WebMD Parent Company Internet Brands to Acquire PulsePoint

WebMD and Medscape parent company Internet Brands is set to acquire PulsePoint, a New York-based programmatic platform focused on healthcare marketers.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed. The acquisition is set to close in early June following regulatory approvals.

Healthcare and pharmaceutical marketers’ digital advertising spend grew over 14% in 2020 and is expected to surpass $11 billion this year, according to eMarketer.

The deal accelerates Internet Brands expansion into the healthcare marketing technology space, and PulsePoint provides its first programmatic solution for healthcare marketers. While clients could previously buy inventory on WebMD’s site programmatically, it lacked a platform to facilitate that buying.

“From an advertiser perspective, they will want to continue to advertise in content on our site,” WebMD CFO Blake DeSimone told AdExchanger. “But reaching those important audiences off of WebMD and Medscape is also of interest to them, programmatic buying is of interest to them and PulsePoint helps us deliver those types of solutions for our advertising partners.”

PulsePoint also lets WebMD provide analytics about the effectiveness of each campaign. Plus, advertisers can use PulsePoint to continue to reach audiences as they journey off WebMD.

The deal will also prepare Internet Brands for a cookieless future by using PulsePoint’s advanced privacy-focused targeting capabilities.

“Within healthcare, there's nothing more paramount than privacy, things like data usage opt-in, opt-out consent,” PulsePoint CEO Sloan Gaon told AdExchanger. “What WebMD and Internet Brands has is full opt-in consent – they reach huge swathes of the United States population and have access to more than 800,000 physicians, or more than 80% of the marketplace, and they have consent from all of those players.”

PulsePoint has 135 employees and was formed in 2011. It uses machine learning to help advertisers deliver personalized messaging across channels, but only launched its healthcare offering five years ago. Since then, PulsePoint has experienced rapid growth – and was looking for investors. The company did not disclose revenue, but said that it is profitable and that since 2016 its compound annual growth rate is 122%.

Its buy-side tech is exclusively focused on healthcare marketers, while its supply side offering is used by thousands of publishers. The company's programmatic exchange will continue to service demand- and supply-side partners and Internet Brands' portfolio of auto, home and travel, legal and diversified media brands, and its health specific technologies.

PulsePoint works with 80% of the leading healthcare agencies like Publicis Health Media and top Fortune 500 pharma companies like Bayer.

PulsePoint and Internet Brands had worked with each other for several years and share many clients. Internet Brands has a number of different verticals, and healthcare is the largest.

PulsePoint will continue to operate independently, and Gaon said Internet Brands will invest heavily in the business and potentially double its headcount in the next few years.

“Internet Brands saw that they needed this technology – as their biggest advertisers move to programmatic, they want to have the best in breed technology and data analytics to provide those clients,” Gaon said.

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