The company announced Tuesday that it has acquired Proximic, a company whose pre-bid solution comScore plans to use to support its validated Campaign Essentials and Media Metrix products. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
Proximic’s technology is centered on real-time contextual, rather than semantic, analysis at the page level. Agencies and advertisers can use the contextual data they get from Proximic to pre-filter the inventory they see before they buy, while sellers can provide better categorization around what they’re putting on the market in terms of brand safety and ensure that they’re meeting the buyer’s targets.
It’s a unique approach, said the company’s CEO, Rodney Mayers.
“At the end of the day, you need to make sure that every page coming through the programmatic environment is classified properly and you need to be able to identify the brand protection element that the buyer of that particular page wants to avoid,” Mayers said. “You cannot do that at a high level or at a site level. You need a page-level service.”
The overall goal is “to enable a marketplace where buyers and sellers can make better informed decisions,” comScore CTO Mike Brown told AdExchanger. “There is a large need out there to get deeper levels of categorization and this shows that comScore is very serious about bringing more trust into the programmatic environment.”
The company has been gunning to position itself as a facilitator of cleaner inventory since the January launch of what the company is calling its Trust Initiative, a program designed to foster greater transparency around programmatic buying and selling.
To that end, comScore recently started working with several DSPs – AdForm, DataXu, MediaMath, Turn, The Trade Desk, Rubicon and Eyereturn among them – to make viewability metrics, non-human traffic certifications and publisher rankings, aka “Trust Profiles,” available to buyers before the bid. Proximic’s data will be integrated directly into comScore’s Trust Profiles at some point in 2015, Brown said.
As comScore COO Cameron Meierhofer told AdExchanger in January when the company first launched its Trust Profiles, “We’re trying to pull off a trust exercise between buyers and sellers.”
It's a good move from an agency trading perspective, said Adam Heimlich, SVP of programmatic and head of the exchange at Horizon Media.
"Pre-bid signals from data aggregators like Proximic are an essential component of any mid- or upper-funnel programmatic campaign. Unfortunately, none the exchanges are impressing us with regard to quality assurance," Heimlich said. "Third-party policing is not ideal either, because nobody polices or validates these companies. They're the best option we have for now, unless the client will pay extra to stay on a whitelist."
Matthew Greitzer, co-founder and COO of Accordant Media, expressed a similar sentiment.
"This acquisition gives ComScore a means to add value directly in the programmatic buying stream, versus simply reporting after the fact," Greitzer, said. "It really makes them more of a real-time diagnostic tool, which is where their competitors in the ad quality space have all gone."
Proximic, which maintains DSP relationships with AppNexus, Turn, SiteScout and others, operates in about 15 languages covering Asia, Latin America, Europe and Russia. The company has raised $10.4 million since it was founded in 2006.
All of Proximic’s employees, of which there are fewer than 20, and all of its 12 publisher clients are coming over to the comScore side. Mayers noted that there is “great overlap” between comScore’s publisher clients and Proximic’s client set, although comScore’s Brown declined to name which ones. Brown did note, however, that comScore publishers who haven’t worked with Proximic are actively being introduced to the product.
In other comScore news, the company released its Q1 earnings on Tuesday, posting $87.1 million for the quarter, up 15% from Q4. comScore said it added a total of 40 customers to its client roster in Q1. [Read the earnings release.]