Ad verification sprinted into 2022 with several notable deals. Human raised $100 million, and Integral Ad Science (IAS) snapped up French contextual advertising company Context, both during the first week of the year.
There’s a theme behind this activity: Both IAS and DoubleVerify went public last year, putting the ad verification space in the spotlight. (A third major player, Moat, is part of public company Oracle).
While many of these companies fueled their initial growth by stoking fear over ad fraud and unviewable inventory, they’re now pushing into new territory. Human has spotted new areas where bots thrive, such as ecommerce sneaker drops (really), and contextual advertising – both for brand safety and cookieless targeting – is another area of growth. And all of these companies have their eye on CTV, where ads can play while a TV screen is dark.
Speaking of TV, NBCUniversal revealed the next phase of its data play, NBCUnified, this week. The programmer’s 150 million IDs have been organized into a first-party data platform, sprinkled with third-party data and stuffed with details from the billions of interactions NBCU observes through these profiles. Marketers can dock their data via a clean room that emphasizes interoperability.
Could this be the new model for a first-party data platform? We talk about what’s on the horizon for CTV during the first episode of The Big Story in 2022.