.  Our focus is still on executing against the truly exciting opportunities available to us today in the still emerging DSP space.  We believe there is a considerable amount of value to be had here and we are focused squarely on positioning our technology, products, and team as effectively as possible with agencies and advertisers.

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  1. A. Poster

    The biggest buyer just took out a meaningful player for next-to-nothing.

    (Google just paid $50MM for Aardvark, so picking up a DSP for $40MM with earn outs is a talent acquisition — not validation of the tech or traction to date.) Remember — Google throws off $25MM+ in free cash flow every day, so this is pennies to them… probably didn’t even require approval above the Director level.

    The deep pockets just placed their bet and established a low benchmark. Yahoo is a mess, MSFT is focused on search, the agency holding co’s won’t pony up a high multiple (why buy the cow when you can have the milk for near-free?) Who’s left? Adobe? Cisco?

    If you’re a DSP who that raised mega money and which hasn’t yet done a recap (I’m looking at you, Turn, AdChemy, Audience Science, et al), you’d better hope you turn profitable and big enough to exit with an IPO, because the exit options are suddenly a lot less attractive.

  2. J Wilson

    @A.Poster – Being in the VC world and having met with the companies you listed above, I can confidently tell you that their technologies are significantly more built out than Invite’s. From an infrastructure, data warehousing and integration standpoint, all 3 of those companies are leaps and bounds ahead of Invite.

    Truth is I think Invite has a smart team, some good relationships but a really simple (but effective) technology that was supporting a really poor business model (less than 10% margins in some cases), and it was easy for Google to take their bare bones technology and integrate into the Google infrastructure.

    Price they were paid is not truly indicative of the value of robust DSP business will be and I bet other’s will sell for a lot more in months and years to come.