Recent deals such as Salesforce’s purchase of Krux will hopefully help paid media converge with first-party data, Kartzman said. Agency consolidation, like Dentsu buying Merkle and gyro, could also help unify these areas.
Spongecell sees growth in creative agency clients who use its platform in a self-serve capacity to set rules around which piece of creative is served where or which connections to data platforms get facilitated, Kartzman said.
“People want to know how their creative is performing in real time, rather than wait three months to see which creative drove results,” he said. “The goal is also to get more predictive and saying, ‘These are the three targets you should consider for this creative.’”
Spongecell has a programmatic creative platform, CORE, where buyers can log in to do simple tasks like manage ad creative or grab an ad tag.
But a number of agencies such as Mindshare integrate Spongecell’s DCO tool into their programmatic solutions – alongside their data management platform, ad server or demand-side platform.
“Some of our competitors who are ad servers try to sell the ad server first, but we’re hyperfocused on the creative,” Kartzman said. “In a world where most enterprise customers use DoubleClick, we wanted to be the largest independent company that focused on creative workflow, but also address the hardcore technical DCO side across mobile, display and video.”
Spongecell, which was founded a decade ago, employs about 100. Although most of its new financing will go toward R&D, it’s also investing in sales engineers who can translate technical complexities of client deployments to product development.