Thunder, a creative distribution platform, acquired creative AI and analytics company Adacus on Thursday, adding the ability to test, target and measure dynamic creative campaigns.
“Before this acquisition, our success was measured on creative production efficiencies: Are we producing more ads cheaper and faster?” said Victor Wong, CEO of Thunder. “[Adacus] puts us more in competition with ad servers like Flashtalking or Sizmek, [which] already put a greater emphasis on measurement and analytics.”
Deal terms were not disclosed. Adacus raised $2 million before the acquisition.
“As customers used us for creative agility, they increasingly asked for help with creative personalization and optimization,” Wong said. “We felt now was the right moment to expand our offering.”
Thunder has fully integrated Adacus’ machine learning, targeting and measurement technology into its platform and has hired its team of five employees. Absorbing Adacus marks a strategic shift for Thunder from a creative distribution and trafficking platform to a dynamic creative measurement and analytics company.
Adacus improves Thunder’s targeting capabilities by providing a cross-device ID graph with 200 million US devices for creative testing, as well as a machine learning tool that matches creative assets with the context of a site.
“Most people are still running impression-based testing models [for creative],” Wong said. “We’re able to understand who has seen an ad [across devices] when we do the test. That is unique in the marketplace.”
Adacus also makes Thunder one of the only vendors that can measure multitouch attribution for different creative exposures. Since Thunder controls distribution, it can use Adacus’s measurement capabilities to tie a specific piece of creative back to an online purchase.
“Most multitouch attribution solutions are focused on media,” Wong said. “We’re trying to be open with log-level data. For every creative served, we’ll hand over all the data around the creative version and who saw it.”
Using Adacus’ machine learning technology, Thunder can also help marketers better plan their creative campaigns by predicting which messages will resonate most with a certain audience before the campaign runs.
“We’ve incorporated a way to do predictive pre-campaign creative planning versus just post-campaign [reporting],” Wong said. “We’re applying data to improve future campaigns, not just the ones that are running.”
In addition to Adacus’ technology and employees, Thunder also gains about a dozen new clients. Wong declined to name those clients but said Adacus will help Thunder, which primarily sells its platform direct to marketers, make inroads with agencies.
“That was one of the big benefits for us,” Wong said.
Adacus has been a partner of Thunder’s for nearly a year, so most of their tech was integrated prior to the acquisition. Thunder will now focus on integrating Adacus’ team members and smoothing out redundancies around reporting, Wong said.