Rubicon Project Acquires Intent-Based Marketing Firm Chango

Rubicon Project, a large ad tech firm and ad exchange, on Tuesday announced it has acquired Chango, a demand-side platform (DSP) and intent-based marketing firm. The deal is worth approximately $122 million, primarily in stock, per a release.

Chango specializes in intent-based marketing, including keyword and contextual targeting. Rubicon had previously not tapped into the intent-based marketing space, and the company asserts its marketplace is now plugged into the $35 billion global industry.

Frank Addante, CEO, founder and chief product architect at Rubicon Project, told Real-Time Daily that Chango’s technology will help Rubicon better define intent. Chango’s technology tracks intent based on initial searches and based on the content the consumer ultimately ends up consuming. Marketers can then serve ads tailored to the consumer based on what Chango determines their intent is.

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“We’re now able to take that technology and bring it to premium buyers and sellers,” said Addante. Previously, he claimed, that type of contextual keyword targeting was focused in the “tail of the market,” such as on small blogs.

“Now we’re able to take that additional spend and bring it to Rubicon Project’s marketplace; essentially take it from search and move it into premium advertising,” Addante said.

The Chango acquisition is first and foremost about bringing the intent-based marketing technologies to Rubicon, per Addante, but he said the second reason behind buying Chango was to accelerate Rubicon's “Buyer Cloud” business.

Rubicon started business as an SSP (supply-side platform) eight years ago, but has since transitioned to focus on its exchange business while offering programatic tech to both buyers and sellers. Given the company’s roots on the supply side, the acquisition of a buy-side platform helps bring its “Buyer Cloud” up to speed.

“It accelerates our Buyer Cloud initiatives by more than a year,” said Addante. In other words, the company’s buy-side technology just jumped one year ahead on the “product road map.” That includes a boost in technology, employees (Chango has over 150), and clients (Chango counts 60 Fortune 500 companies as customers).

In a similar vein, Chango’s large customer base will introduce more marketers to Rubicon’s “Orders” platform, a programmatic direct platform the company has been crafting and renovating for nearly 18 months. Rubicon launched its own programmatic direct platform in 2013, acquired two companies -- ShinyAds and iSocket -- specialized in the space in 2014, and launched a revamped programmatic direct ad platform dubbed “Orders” in 2015.

“What we’ve been trying to do it get adoption of the technology,” said Addante. “What Chango brings to us is customer relationships, integrations and their team. They have a large number of advertisers, agencies and buyers. Those pre-existing customers will now have access to our Orders technology.”

Addante said that Chango will predominantly operate autonomously post-acquisition, and that some of its technology is already integrated into Rubicon’s platform by virtue of prior partnerships.

Chango, headquartered in Ontario, Canada, can lay claim to being the fastest-growing technology company in Canada. It topped Deloitte’s Technology Fast 50 for Canada list in 2014.

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