Adobe Acquires Efficient Frontier, Streamlines Ad Buying

Adobe scooped up another marketing company Wednesday with the acquisition of Efficient Frontier. The digital publishing company, known for its tool that turns digital documents into PDFs, will better support search and display marketing and social media through various tools and complex analytics. 

Efficient Frontier marks the fourth acquisition in the advertising space for Adobe during the past few years, following Omniture, Demdex and Auditude. The deal continues to pit the company against heavyweights such as IBM, which in the past few years made strides through acquisitions to support online advertising.

Adobe will continue to create technology that allows marketers to buy and optimize online advertising for search, social and display. The company said it captures approximately 5 trillion digital transactions per year for more than 5,000 customers, including many of the world’s largest advertisers, publishers and advertising agencies. The addition of Efficient Frontier should build on that foundation.

With the acquisition, Adobe acquires tools that streamline the multichannel online ad-buying process with an algorithm that optimizes bids and allocates budgets across search, display and social media. 

Known for its expertise in analytics, Efficient Frontier releases detailed quarterly reports on the state of the search marketing industry and insights into cost per clicks to market on Facebook. For example, in October the company said marketers spend 20% more on search during Q3 2011 in the United States, compared with the year-ago quarter. And tablets captured 77% of all retail mobile ad spend in September.  

It also recently moved to support marketers through social campaigns.

Earlier this month, Context Optional, a company that Efficient Frontier picked up for about $50 million, became one of the few social media marketing companies to join in the program expanding on third-party tools for Google+ business pages, using its Social Marketing Suite to manage brand-to-fan interactions.

The tool allows clients to move beyond Facebook and into Google+ with +Circles, a tagging system allowing brands to create Circles and target followers on Google+ Pages based on engagement. The company said it helps brand circles "go viral" or spread throughout the social site more quickly.

Efficient Frontier's outlook for Q4 2011 suggests that U.S. companies will increase spending by 15% for search marketing.

Earlier this week, Adobe also announced the integration of BrightEdge technology to support search engine optimization.

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