Sizmek Adds Digital Audio to Ad Server & StrikeAd DSP; Phunware Partners with Lotame for Data Insights on Mobile Users

US & Canada ad tech news

ExchangeWire rounds up some of the biggest stories in the US/Canadian digital advertising space. In this week’s edition: Sizmek partners with StrikeAd; Phunware partners with Lotame; WPP consolidates Neo into Mindshare; Celtra receives USD$15m (£11.8m) investment; Varick partners with Vistar; and SourcePoint launches AltPay.

Sizmek adds digital audio to ad server and programmatic audio to StrikeAd DSP

Sizmek, an Austin, TX-based company offering a creative optimisation and workflow platform, has added a digital audio channel to their ad server and platform, including programmatic capabilities to their mobile DSP, StrikeAd. The new capabilities are being made available through several integration partners, including Triton Digital. The addition of digital audio will allow for complete campaign deployment within their platform, as well as programmatic audio campaigns on mobile devices.

“The inclusion of audio in Sizmek’s platform will contribute to the growth of the global digital audio industry by providing agencies and marketers with full control of creative, and real-time access to delivery reports”, said Benjamin Masse, managing director of market development & strategy at Triton Digital. “We are proud to have StrikeAd integrated with a2x® and TAP, to provide buyers with increased access to premium inventory through the open marketplace, private deals, and managed services.”

Gregg Rogers, Product Marketing Manager, Sizmek

Gregg Rogers, product marketing manager, Sizmek tells ExchangeWire: “The opportunity digital audio presents to marketers is immense – Spotify has over 140 million active users alone. With easy scalability, strong ad recall, and the ability to reach targeted, relevant audiences, digital audio advertising should be an integral part of any multi-channel campaign.

“Digital audio has historically been underutilised, but Sizmek’s new capabilities will provide marketers and agencies with the support they need – including full control of creative and real-time access to delivery reports – to allow them to reach their target audience in a more relevant, meaningful way. And, with digital audio ads available programmatically on mobile, marketers can now access premium inventory through open marketplaces or private deals – and enjoy the increased efficiency and scale that accompanies this buying method.”

Phunware partners with Lotame for data insights on mobile users

Phunware, an Austin-based mobile application lifecycle management platform, has partnered with data management platform Lotame for cross-device targeting capabilities, helping brands more accurately target and convert new and existing mobile users. The partnership will allow Lotame’s platform users to precisely target consumers, across Phunware’s 300+ segments, at the right time and on the right device.

Ian Karnell, GM, Audience Building & Monetization, Phunware

“As consumers turn to mobile devices for more and more of their daily activities, each mobile event leaves behind an invaluable trail of data. Today, successfully leveraging that mobile data can be the determining factor between brand success and failure. With hundreds of millions of devices touching the Phunware platform each month, we’ve accumulated an unparalleled database and understanding of mobile behavior. Now, in partnering with Lotame, we’re helping brands better put that mobile data to use across devices, to improve ad targeting, engagement, and optimisation and reduce wasted spend”, Ian Karnell, GM, audience building & monetization, Phunware, tells ExchangeWire.

“DMPs offer marketers the data and actionable audience insights to make the right campaign decisions and drive continuous performance improvements”, said Andy Monfried, CEO of Lotame. “With data from hundreds of millions of devices, Phunware brings a massive new mobile set to our device graph, offering a new level of customer behaviour insight to help marketers know who they are reaching and when they are ready to buy.”

WPP consolidates Ogilvy’s Neo into Mindshare

The consolidation strategy is continuing for WPP, after the previously reported combining of MEC and Maxus, with Ogilvy’s media agency and performance marketing network, Neo, being absorbed into Group M’s Mindshare. The new unit will also include an addressable channel operation called ‘FAST’ (Future Adaptive Specialist Team). Neo Global CEO Nasreen Madhany and global chief operating officer Bradley Rogers will continue in their roles and join the Mindshare leadership team.

“In a rapidly changing client and media industry environment, Nasreen and I believe that embedding Neo under Mindshare management will best serve our client-centric strategy and the ongoing enterprise transformation across WPP”, said Ogilvy worldwide chairman and CEO, John Seifert.

Nick Emery, global CEO Mindshare, told MediaPost: “The combination of Neo and FAST fuels our ambition to create a preeminent and consistent digital, data, distribution, and content spine for clients by investing further in these outcome-based capabilities. We look forward to welcoming Neo into Mindshare for the benefit of our clients.”

Celtra receives USD$15m investment from Unilever & WPP

Celtra, a Boston based creative management platform, has received an investment round of USD$15m (£11.8m) backed by both WPP and Unilever, to continue to expand business with some of the world’s largest advertisers on the Fortune Global 500.

Miha Mikek, Founder & CEO, Celtra

The latest round of funding will help Unilever use Celtra’s technology across the Unilever global organisation and service providers, technology vendors, and media suppliers.

Keith Weed, Unilever chief marketing officer, said: “People deserve advertising that feels native to each medium and delivers emotional value. Celtra helps us deliver that at global scale.”

“Brands have struggled to not just create effective ads, but to maintain control and visibility across campaigns and teams while driving an efficient process. With Celtra’s Creative Management Platform, clients receive built-in knowledge of ad products and a simple, orchestrated way to create appropriate content with a single, unified tool”, Miha Mikek, Celtra’s founder and CEO, tells ExchangeWire. “We plan to use the funding to replicate the success we’ve found with Unilever, and speed up the process of onboarding new brands.”

Varick partners with Vistar Media for OOH omnichannel programmatic

Varick, an audience-centric digital marketing company, is partnering with Vistar Media, a geospatial technology company, to bring programmatic out-of-home (OOH) into Varick’s omnichannel buying solution. With this partnership, Varick can now access Vistar’s DSP and exchange built specifically for the OOH industry. Through this partnership, Varick can now execute programmatic campaigns for their clients across OOH media, just as they do across display, mobile, and video today.

Michael Provenzano, CEO & co-founder, Vistar Media

Michael Provenzano, CEO and co-founder, Vistar Media explains to ExchangeWire: “The big problem for many trading desks that we’ve been talking to is that they’ve had to turn down budgets from marketers asking for out-of-home because they didn’t have a way to execute those buys effectively. This, in turn, has stifled the growth of the industry.

“Now, as we work with more trading desks like Varick, they’re able to help marketers connect to audiences as they move in real-world environments, and this opens up opportunities in the broader programmatic landscape.

“The value for companies like Varick is huge. They are already working with brand marketers to define and target audiences; and through Vistar they gain insight into consumers’ movement patterns. This gives them a better way to help build and identify those audiences, or activate the same segment across media in the physical world.”

SourcePoint launches AltPay for payments as an alternative to advertising

Sourcepoint, a content compensation solution provider for premium publishers, launched AltPay™, its first solution to allow publishers to offer consumers an option to support content through direct payments. AltPay will give publishers the ability to provide consumers a choice of making a payment in return for accessing the publisher’s content ad-free. This will be available to use with existing Dialogue, Sourcepoint’s content compensation platform, features, providing the ability to segment audiences, create custom user journeys, test the effectiveness of varied message types, and adapt their approach. AltPay is in beta now, with full availability coming in Q3.

Ben Barokas, CEO & Founder, Sourcepoint

“In response to conversations with our clients and findings from consumer research, we believe there is a need for publishers to expand the content compensation options they provide to their users. Our AltPay solution allows publishers to offer consumers a way to support their content through direct payment, in addition to ad-supported experiences, or subscription packages.

“AltPay provides the framework for time-based packages, allowing publishers to set pricing and the time limitations by which a user can benefit from ad-free access in return for a direct payment.

“We are equipping publishers with technology and services to enable them to be in complete control of their own revenue strategy. Publishers will have the ability to test and understand the conversion rate of consumers who opt-in to direct payments, along with other alternative methods of compensation, as part of the wider Dialogue platform”, Ben Barokas, CEO and founder, Sourcepoint tells ExchangeWire.