Amobee Buy Turn; Google Allow MRC Verification

ExchangeWire round up some of the biggest stories in the European digital advertising space. In this week’s edition: Turn are acquired by Amobee; Google go for MRC accreditation; Funding for TVSquared; European Expansion for Factual; Taptica open London office; Bidtellect and TripleLift partner; Adloox MRC-accredited; New supply for mediasmart; and S4M take over Netadge.  

Turn acquired by Amobee

Martech provider Amobee want to strengthen their foothold with a strategic acquisition of DMP and DSP Turn, the company has just announced. “As a part of Amobee, we will be able to enhance the value delivered to our customers and partners on a global scale and accelerate innovation in this space”, says Turn’s CEO, Bruce Falck.

For Amobee, the acquisition offers the opportunity to expand Amobee’s existing programmatic and data management capabilities in the shape of a unified platform: Amobee will be able to offer marketers an independent end-to-end advertising and data management platform across all channels, formats, and devices, access to proprietary Amobee Brand Intelligence insights, as well as advanced analytics and media planning capabilities. Last but not least, Amobee are looking to expand their activities beyond the US and into the Asia Pacific region.

Turn’s data and analytics operation comes with a price tag of USD$310m (£280m), with the transaction expected to be completed during the first half of 2017.

MRC accreditation for Google

Google have been playing their cards close to their chest when it comes to viewability. But now the MRC will independently verify the viewability of video ads on YouTube, the company has just announced.

For years, advertisers at Google have been calling for the independent review of the data provided on viewability figures. Such metrics are already being provided by external analytics companies DoubelVerify, Moat, and Integral Ad Science. With the MRC, Google are now allowing the verification of the data supplied by the external viewability audits. The MRC want to scrutinise data collection on YouTube as well as the measurement practices of the companies. The audit will validate that data collection, aggregation, and reporting for served video impressions, viewable impressions, related viewability statistics, and General Invalid Traffic (GIVT) across desktop and mobile for each integration and adhere to MRC and IAB standards.

With this latest step, Google are responding to demand from the ranks of advertisers for more transparency in viewability data, hoping to build trust and confidence among advertisers. And not only that – only a week ago, Facebook also agreed to MRC audits of their advertising metrics, after the social network had admitted to false ad metrics and other discrepancies in the last year.

Google have also secured new MRC accreditations for video impressions and viewability statistics for desktop web, mobile web, and mobile app in DoubleClick Campaign Manager and are seeking MRC accreditation for video impressions and viewability statistics and GIVT detection for display and video in both AdWords and DoubleClick Bid Manager.

TVSquared raise USD$6.5m (£5.2m)

After a massive funding round only six months ago, TV ad measurement provider TVSquared have secured more capital. The Edinburgh-headquartered company raised USD$6.5m (£5.2m) from West Coast Capital, with matched funding from the Scottish Investment Bank (SIB), as well as existing investors.

Considering that TV advertising spends are growing at a much slower speed than digital or VoD, TV does not seem to be nearing the end of its shelf-life. “The detailed, timely insights available to advertisers about TV performance are remarkable – especially around how TV acts as a major driver of both digital and offline activity”, explains Calum Smeaton, CEO and founder, TVSquared, to ExchangeWire. “Due to this, we’re seeing media planning and buying strategies becoming better informed, and some of the world’s largest brands are ‘coming back’ to TV, making it the primary focus of global, multi-channel campaigns.” Smeaton believes that “[t]he TV advertising industry continues to experience strong growth, and there is no greater evidence of this than the continued confidence and backing of our investors.”

The new capital is to go into further research and development of TVSquared’s technology for TV optimisation.

Factual expand in EMEA

On the back of strong growth in 2016, Factual want to increase their footprint in the EMEA region. The location data provider is driving their growth in Europe by providing support to their local and international partners – and by appointing a new managing director for their EMEA operations.

Joining the European leadership team, Mandeep Mason will support existing global partners in Europe from the London office, develop local relationships, and create new partnerships opportunities with both marketers and enterprises.

Speaking to ExchangeWire, Mason comments: “Factual’s existing presence and momentum in Europe is a big asset. It’s well known that Europe’s location marketplace is increasingly ‘noisy’. I’m thrilled by how well-aligned the products and strategy are to the evolving landscape, and the variety of ways I believe customers wish to access and work with location data assets into the future.”

Mason joins Factual from PlaceIQ’s European business. Before that, he held roles as International Director for Mobile Advertising Sales & Strategy at Microsoft and Nokia’s mobile advertising group.

Taptica open office in London

Mobile ad platform Taptica want to bolster their European business. Opening a new office in London, the company with headquarters in Israel now has five international offices including San Francisco, New York, Beijing, and Seoul.

Why has it taken Taptica until now to expand to Europe? Mainly because the main focus of the company had been the US, so far, Hagai Tal, CEO, Taptica, tells ExchangeWire: “Taptica have had good coverage of Europe from our headquarters in Tel Aviv. For Taptica, 2017 is the year of scale. This can only be achieved by global expansion and, of course, Europe is part of that. Therefore, now the time is right to open offices and begin creating a footprint in Europe.”

The European expansion will start in the UK, Tal says: “The UK is the second‐most‐advanced mobile advertising market after China, and yet penetration in the UK is slow, so the potential is huge. Setting up shop in the UK as a base from which to target the rest of Europe was an easy decision.” The initial strategy being to network out of the UK and develop a custom approach for clients in the various European territories, keeping the differences of the national marketplaces in mind: “The European Market is quite different from the US and APAC. In the US, the market has already matured from desktop to mobile; and most users are already doing most of the consuming through mobile. In APAC, the market did not have to mature, it went straight to mobile and hardly has any desktop presence at all. The European market is only now reaching the tipping point and maturity to truly go mobile. It is going to be a longer, more gradual growth process. In addition, in Europe there are many submarkets, which are much more country/region specific. Apart from the international brands, there are a lot more smaller, culture- and language-specific companies and developers, as opposed to the US, where most brands work nationwide.”

Heading up the London office will be Amit Dar, who is responsible at Taptica for Strategic Partnerships in Europe.

Bidtellect and Triple Lift partner

New partnership for Bidtellect and TripleLift. The two native experts are integrating to connect supply with demand.

“We see tremendous value in directly connecting to Native sell-side platforms to make premium Native In-Feed inventory available to our advertiser partners”, explains Lon Otremba, CEO, Bidtellect, the idea behind the partnership. “As Native and Content Marketing become cemented in brands’ marketing strategies and publishers’ sales strategies, it is critical for the native programmatic pipes to be seamlessly connected. Our objective is to ensure marketers can buy with confidence and publishers can effectively monetise their inventory in this new digital paradigm. Partnering with TripleLift is an important step towards enabling efficiencies for publishers and marketers to scale their Native and paid-content initiatives.”

Both companies are hoping to accelerate native adoption on their respective platforms.

Adloox receive MRC accreditation

Auditing provider Adloox have just been accredited by the Media Rating Council (MRC) for the more advanced Fraud detection aka Sophisticated Invalid Traffic (SIVT desktop).

The first European company to be accredited for fraud detection, Adloox hopes to pioneer a push for more transparency in the business: “We believe the industry deserves a lot more transparency, and better performing tools than the market is used to right now. With all the deeply negative press, and stories of Brands pulling their digital budget through lack of trust with their media buyers, our aim is to bring some quality measurement back into programmatic and prove how a smarter, more user-centric approach to verification can help both buyers and sellers increase their digital performance, rather than hinder it”, says Marco Ricci, CEO of Adloox.

Other notable companies accredited for ad fraud detection services are White Ops and Integral Ad Science.

mediasmart add AppNexus and Fyber to portfolio of video supply partners

The Spanish DSP mediasmart are expanding their media buying offering with new partnerships. Video specialist Fyber and omnichannel provider AppNexus are joining existing supply partners such as including MoPub, Google, ONE by AOL: Mobile, OpenX, and Axonix, offering both in-stream and out-stream video.

“Our platform has supported video creatives for many years; but it’s only recently that suppliers are widely getting behind the video format”, says Noelia Amoedo, CEO, mediasmart. “With sufficient reach now in place, it’s up to advertisers to recognise it as a viable option and make it a default component of their campaigns.”

S4M acquire Netadge

The mobile advertising platform S4M takes over Netadge. With the mobile RTB specialist, S4M hopes to to reinforce their technology stack – and expand their reach.

In a first step, the company wants to expand their tech department by doubling their existing team in the next twelve months.

The acquisition of Netadge is the first step: “This deal is an advantageous acqui-hire as much as it is a strategic business move”, says S4M-CEO, Christophe Collet. As such, 14 senior ad tech experts will be integrated into the S4M organisation, expanding the R&D team to more than 50 members. Further tech roles are to be filled in the future.

Launched in 2013, in Marseille, Netadge work for media agencies and trading desks and achieved a turnover of €4m (£3.4m) in 2016. According to the press release, S4M have projected a revenue of USD$35m (£28m) for 2017.

The companies did not disclose Netadge’s price tag.

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Lars M. B. Anthonisen is Global Account Lead @ Google. Previously, he held various digital marketing positions at media companies across Europe and Asia including Regional Digital Director at MediaCom APAC, CMO at Adform and Digital Manager at Universal McCann Worldwide.

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