Supply-side platform TripleLift has announced this morning that it is acquiring European ad tech company 1plusX, a platform for activating first-party data. TripleLift says the acquisition will help its publisher partners to better monetise their inventory once third-party cookies are phased out on Chrome, making it easier for them to layer in first-party data insights into their ad sales.
TripleLift, which was itself acquired by investment group Vista Equity Partners last year, did not disclose how much it paid for 1plusX, though the Wall Street Journal reports the deal to be worth $150 million.
1plusX, founded in 2014, operates across Europe, the US, and Asia. Its products include a data clean room, which allows advertisers and publishers to combine their first-party data sets in a privacy safe manner, as well as data management tools and CTV-specific solutions. The company has worked with a number of high-profile publishers including Axel Springer, Le Figaro, and South China Morning Post.
TripleLift has suggested that these tools will be folded into its own programmatic exchange, enabling buyers to target audience profiles created using 1plusX’s tech.
“The combination of TripleLift and 1plusX means publishers and marketers will have a scaled, independent platform that is designed for the privacy-centric future,” said Eric Berry, Co-Founder & CEO, TripleLift. “Now thousands of TripleLift publishers can access 1plusX’s best-in-class technology to leverage first-party data and TripleLift advertisers can apply that same data to targeting capabilities made for the privacy era. No third-party cookies required.”
It’s not clear whether 1plusX’s tools will be available outside of TripleLift’s range of supply-side partners.
The first of many?
The deal comes during an extended period of consolidation in the ad tech sector through a number of high profile mergers and acquisitions. But this deal in particular stands out as an example of a well established ad tech business buying up a privacy specialist, in preparation for life after cookies.
TripleLift has already invested in cookie-free ad solutions. The company started life as a specialist in native ads which used contextual data for targeting. And it also offers data-driven Exchange Traded Deals (ETDs) – impression-level, outcome based targeting signals that drive advertiser performance without the use of third-party cookies.
But the company clearly felt its cookieless solutions needed reinforcing.
It will be interesting to see whether any other mainstays of the programmatic ecosystem follow suit. Many are so far relying on third-party solutions, or building their own cookie-free ad tools in-house. But the jury is still out on how effective many of these tools are, or even how privacy compliant they really are.
As Google’s deadline for eliminating third-party cookies from Chrome draws closer, we could well see a number of the bigger ad tech players similarly buying up tried-and-tested first-party data solutions.
“Publishers are already sitting on one of the largest potential goldmines of data to fill the cookie void: publisher first-party data, which includes contextual, registration and on-site behavioral data,” said Paul Bannister, co-founder and chief strategy officer at CafeMedia. “This acquisition signals to the industry that a much needed investment in first-party solutions is finally here and it’s being jump-started by TripleLift with this acquisition.”