Brand Networks Buys SHIFT; Everyone Wants A Piece Of Programmatic

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Social Consolidation

Social marketing software company Brand Networks snapped up rival SHIFT for $50 million on Thursday. It’s the second notable social advertising acquisition for Brand, which bought Optimal for $35 million about 18 months ago. All three companies got their starts as Facebook PMD companies and have expanded to Twitter and LinkedIn. Read the release. SHIFT had raised $14 million, according to CrunchBase. The combined company claims to power more than $500 million in social ad spend for roughly 650 brands and agencies. “Marketers can now use a single platform to break down the walls between disparate teams, data silos and content types to deliver relevant content across Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn,” said CEO Jamie Tedford. “Together with SHIFT, we're able to deliver on the promise of making marketing more relevant to consumers and more effective for marketers.” Read AdEXchanger’s 2012 Q&A with Tedford.

The Public Eye 

“Suddenly, everyone wants a piece of programmatic advertising – whatever that is,” writes The Street’s deputy managing director, Leon Lazaroff, responding to Verizon’s pending acquisition of AOL. Lazaroff cites Rocket Fuel, Rubicon Project and Millennial Media, all of which have either been on recent hot streaks (Rubicon up 7.4% over two days, Millennial Media up 4.3% in one) or surged on AOL’s news. TubeMogul, still recovering from a 30-point tumble in February, bounced back 8.4% on Tuesday. AOL, for its part, took an 18% leap. Programmatic is here to stay. More. 

Leviathan

With 18 months still to go before the election, political ad buyers are already exerting major influence over digital and TV media. As reported by National Journal, early primary states are seeing media booked months in advance, with key outlets already running out of inventory. Some real estate, like Facebook and YouTube video ads, can’t be reserved ahead of time, but “the price is just expected to rise.” A flood of deep-pocketed Super PACs and campaigns may wreak havoc on the auction-based digital ad world, and platforms like Google and Facebook may have to weigh consumer annoyance with political adverts against the high prices campaigners are willing to pay. 

DCO 2.0 

Jivox claims a new tool called Dynamic Canvas takes dynamic creative optimization (DCO) to the next level. Speaking to VentureBeat, CEO Diaz Nesamoney says traditional DCO lets advertisers create up to several dozen variations of an ad and serve those spots to categories of consumers. According to Nesamoney, Dynamic Canvas created about 3,000 ad variations in a test for Jack Daniel’s Whiskey and targeted at the individual level, not by category. Companies like DoubleClick and Sizmek have similar offerings, but Nesamoney was quick to call that tech a retrofit. “If you tried to code the Jack Daniel’s [ad in a rich media platform], it’s impossible,” Nesamoney said. “They’re missing a CMS [content management system to handle the assets], a decisioning engine, and integration with data.”

OTT And Beyond

Writing for HBR, Janet Balis, principal at EY Advisory, spells out the challenge for brands in an OTT future. As brands like Bonobos make the jump from brick-and-mortar to digital storefronts, scale is the biggest hurdle. “Most traditional advertising is a one-time exposure of a brand message to a consumer,” Balis explains. “The higher calling is to focus on brand exposures that allow brands to talk to a customer on an ongoing basis. OTT demands that brands reconfigure their relationships with media companies, agencies, and third-party data platforms. But brands will also have to look internally to rethink the way they themselves organize and operate.” 

Brick-And-Mortar’s Attribution Boost

A tie-up between MarketShare and Acxiom will use LiveRamp’s data and MarketShare’s analytics platform to link offline purchases with a brand’s digital advertising. The aim is to optimize digital marketing towards brick-and-mortar sales. “We’re providing clear guidance to retail brands on how to thread the needle – to give digital marketing the credit it’s due for driving sales in-store, and to optimize digital spend for offline impact going forward,” William Merchan, SVP of strategic alliances for MarketShare, told AdExchanger. “Connecting the dots between touch points that don’t connect directly is a serious challenge for retailers.” Serious challenges for retailers mean opportunity for ad tech. Read the release.

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