Another independent attribution solution is off the market.
SAP said Wednesday that it had purchased Abakus, a move that puts it further into the paid media arena. Terms were not disclosed.
Abakus’ attribution system is unique since it applies game theory to forecast scenarios that influence media buying and optimization. It also uses split-funnel attribution – running its engine in both the upper part of the sales funnel and against lower-funnel activities. This methodology is meant to give advertisers a clearer idea around which marketing activities drove consumers toward a conversion.
Abakus will fold into SAP’s Hybris Marketing Cloud (SAP only began using that branding this year, so don't feel too out of the loop.)
The software suite includes the hybris ecommerce platform, the HANA analytics platform, and – according to Hybris Marketing Cloud CMO Jamie Anderson – campaign management/automation, marketing resource management and campaign efficiency tools.
“We made a very smart acquisition with Abakus software, which adds another [piece to] the jigsaw,” he said. The Abakus piece lets marketers account for their content as it's consumed across devices and channels.
While SAP hadn’t been a major player in paid media, that's changing rapidly. Last May it revealed a proprietary DSP/DMP solution called SAP Exchange Media (XM). And Abakus has strong roots in ad tech. Its founder, Alex Saldanha, was the former CTO of the ad network Exponential.
But while Anderson envisions synergies between XM and Hybris Marketing Cloud, they’re not part of the same portfolio – in fact, Hybris Marketing Cloud has its own DMP, stemming in part from its 2014 acquisition of behavioral marketing startup SeeWhy.
“At the moment, we work very closely with XM but we want to leave those guys alone to innovate,” Anderson said. “We’re aiming toward convergence, but I wouldn’t put a timeline on it.”
Anderson declined to say how many clients use Hybris Marketing Cloud.
Ad tech has gradually become a bigger part of the marketing cloud companies, which until recently confined their interest in marketing technology to one-to-one channels such as email messaging. But then Oracle bought BlueKai and Datalogix in 2014, and this year Salesforce bought Krux and Adobe strengthened its paid media positioning with TubeMogul.
Ecommerce platforms, by contrast, were more rare among marketing clouds. For a time, only SAP had one with hybris. But last June, Salesforce made a big bet on Demandware.
“It was a clear gap in the breadth of the Salesforce portfolio,” Anderson said of the Demandware purchase. “And they’ve closed that gap with a solution that is predominately focused on B2C retail commerce.”
He noted that the B2B commerce space is “significantly bigger” than B2C, though stopped short of calling Hybris Marketing Cloud strictly a B2B play.
“Many of our early customers are very, very large, multinational companies,” Anderson said. He claimed “nobody can compete” with SAP’s ability to do high-volume audience segmentation in real time.