Time’s Viant buys ad tech veteran Adelphic, creating ‘first DSP owned and operated by a people-based marketer’
With its database of a billion registered users worldwide, Viant is now ready to challenge the kings of people-based advertising: Google and Facebook.
Purchased by Time, Inc. last February, ad tech company and Myspace owner Viant has been focused on developing a people-based platform that can rival Google and Facebook.
This week, Viant took another step in that direction, announcing it has agreed to buy Adelphic, a major mobile-oriented programmatic ad platform. Deal terms were not made public.
While Adelphic is now a key part of the Viant vision, it will remain available to clients outside the Time/Viant family.
People-based marketing means that the targeted audiences are identified as actual people. When Tim and Chris Vanderhook — the brothers behind Viant — use the term, they mean that ads are directed at John Doe, not an anonymous user or a John Doe who has been anonymized before being handed over to a demand-side platform for the ad campaign.
Viant says it has over one billion identified opt-in consumers worldwide, some of whom come from Time’s large list of subscribers to its magazines.
Previously, Viant’s ecosystem included a programmatic ad platform, but Chris told me that it did not have the robust self-service interface of an Adelphic.
Also, Tim said, Viant’s platform has been focused on a billion desktop users, which is now complemented by Adelphic’s mobile orientation and its ability to address a billion smart phones by their mobile device IDs.
But the real uniqueness of this acquisition, the Vanderhooks said, is that it creates the first industrial-grade ad-management platform that is owned and operated by the holder of a massive people-based database of consumers and is not called Facebook or Google.
The brothers pointed out that other holders of first-party registered user bases — such as Publishers Clearinghouse — do not own a DSP. So, when they use an outside DSP, they usually anonymize the user base before handing it over. The data owner knows a given user is John Doe, but the DSP consistently sees that user as Person 123.
A consistent, actual identity, the Vanderhooks note, enables a universal ID that can accurately track a registered user across devices in a variety of ways. This allows a marketer, for instance, to know almost certainly when the same person has seen three ads on three different devices. Other methods that are not based on identified users are inferring that the same user owns a set of devices.
An actual identity also means that ads can become addressable and very personalized, like one specifically mentioning “John Doe.”
But the biggest advantage, Chris said, is that marketers can accurately measure when John Doe — to whom you’ve just delivered two ads on two devices about a sale on a new kind of sneakers — walks into a nearby store and buys those sneakers.
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