Rakuten Acquires Manifest, Strengthens Position In Social Advertising

Rakuten Marketing -- known for its display, search and affiliate programs -- announced Thursday the acquisition of Manifest Commerce, strengthening its position in social media.

Manifest combines its technology with product feeds to serve the correct products to consumers across Facebook, Google Shopping, and Instagram. The acquisition lets brands optimize customer acquisition strategies and drive performance in a way that is typically only experienced with retargeting and lower-funnel campaigns, explains Tony Zito, Rakuten CEO.

The Manifest technology gives Rakuten account managers recommendations about the products expected to perform best on social platform vs. other publisher environments.

Bob Buch, Manifest CEO, will remain with the company through the transition, along with Manifest's 16 employees, primarily developers, who will join Rakuten's marketing team. The company employees about 700 globally in a variety of business units across the U.S., Europe, Australia, and Brazil.

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"We will integrate the Manifest technology and team with our Display solution, and have not yet determined how it will affect branding," he said.

In addition to the talent and technology, Zito said the acquisition also includes the brand name and a list of clients such as Neiman Marcus Group, Gilt Groupe, One Kings Lane, and LivingSocial.

Zito says Rakuten's affiliate network works with social influencers to promote brands and their products. These bloggers use a set of tools created by Rakuten Affiliate Network.

"We invest in blogger recruitment … and have an internal team specifically dedicated to identifying top influencers in all major social networks, Zito said, touting the company's ability to match influencers with brands to serve unique, native content.

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