Gartner Research VP Martin Kihn noted, "Recently Salesforce has seemed to be less interested in ad tech and seemed to be doubling down on the CRM side of the business with campaign management, email campaigns and highly targeted advertising mostly through Facebook Custom Audiences."
"That was fine, but they are missing out on the entire ad tech universe," Kihn said. "Krux gives them entrée into the whole non-Facebook side of advertising."
Oracle, in particular, has focused strongly on an owned strategy for its data and data platform businesses, having acquired four companies in less than two years (BlueKai, Datalogix, Crosswise and AddThis).
According to one senior agency source, it's been evident for some time that Salesforce needs a centralized data management capability.
"Data is messy and it's got to go somewhere," this person said. "There's a collation and interpretive level that they've never had. Yes there are APIs, you can point your data to it. But if you point multiple data sets to it then it starts to break down."
Historically known for its focus on publishers, Krux has over the past year been in a push to find uptake with advertisers. The 2015 hire of Jon Suarez-Davis, Kellogg Co.’s VP of global media and digital strategy, as its chief marketing and strategy officer was part of that initiative.
The company claims approximately 200 customers overall, and its brand customers have included ABInBev, ConAgra Foods and JetBlue.
Krux is one of a shrinking handful of standalone data management companies, a group that also includes Lotame and Neustar's soon-to-be-spun-off ad tech holdings. Many others, such as BlueKai, Datalogix and LiveRamp, were scooped up in a wave of acquisitions in 2014.
Recently, Krux took a significant step toward paid media buying by adding support for header bidding. A group of DSPs and 28 marketer buyers are using the offering to acquire media from the approximately 32 publishers that carry Krux's header-bidding tags, according to the company.