It’s fun to hear about corporate giants gobbling up the latest and greatest start-ups or businesses to grow their empire, and there’s always a thing or two to learn from the most recent ad tech acquisition trends. This year, in 2014, corporations are doing whatever they can to grow their marketing departments and cloud offerings. Looking at the big name buyers and the companies they bought, here are the three key acquisition trends you should be aware of.
Trend 1 – Audience Data
Earlier this year when computer technology corporation, Oracle, bought data management company, BlueKai, for approximately $400 million, we saw the start of the audience data acquisition trend. Companies like AOL (who purchased Adap.tv for data mining and targeting) and J.D. Power (linking digital ads to car purchases with their newest acquisition, Korrelate) were also looking for ways to manage and match their audience data.
Corporations want to merge their online audience data with their offline data. Why is this worth $400 million for Oracle? Well, for one, BlueKai is one of the largest audience data providers in the world, and by acquiring it Oracle has complete access to its pool of audience data. Plus, using BlueKai, information about every person landing on Oracle’s webpage can be collected. Oracle will have access to potential customers’ interests, socio demographic data and more, and with that info they can retarget more effectively.
There is a limited supply of good quality audience data pools out there and Oracle, AOL, J.D Power and others have already taken a fair few of these management companies off the market.
I’m willing to bet that we will see big Fortune 500 brands buying audience providers as well. Those corporations will have an in house advantage not only from merging their online and offline audience data, but by taking audience data resources away from competitors. Walmart has already gotten in on the action.
Trend 2 – Cross Device Targeting
With the explosion of devices on the market (smartphones, tablets, laptops, etc) cookie tracking isn’t as effective. There is now a growing acquisition trend where corporations are buying up cross device technologies and integrating them into their product offering. MediaMath, the global technology company, for example, bought Tactads to enable cookieless cross device targeting and measurement.
It only makes sense that corporations would want to follow their users across all devices without losing track of data, but this technology is so new and so complicated there are not a lot of players on the field yet. It’s definitely a technological field that will be growing, and big name brands want to get in on this trend now before it’s too mainstream.
Trend 3 – Attribution Offerings
Attribution is the third largest trend we’re seeing in 2014, with big buys coming from Google (purchasing Adometry) AOL (buying Converto) and Ensighten (buying Tagman in attempts to rival Adobe). Not only are corporations anxious to track audiences across devices and merge online and offline data, these big name brands need to know where their conversions are coming from.
Buying up attribution offerings is no big shock, but these big acquisitions mark the beginning of the formation of market leaders. In house attribution offerings are usually weaker, so by big companies buying attribution resources they are paving the way for stronger more accurate attribution models.
What does all this mean? It means more accurate tracking, management and analysis of audience data, and by extension it means stronger more informed ads.
Just as PPC platforms started as a trend, now there are only a few key players dominating the market. Soon we’ll see which vendors can grab the biggest piece of the audience data and attribution pie and we’ll see where that leaves all the little guys.
* The views expressed in this post are those of the contributor and not necessarily those of Acquisio.