Oracle Quietly Exits the Advertising Business

Tim Cross 12 June, 2024 

This story was sent out to subscribers to VideoWeek’s newsletter. To receive email alerts for breaking news stories, you can sign up to the newsletter here.

Tech giant Oracle made a low key announcement in its quarterly earnings call last night that it has decided to exit the advertising business. CEO Safra Catz said that the company decided to wind down its advertising business over the past three months, stating that revenues from the segment had fallen to around $300 million for its most recent financial year.

Catz didn’t give any further details on the timing of the wind down, what it plans to do with its advertising related assets, or what will happen to clients working with Oracle Advertising.

Oracle built its advertising business through a series of major acquisitions, costing billions overall. While Oracle had made a number of martech purchases already, its 2014 acquisition of data management platform BlueKai, reported to have cost around $350 million, was the first major part of its ad tech stack. BlueKai’s Audience Data Marketplace was combined with other Oracle data services into Oracle Data Cloud.

Further big acquisitions followed. Later in 2014 Oracle bought Datalogix, which specialised in linking offline purchase signals to digital platforms for targeting and measurement, for an undisclosed fee. The Wall Street Journal claimed the deal to be worth more than $1.2 billion. In 2016 the company bought publisher personalisation tool AddThis, which added yet more audience data into Data Cloud, for $200 million. Shortly after it acquired cross-device vendor Crosswise for roughly $50 million.

Two more major acquisitions in the late 2010s took Oracle’s ad offering into new areas. Moat, acquired for a reported $850 million in 2017, brought oracle into the ad verification space. Moat retained an independent identity, but still sat within Oracle Data Cloud. Meanwhile Grapeshot, acquired a year later for around $400 million, added contextual targeting and brand safety tools to the Data Cloud suite. Following all these acquisitions, Oracle rebranded Data Cloud as Oracle Advertising.

The end of a troubled era

There had previously been signs of trouble within Oracle’s ads business. Oracle Advertising was hurt by privacy moves within the industry, such as the introduction of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in Europe, and Facebook shutting off access to third-party data providers following the Cambridge Analytica scandal.

The strain of the former was seen last year, with the shuttering of AddThis. AddThis had previously had to shut off access to data from EU users, in order to comply with GDPR. The latter was reported by Insider in 2022 to have had a significant impact on Oracle Advertising’s revenues.

Separately, in 2022 Oracle was slapped with a class-action lawsuit in America relating to its ads business. The lawsuit claims that Oracle had used third-party trackers without consent, using them to build audience profiles.

All of this put extra pressure on a business which was also struggling to compete with other big names operating in the same space. In 2022 Oracle Advertising’s workforce was hit with major cuts, claimed by Insider to have affected up to 80 percent of the division. Insider said that Oracle Advertising’s competitors including Salesforce and Adobe had offered big discounts to clients, which Oracle hadn’t matched.

At the time, AdExchanger reported that Oracle Advertising’s total revenues for 2021 had sat at $2 billion, meaning revenues have fallen by around 85 percent since then, judging by Catz’s figure.

Follow VideoWeek on Twitter and LinkedIn.


About the Author:

Tim Cross is Assistant Editor at VideoWeek.
Go to Top