Buying stuff. Isn’t that what the Internet is ultimately for? Yes, you can use it to check out new places (then buy airline tickets to visit them…), see what the celebs are up to (then buy the things they get for free…), check sports scores (then buy tickets and gear…), keep up with the news (for which you may have to buy a subscription…), monitor your investments (and buy more shares…). You get the picture.
Companies spend billions trying to figure out how to boost sales on the web, either directly on e-commerce platforms or indirectly through all sorts of (mostly misguided) advertising. Big data analytics, social media scraping, and good old fashioned direct (e)mail – they’re all designed to get you spending.
There has been plenty of AdTech startup activity in recent years. UK-based social media monitoring system Brandwatch raised $22 million ($30 million to date) in a B-round led by Highland Capital. According to CrunchBase, Brandwatch peruses over 80 million social media-related sites (wait, how many sites are there??) in providing consumer insights to businesses. The company currently serves more than 1,000 big name brands – including Verizon and Pepsi. Datalogix, another so-called “data broker” is talking about a potential IPO. The company collects consumer transaction data and sells it back to advertisers, working with Facebook, Google and others to assess the true impact of ads, and help tie purchases back to specific campaigns. The company has raised more than $110 million to date, and could add another $75 million from an IPO.
Large IPOs and significant corporate actions have been abundant in the AdTech market. Data-analysis software maker Splunk went public in April 2012, and enjoyed a dramatic share price surge. Rocket Fuel, an artificial intelligence enabled ad placement engine, went public last September, and just this month data broker Acxiom purchased startup LiveRamp. LiveRamp enables CRM data to be repurposed for directed add campaigns on the web and mobile devices.