Amazon steps up its ad game with acquisition

Amazon is purchasing technology from a direct competitor of the Google Marketing Platform.

The e-tail giant has signed an agreement to acquire the ad server and Dynamic Creative Optimization (DCO) platforms from bankrupt digital advertising technology provider Sizmek Inc. The ad server solution enables companies to place online ads and measure their performance, while DCO allows users to create personalized ads at a large scale.

Once the deal closes, the Sizmek platforms will operate separately from Amazon Advertising, at least for the time being.

“Sizmek and Amazon Advertising have many mutual customers, so we know how valued these proven solutions are to their customer base,” Amazon said in a brief blog post announcing the acquisition.

When Sizmek filed for bankruptcy, the company estimated the value of its assets to be $100 million to $500 million. Marketing/CRM technology provider Zeta Global Holdings Corp. has purchased some of Sizmek’s assets for $36 million.

According to a February 2019 survey from advertising software vendor Nanigans and Advertiser Perceptions, Amazon is rapidly gaining momentum in the digital advertising race. Retail marketers estimate Amazon gets 14% of their digital ad spend, placing it third behind longtime leaders Google (21%) and Facebook/Instagram (19%). Additionally, half of those surveyed said they are planning to spend more with Amazon over the next 12 months, with an average planned increase of 25%.

And Amazon is not the only retail heavyweight looking to take some of Google and Facebook’s digital ad market share. Walmart recently acquired the technology and assets of Polymorph Labs, a Silicon Valley-based advertising startup, to bolster its own Walmart Media Group.

With Polymorph’s scalable technology platform, Walmart intends to enable advertisers to on-board quickly, select audience segments based on shopping behavior (e.g., cat food buyers vs. dog food buyers), automate ad delivery, and then measure whether their ads influenced a sale.

In addition, Target is introducing Roundel, a “reimagining” of the in-house media company it launched in 2016. In addition to pushing out targeted, timed messages on Target’s own platforms, it can deliver personalized promotions via more than 150 external partner platforms. Target says that other businesses which align with the needs of its customers can leverage Roundel’s customized promotional capabilities.

Details of the Amazon-Sizmek deal have not been released.