AD-TECH ROUND UP: Adaptive Media-Ad Supply Merger, Snapchat Moves into Emoji Market …
A summary of the most exciting recent news in ad tech in the U.S., U.S.-Hispanic and Latin American markets. If you're trying to keep up, consider this your one-stop shop.
U.S./U.S. HISPANIC MARKET
Adaptive Medias, Inc. and AdSupply, Inc. are merging to create one of the most powerful entities in anti-ad blocking technology. Per the terms of the deal, the merged enterprises will be consolidated into Adaptive Medias and will continue to trade under the ticker symbol “ADTM” until the combined entity begins its application to up-list to the Nasdaq. AdSupply (ranked by comScore as the 21st largest online advertising network) has built the patented BlockIQ technology that detects and bypasses ad blockers, including AdBlock Plus. By discovering and overriding the industry’s most tenacious ad blockers, BlockIQ allows online publishers to recover revenue that would have otherwise been lost. Adaptive Medias created the best-in-class Media Graph platform that works across all screens and devices. The platform was designed to scale with the rise of mobile video, which (according to Cisco) will represent 72% of global mobile data traffic by 2019. By joining forces with AdSupply, Adaptive Medias gains access to BlockIQ, providing a critical first-mover advantage over potential competitors. AdSupply has produced consecutive annual revenue growth greater than 30% since its debut in 2012. The company achieved record revenues of $18.5 million in 2015 and serves more than 1,000 publishers with many notable customers, including Google, Alibaba and Caesars Interactive Entertainment.
Snapchat moves into a buzzy part of the Emoji market. Snapchat has agreed to acquire Bitstrips, the Toronto-based maker of personalized emojis known as bitmojis, Fortune has learned from multiple sources. One of the sources says that the deal is valued “in the ballpark” of $100 million, via a mix of cash and stock. Bitstrips was originally founded in 2007 to help users build personalized digital comics, but in 2014 refocused on customized and shareable cartoon avatar or “bitmojis” which the user can put into various different poses or with different accessories, and are readily accessible for mobile communications.
ClicksMob, a mobile-only performance platform that gives app developers and publishers users, has merged with AppGrade, which monetizes video ads for mobile users. The ClicksMob platform will now be able to offer better mobile performance marketing through AppGrade’s SDK platform.
Some may say that ad-tech funding is freezing up, but we don’t see it. German RNTS and its recent purchase Heyzap have acquired Inneractive, an Israeli real-time bidding and mobile ad-exchange company, for $46 million in cash and $26 million in earn-outs and retention payments. Inneractive had only raised $11.5 million in funding until now. RNTS also purchased Falk Realtime for $11 million in 2015.
London-based Unruly, which is owned by News Corp, launched a tool that visualizes statistics about users’ emotional responses to video ads. Until now, the product was only available on a custom basis per client request.
Predictive targeting ad tech firm AdTheorent has launched an attribution service called Barometric, which allows companies to match sales with specific ad campaigns and creates an ID for each user that works across devices and physical stores based on the user’s street address.
Content engine Outbrain has acquired ROI-tracking startup Revee, which had only raised $1 million until now. Revee’s technology has been turned to the Outbrain Automatic Yield service, and they already have a big client: Time, Inc.
Facebook has announced that it has stopped development of a demand-side platform for its ad server and measurement platform, Atlas. Facebook had been testing a buying platform for a small group of marketers that allowed them to bid on advertising on websites and apps programmatically (in real-time).
Premium online video marketplace provider Tremor Video has partnered with digital media agency Integral Ad Science to create real-time video viewability optimization services. Tremor’s platform is now the first of its kind, and will allow Tremor to offer advanced bidding and reporting capabilities. It also gives Tremor Video users the ability to optimize their video campaigns by viewable impressions instead of basing optimization on pre-bid or post-buy approaches.
Buzzfeed is making moves to further monetize its huge reach, and has launched an ad platform, Swarm, to bring ad content to audiences on their favorite platforms. It will allow advertisers to create ads for web, apps and social networks at once.
Gravity4, a digital marketing technology and applications firm, announced that it is opening operations geared towards the Hispanic audiences in the United States. A new app suite that integrated Search, Native Advertisement, DSP, DMP, DCO, CRM, email marketing and analysis in real-time is now available to brands looking to cater to this powerful audience.
Cross-device data management platform Lotame has announced that it is launching the Audience Optimizer, its new solution powered by machine-learning algorithms for more effective campaign optimization and engagement. Audience Optimizer "adjusts for the 'who' of the campaign -- that is, the audience," and has already been used by brands like Ulta Beauty, PANDORA and Atkins Nutritionals.
Despite its political and economic instability, Brazil is showing strong growth in digital ads: according to IAB Brazil’s data, the market will reach R$10.4bn (£2bn) by the end of 2016, which would be a 12% increase from 2015. The market is composed mostly of search, followed by display and social media and video.
Brazilian digital marketing tools company Predicta, is teaming up with MercadoShops (a unit of Mercado Livre, the e-commerce platform). MercadoShops’s users will be able to use Predicta’s app marketplace, analytics, and other data tools looking at user behavior.
According to a recent study, Mexico processes the highest percentage of encrypted Google traffic in the world. 86% of Mexico’s requests to Google used hypertext transfer protocol secure (HTTPS) encryption. Brazil came in second with 84%.
Dentsu Aegis Network is buying one of Mexico's biggest digital agencies, Flock, which represents an important Dentsu expansion effort into Latin America. Dentsu’s Isobar Network is already present in Brazil, but does not currently have a presence in Spanish-speaking Latin America. Flock’s impressive list of clients includes Nike, Coca-Cola, Domino's Pizza, Jose Cuervo and Cinepolis.
C&W Business, part of C&W Communications (CWC), is partnering with end-to-end software solution provider Scala, Inc., whose clients are mostly in digital signage, visual communications and ad management, to expand their services into the Caribbean and Latin America. C&W is already one of the largest technology providers in the region, and Scala’s 25 years of experience in the industry should make for a powerful team.