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Amazon Buys Sizmek, Moving the Needle on Ad Tech

Amazon Buys Sizmek, Moving the Needle on Ad Tech

Amazon finalized their acquisition of longstanding ad tech company Sizmek in June, shortly after Sizmek’s bankruptcy filing. 

In late May, Amazon Advertising posted a press release announcing the acquisition. While the acquisition was challenged by Ycor last minute, Amazon ultimately purchased Sizmek for a total somewhere north of $30 million. 

According to the press release:

“Sizmek and Amazon Advertising have many mutual customers, so we know how valued these proven solutions are to their customer base. Sizmek has been searching for a buyer for Sizmek Ad Server and Sizmek DCO, and we are both committed to continuing serving their customers at the high standards they’ve come to expect.”

At the same time, Amazon announced that both Sizmek Ad Server and Sizmek DCO will operate separately from Amazon’s own advertising arm. 

The Impact of an Amazon-Sizmek Operation

Despite the lack of details on the deal, it’s clear that the acquisition moves the needle on ad tech. Namely, owning Sizmek moves Amazon closer to challenging Google and Facebook’s apparent duopoly in programmatic digital advertising. 

But the challenge may not be as direct as one would think. “Rather than compete on ad serving, buying Sizmek is more likely a play by Amazon to bolster its own ad stack,” writes Alison Weissbrot at Ad Exchanger. “An ad server, which acts as a ledger for all of a brand’s media activity, could enhance Amazon’s attribution and measurement solutions – and pull its biggest customers deeper inside its garden walls.” 

In a phrase, owning Sizmek’s Ad Server also makes it easier for Amazon customers to utilize the full stack of ad options. “The ad server is a key strategic asset to control the relationship with agencies and derive the full value of their DSP,” Smart CEO Arnaud Créput told Digiday. 

At the same time, the acquisition of Sizmek’s Dynamic Creative Optimization platform means Amazon will be able to offer more powerful personalization to customers. If the ad server is about efficient last mile delivery, the DCO is about increasing average order value. 

Ad Tech Acquisitions Continue

The Amazon-Sizmek acquisition is just one among a host of deals that promise to shake up ad tech. It was the most noteworthy, granted. But a handful of other deals highlight just how much change the market is going through:

  • Late last year, Accenture acquired ad tech firm Adaptly. According to Marketing Dive, the deal will strengthen Accenture’s media buying and measurement capabilities in the digital realm. The acquisition is the latest iteration of Accenture’s push into programmatic.
  • Claritas, which focuses on data segmentation, purchased Barometric, which focuses on tracking, measurement and attribution. Claritas CEO Mike Nazzaro said that combining user segmentation with user measurement means “businesses can find and target their best customers at scale and verify that their messaging is reaching who they want it to reach.”

Ad tech company Affle has acquired the mobile advertising company RevX. The move is designed to boost Affle’s user acquisition and retargeting on mobile. It’s the fourth acquisition from Affle in the past year and a half. 

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