Senior Agency Exec, Anthony Rhind, Leaving Carat to Join Adform As CSO; Why European Ad Tech Can’t Sell at a Premium
In this week’s ExchangeWire Weekly European Roundup: Rhind heads to ad tech; another European bargain bucket ad tech sale; mobile carriers look to “poison the well” with Shine hook-up; BidSwitch enables programmatic buying across native; and why ad tech is far from dead.
Anthony Rhind Leaving Carat To Join Adform As CSO
Anthony Rhind, currently Global Chief Digital Officer at Carat, is leaving to join Adform, a leading European ad tech provider.
Adform, a profitable ad tech company (that’s right, US readers, a profitable ad tech), has been building programmatic capabilities over the past twenty-four months to complement its popular suite of rich media products.
The company has outlined its global ambitions in recent months with senior hires in the US and APAC.
Given Rhind’s clout with C-level agency and marketer execs, the company is clearly trying to accelerate growth in the programmatic space.
Speaking with ExchangeWire, Rhind discusses his upcoming move: “I’m thrilled to be joining Adform (as Chief Strategy Officer). The adtech space is incredibly dynamic today and the near future will surely see increasingly pervasive deployment and strategic utilisation of technology and data.
“I am convinced Adform has the talent and the organisation to enable its clients and partners to operate their digital platforms most effectively and to help them to innovate quickly. The chance to influence the roadmap of a technology company with 300 developers in Europe was too exciting to turn down. I hope my 20 years in the agency world will compliment the exceptional team already in place, the fast evolving consumer behaviour and marketing opportunities means nobody can be complacent… change is the only constant!”
Sizmek Picks Up StrikeAd – European Ad Tech Companies Underpriced?
It was announced on Friday last week that Sizmek had acquired StrikeAd for $11.2 million. This is effectively a steal for Sizmek as it builds out mobile programmatic capabilities. The real tragedy of this deal is that another Euroepean advertising technology was sold at such a low price.
StrikeAd had raised a $7 million in a Series A round and an undisclosed amount in the seed round. It is unlikely that anyone did very well out of this deal except for Sizmek.
The question now is: why such a low price? It is rumoured that Run, a Mobile DSP, was acquired by Starcom for a figure rumoured to have been between fifty and one hundred million. At the low end, that’s nearly five times the StrikeAd exit number for basically equivalent technology.
Discounting the global deal Run had allegedly in place with Verizon, the lopsided nature of the StikeAd deal compared to the acquisition of Run suggests a big problem for European ad tech.
Is it a perception thing: that somehow European advertising technology is inferior? I can’t see why. IPONWEB has built much of the tech in this space – and a lot of the big US ad tech players have development centres in Europe.
There clearly is a glass ceiling here for European ad tech companies looking to attract strategic buyers globally.
There are exceptions to this rule of course. Criteo, for instance, have executed beautifully: having hired Greg Coleman as CEO, scaled in the market, and successfully IPO’d, the French retargeting powerhouse is now successfully delivering positive quarter-on-quarter growth; and of course let’s not forget Sociomantic, a company that raised no money, and sold for well over €100 million.
Those not looking to emulate a similar fate to StrikeAd will clearly need to execute a different strategy. Trying to exit means you need to throw a lot of money at the American perception problem, hire smart connecters in the market – and ultimately go big. How many can actually do this in reality?
The Reports Of My Death Have Been Greatly Exaggerated – Ad Tech FTW
It’s not often that I get to invoke the great words of two intellectual heavyweights like Twain and Churchill as well as link out to economic doomsday blog, Zero Hedge, to show the durability of the advertising technology sector. It was a speculative piece in TechCrunch about the death of ad tech that provoked me to pen a response. People need to get some perspective on the potential of marketing technology. It is still a relatively small market – with huge upside, granted.
Advertising technology remains the blood guts of content monetisation. Ad tech is not just simply an ad net model, it is technology that underpins the entire digital advertising ecosystem – search, display, mobile, video, native et al. It is tech that makes data actionable.
Shoehorning it into a marketing technology box might make it easier for VCs to sell the SaaS dream to starstruck strategic buyers. In the end though, it is just well crafted bullshit. It is always good to keep a level-head when VC money starts stampeding in a certain direction. – and this piece tries to do that. Ad tech isn’t going anywhere. The game has only started.
Programmatic Going Native
BidSwitch, the industry’s largest “programmatic interconnector”, announced this week it will be supporting programmatic native with a number of supply and demand side players coming on board to facilitate the buying and selling of non-standard inventory.
Native suppliers, such as AdsNative, PubMatic, TripleLift, and Unruly have already come onboard.
David Shapiro, VP Corporate & Business Development, DataXu, commented on the native roll-out: “The expansion to Native firmly exemplifies the value in BidSwitch. As suppliers and buyers invest more in areas like Native, BidSwitch enables us to bring their innovations to market faster”.
It’s a win-win for all those looking to to buy and sell native programmatically. But hold on, “programmatic interconnector”? What does that even mean? And what is BidSwitch? Excellent questions. All of these and more can be answered in this week’s TraderTalkTV episode special on the BidSwitch offering.
Carriers To Block Mobile Advertising In Vain Attempt To Blackmail Industry
Ad blocking is a pretty emotive subject for all those involved. The idea that a sizeable number of internet users would deliberately block ad-funded content has sent shockwaves through the industry, and even forced German publishers to bring a case against the producers of Ad Block Plus to stop using it on their sites.
The ante has been raised this week by reports that big mobile carriers are planning to block mobile ads. In what looks like a blatant “toll” strategy by the telcos, they have teamed up with Israeli ad blocking tech outfit, Shine, to help siphon spend from the big digital media companies. This is likely going to lead to an almighty battle in the courts. Ad blocking is now the big subject in the digital advertising space. ATS London will be devoting an entire panel to the subject at this year’s vent. The agenda of which will be announced in the coming weeks.