Both companies are profitable, something of a rarity with ad-tech mergers.
According to Brand Networks CEO Jamie Tedford, "performance marketing" has gained influence in marketing as individual media impressions are more easily linked to a store visit or other action. It's about extending the measurement capabilities of ecommerce to all channels.
"The underlying common denominator of performance is measurement," he said. "Up until now we've only had that ability for online specifically for click-to-purchase. But we're starting to et to where we can measure performance in many ways, and drive-to-retail is one such way."
"You're pulling a larger percentage of marketing budget into what can be categorized as performance," he added."That's particularly where we want to live."
Meanwhile, he says the idea of "social" will fade into the scenery.
"We're defining social as any online property where the idea is to connect, follow, friend, fan and thereby get information in any sort of news feed," he said. "I don't necessarily put us in the social camp because it's so prolific at this point, and we get so much information not through a social network as a website but through my personal website, computer, connected device."
The deal also offers some geographic synergies. Brand Networks is based in Boston, while Optimal is in San Francisco.