The ad-tech industry is also experiencing massive consolidation. Ad Ops Insider, an educational site about the industry, lists nearly 200 mergers or acquisitions in 2016 alone.
While Altitude’s merger speaks to this larger consolidation trend, this is also about quality of video advertising — or lack thereof, said Kelly Liyakasa, a senior editor who writes about the industry for AdExchanger.com.
“Premium video is expensive to produce, and top publishers and media companies are looking to monetize their inventory more effectively, whether it’s through programmatic exchanges, direct sponsorship deals or pay-for subscriptions,” said Liyakasa in an email. “Altitude’s acquirer claims to focus on ‘attention metrics’ and optimizes publishers’ video ad experiences based on how a consumer interacts with a page, which in theory could improve the user experience on that site. There has definitely been a trend toward ‘quality’ in video by brands and advertisers, who are demanding more from their publisher partners.”
Last year, Altitude revamped its strategy to focus on building a technology platform to expand beyond ad-bidding and other services. Grover replaced Ostermiller, who remained on the board, as CEO.
“There was a moment when investors had a choice: Do we go out to market, do we sell the business or do we double down and refocus the company and move forward to complete this transformation?” Grover said. “They chose the latter. This was a deliberate decision.”
Altitude’s new platform allows publishers to better see how online viewers interact with their pages. Genesis, meanwhile, adds direct links to publishers and a team of data scientists.
“There’s not a lot of overlap (between Altitude and Genesis),” Grover said. “They are a lot closer to the direct publisher. But the second reason (that the two merged) is the investment in data. Our platform automates advertising to publishers. We collect a lot of data, but Genesis has data scientists that analyze how users interact with content and what ad format should be delivered to the user.”
Instead of a site forcing all visitors to watch the same video ad, Genesis can study how someone uses the site and decide in an instant whether to show a short or long ad, more ads or fewer ads, or none at all.
“When users are highly engaged, that ad is going to be watched,” Grover said. “That translates into a better experience.”