The previous yr might have appeared like 2020 redux.
But in programmatic media, 2021 has introduced a world of change.
Ad tech and cellular advertising firms flooded the inventory change, and already-public firms, together with Magnite, Digital Turbine and Media and Games Invest (MGI), which owns the advert tech enterprise Verve Group, have change into lively consolidators.
AdExchanger took a take a look at a few of the offers and classes that fueled an M&A frenzy this yr.
The CTV SSP
Legacy SSPs have been on years-long consolidation sprees.
Last yr, Rubicon Project and Telaria merged to type Magnite. In 2021, that momentum continued with a $1.17 billion deal for SpotX, which was beforehand owned by the European broadcaster RTL Group, and a $31 million acquisition of the TV and video advert server SpringServe.
The billion-dollar SpotX valuation is quadruple what RTL paid for the corporate in 2017.
Tremor Video has been on an M&A journey as properly. The firm bought its supply-side enterprise Telaria to pre-Magnite Rubicon Project, and the remainder of the enterprise went to Taptica, which was later renamed Tremor. Before the rebrand, Taptica purchased advert change RhythmOne for $176 million. Last yr, the newly shaped Tremor bought SSP Unruly from News Corp.
This yr, the corporate acquired Spearad, a CTV advert server.
Historically, DSPs and SSPs have been stored separate from advert server companies. Ad servers are the supply of reconciliation knowledge, that means they determine whether or not adverts have been served or seen and whether or not advertisers ought to pay for an impression. Although walled gardens can typically get away with bundling an advert server and grading their very own homework, open programmatic firms usually couldn’t.
But SSPs want an advert server for CTV.
Television campaigns are deliberate weeks prematurely and require extra sophisticated ad-serving choices. Brands with upfront offers might have assured charges, whereas different manufacturers might have been assured attain amongst a sure demographic, say, 18 to 35-year-old males in Chicago.
An advert server turns into a crucial element for the SSP and change to grasp whether or not to bid programmatically or default to a direct assured deal.
“We consider video is robust sufficient to place our efforts into that one factor,” Tremor CEO Ofer Druker advised AdExchanger final yr. “We’re spending all of our assets there and pondering two or three years forward, once I assume we’ll look again and say this was clearly the successful format.”
The verification distributors
Ad verification firms, which decide whether or not adverts have been viewable, model secure and seen by people reasonably than bots, have been consolidators as properly.
DoubleVerify IPO’d in April of this yr and some months later acquired German verification and measurement startup Meetrics. In November, DoubleVerify dropped $150 million to purchase OpenSlate, a contextual focusing on firm.
Integral Ad Science went public in June following its acquisition of programmatic funds auditing service Amino Payments earlier within the yr. After hitting the general public market and including money to its stability sheet, IAS dropped $220 million to purchase Publica, a CTV advert server and advert shopping for firm. Last month, IAS closed its third acquisition of the yr for the contextual promoting firm ADmantX.
IAS’s acquisition of Publica was one of many extra attention-grabbing offers of the yr – not as a result of it was a big transaction, however as a result of Publica really buys adverts. For the primary time, an advert verification firm owns a enterprise that buys media, setting the stage for doubtlessly awkward situations if IAS verification knowledge is used to find out the worth of Publica-served campaigns.
Last up, bonus factors for Human, previously White Ops, a fraud and verification firm that was acquired by Goldman Sachs in December 2020.
Content advice consolidation
Taboola and Outbrain, the 2 leaders in content material advice, first began doing the merger dance in 2019, with plans to mix into one dominant participant within the class. In 2020, that deal was kiboshed, partially associated to considerations from the British competitors regulator.
Not to let moss develop, each firms went public in July of this yr.
Outbrain raised $160 million for its IPO, a few of which it spent to amass Swiss contextual video promoting startup Video Intelligence AG in November.Following its personal IPO, Taboola made a splashy $800 million acquisition of Connexity, a frontrunner in ecommerce affiliate marketing online.
The bounty hunters of the cellular trade have additionally been shopping for up scale and full-funnel capabilities this yr to assist set off all the pieces from app installs, subscriptions and purchases to flights, journey bookings and resort stays.
System1 introduced its intention to go public this yr by way of SPAC, merging with an already-public shell firm, on this case owned by the well-known financier Bill Foley.
But System1 was already an aggressive acquirer earlier than its proposed SPAC merger. The firm owns a group of early web media property: MapQuest, Info.com, HowStuffWorks and CarsGenius. Earlier this month, it acquired RoadWarrior, a route-planning app.
The cellular acquisition firm ironSource, nonetheless, had maybe the busiest yr of M&A. The firm IPO’d in June with a SPAC merger after buying in-app monetization analytics startup Soomla and inventive developer product Luna Labs. Following its IPO, ironSource closed back-to-back offers in October for app monetization firms Bidalgo and Tapjoy.
Although Digital Turbine IPO’d in 2014, it was one other six years earlier than its subsequent acquisition, which was for the cellular telco knowledge firm Mobile Posse. But this yr the deal making has been breakneck.
Digital Turbine spent $400 million to choose up AdColony; $22.5 million for in-app personalization tech supplier Triapodi (often known as Appreciate) and $600 million for app monetization platform Fyber, the “cherry on prime” of Digital Turbine’s overarching advert tech technique.
Mobile recreation on
Mobile recreation builders have begun to monetize their networks and consumer bases extra like walled gardens – with first-party knowledge and self-reported metrics equivalent to gross sales or installs.
The pioneer within the class is AppLovin. In 2020, AppLovin made waves with its acquisition of Machine Zone, a significant recreation developer. This yr, AppLovin added to its advert tech arsenal with two offers price roughly $1 billion a bit: cellular measurement firm Adjust in February and a shocking transfer in October to take cellular advert change MoPub off Twitter’s fingers.
AppLovin additionally went public this yr.
But it’s not the one lively acquirer combining cellular video games and advert tech.
German holding firm MGI created an advert tech subsidiary referred to as Verve Group in 2020 after shopping for location knowledge firm Verve.
In January 2021, Verve Group acquired cellular video advert platform LKQD from Nexstar. In July, Verve Group snapped up Smaato for $170 million. The DSP Match2One was added to the combo in October.