Weborama announced yesterday that it was acquiring Datvantage, a data management solution, for an undisclosed figure. The acquisition might well signal the start of a wider consolidation in the European ad tech space. Here Weborama CEO, Alain Levy, and Datvantage’s Co-Founder, Arnaud Caplier, discuss the deal and how it will augment the current pan-Euro data solution offered by Weborama.
For those not accustomed with Datvantage, please explain what the value proposition; what category do they operate in (exchange, DMP, etc)?
Arnaud: Datvantage is a data exchange: it aggregates audience segments from publishers and offers them to audience buyers (advertisers, agencies and networks) to help them target and optimise their campaigns. The Datvantage platform offers DMP capabilities which enable all stakeholders (publishers, agencies and advertisers) to understand and manage monetisation and usage of their data assets.
How is this a complementary acquisition?
Alain: Weborama has a very strong experience in building and monetising user profile online. For over 10 years, we have collected raw data points and turned them into marketing profiles by applied lexical and statistical modelling techniques. This expertise has allowed us to develop market leading targeted ad networks and data provider businesses in France, Spain, Italy and the UK. The Datvantage acquisition will allow us to strengthen again our position in those markets by adding another layer of data, more focussed on intent, which will furher develop our publisher relationships.
Arnaud: In developing the Datvantage platform, I have noticed that, depending on the client’s profile, internal organisation or strategy, some clients will want to buy or sell data separately from media, while others will want to sell or buy data and media in a pre-aggregated and bundled manner. By joining up with Weborama we are in a unique positioning to address those different clients needs, both on the buy- as well as on the sell-side.
What sort of integration do you intend on putting together? Will the brands continue to operate separately or as one entity?
Alain: Datvantage will be kept as a separate brand and entity, but it is now a fully-owned subsidiary of Weborama. The Datvantage proposition will be rolled out in all markets where Weborama has an office.
Will this acquisition be rolled out across the whole of Weborama’s EMEA footprint or just where Datvantage has a presence?
Alain: The Datvantage data exchange is already very active and established in France, and will very soon be available in the UK, France, Spain, Italy, the Netherlands and Portugal.
How important was it for Weborama to bring on DMP like capabilities? Who will it most serve – your buy or sell side partners?
Alain: The Datvantage acquisition is very interesting because it provides a structure and environment to continue to grow Weborama’s dedicated audience data assets, technologies and expertise. Datvantage’s DMP capabilities will help us give more visibility and more control of audience data to our clients and partners, both on the buy- as well as on the sell-side
Will this help to create greater 3rd party data liquidity?
Alain: Liquidity is not the problem right now – we offer 80M user profiles in Europe and over 15M in the UK already so we have scale, but the market needs more precision, more control and more analysis to understand how to build, use and monetise audience data. This is what we’ll try to bring with Datvantage.
Why not build versus buy?
Alain: It’s a time to market issue. Arnaud Caplier and the Datvantage team have created a great platform, with very effective clustering models for audience data – complementary to those developed at Weborama – and some very strong relationships with buyers and sellers of audience data. The foundation has been laid and we can now build on top of it.
Is this an attempt to perhaps broaden the business model beyond being a data provisioner (in the UK at least)? Any ambitions to create a ‘mini’ data stack?
Alain: Weborama is not just a data provider: we offer technology services (adserving and tracking platforms for agencies and publishers) and operate ad networks in various countries, including Hi-media UK (in joint-venture with Hi-media) here in the UK. Our goal is to provide a complete stack of technology, data and media solutions to help advertisers, agencies and publishers manage and optimise their online business.
Will this alter the business model?
Alain: Not alter, Datvantage will simply offer more abilities to our advertiser, agency and publisher partners to trade online audience data, with teams and expertise fully dedicated to this activity.
How convinced are you that an actual data economy / market exists across Europe? Have we seen the end of the ‘rolled up’ businesses, ie the ad networks?
Alain: Some ad networks have developed a lot of data and targeting capabilities, starting with our own networks which are by far the best users of our audience data segments… but it is less about WHO will do it rather than HOW we will do it. The rationale of the online advertising market and the way it has changed over the past two or three years is clear: becoming more technology and more data-driven. We are still at the beginning of this evolution, but, inevitably, we will see more automation, more bidding, more targeting and more optimisation in the years to come. At Weborama, we are convinced that this marketplace be powered by data, so we’re investing today to build the solutions that will make it work tomorrow.