Oracle's BlueKai Acquisition Fills Gap In Advertising Supply Chain

Oracle has been strengthening its digital marketing arm for more than a decade, and Monday announced an agreement to acquire cloud-based data management platform BlueKai. It puts the traditional enterprise giant in a stronger position to personalize online and offline consumer campaigns through targeted audience data, and moves it one step closer to building an advertising supply chain deep in programmatic services.

The latest acquisition lands Oracle Founder Larry Ellison's enterprise biz smack in the middle of consumer audience segments and behavioral targeting to build cross-channel campaigns, and makes some wonder whether the next step will be an ad-serving network.

A cohesive, well-timed advertising supply chain, similar to those built for the manufacturing industry, remains the biggest missing piece for online advertising. Oracle, with its roots in enterprise supply chain software, methods and best practices, has the technology and experience to make the advertising industry more efficient and timely.

Andy Monfried, Lotame founder, said the deal recognizes that a DMP's worth has become "more than just ad tech and can drive value way beyond digital advertising."

Oracle will integrate BlueKai into its Oracle Marketing Cloud, part of the Oracle Customer Experience Cloud that supports commerce, sales, service, social and marketing. The company began building out its technology to support digital marketing in early 2000, and added social marketing in 2012, after acquiring Vitrue, Collective Intellect, and Involver. In 2013 the company put plans in place to acquire Responsys for $1.5 billion, which supports the technology to retarget consumers with display ads.

Pivotal Research Senior Analyst Brain Wieser points out that "while agencies have capabilities in many spheres of ad tech (for example, most agencies have developed something resembling a proprietary DMP), each of Oracle, Salesforce and Adobe have products which agencies will want to use, if only because agencies are challenged to deploy sufficient resources towards their own solutions."

Oracle's history in supply chain efficiency and technology to strengthen back-end systems will become the real support for the company to close the holes in online advertising and cross-channel support. Ad serving could become the next challenge for the company, whose products historically support services from monitoring performance to replenishing inventory and stocking store shelves.

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