- DoubleVerify entered an agreement to acquire OpenSlate, a contextual targeting platform focused on connected TV (CTV) and social video, according to a news release. The cash and stock transaction valued at $150 million is expected to close in the current quarter.
- Founded in 2012, OpenSlate analyzes videos for brand safety, suitability and context and offers a variety of "pre-activation" controls to ensure ads create impact. The service, which is available in 37 global markets, works with platforms including Facebook, TikTok and YouTube and brand clients such as Coca-Cola, Kimberly-Clark, Pfizer and Unilever.
- By combining OpenSlate's pre-campaign tools with its own post-flight measurement suite, DoubleVerify aims to give marketers an end-to-end solution for optimizing their efforts. The deal is the latest to recognize the demand for alternatives to the third-party cookie, with contextual targeting a major contender. Neither DoubleVerify nor OpenSlate use trackers like cookies or Apple's Identifier for Advertisers (IDFA), per the announcement.
DoubleVerify, an ad-verification firm that helps brands ensure their messages are running in suitable environments, is moving to strengthen its offer around the red-hot social video and CTV markets with the OpenSlate acquisition. Media dollars have sped up a shift toward those channels under the pandemic, which has kept consumers glued to platforms like TikTok and Roku while accelerating cord-cutting. But social video and CTV remain a Wild West in many respects, even as they're expected to command revenues of $56 billion and $16 billion, respectively, by 2023, per estimates shared in the announcement.
CTV fraud schemes have proven to be a persistent problem, with bots spoofing traffic and leading to millions of wasted impressions for advertisers. Social video carries its own risks with the focus on user-generated content, as sites like Facebook increasingly grapple with how to allow freedom of expression while cracking down on hate speech and other harmful content. As social apps contend with targeting and measurement hiccups and mounting public image crises, more retailers are falling back on traditional holiday strategies like direct-mail catalogs and TV ads this year, CNBC recently reported.
In combining their technologies, DoubleVerify and OpenSlate aim to give marketers more pre-campaign controls to show up in relevant spaces and also more granular ways to analyze their efforts after they've run. OpenSlate's solutions fall under the banner of contextual targeting, a tactic that has seen growing adoption as marketers wrestle with the deprecation of third-party cookies. DoubleVerify last month launched its own contextual targeting offering called Custom Contextual.
The OpenSlate announcement dropped around DoubleVerify's latest batch of earnings, which saw total revenue up 36% year-on-year to $83.1 million for the period ending Sept. 30. The company has a variety of existing partnerships that could be fortified by the OpenSlate deal. It expects to be the only provider of unified brand suitability targeting, viewability and verification on TikTok, for example. In August, it acquired the European ad-verification company Meetrics GmbH for $24.3 million.
Ad-tech M&A has continued to heat up in a period of upheaval for digital marketing. CTV specialist Tremor International snapped up CTV ad server and management platform Spearad last month for $14.7 million. In August, Integral Ad Science purchased Publica, another CTV advertising platform, in a cash and stock transaction valued at $220 million.