Digital Media Measurement Companies Pique Investor Interest

Marketers concerned about brand safety, ad fraud, ad measurement, viewability, and return on ad spend have developed a keen interest in independent third-party digital ad measurement and verification services.

So it’s no surprise that, as Digital News Daily reported, Providence Equity has taken a majority stake in DoubleVerify, a provider of such services.

The stake is perfectly timed, amid ongoing consolidation and roll-ups in the ad tech and martech sectors. Oracle bought Moat, a firm that offers similar services, for some $850 million this spring.

DoubleVerify focuses on digital ad quality and the performance of digital media investments, both of which are of high interest to brand marketers.

DoubleVerify CEO Wayne Gattinella said the equity stake is valued at “well over $200 million” and the value of the overall deal was “well over $300 million.” Besides Providence, Blumberg Capital, an existing venture capital investor, poured some money in, as well as a few members of senior management -- and there was some outside capital as well, Gattinella said.

“Third-party measurement has rapidly become a requirement of large digital brand advertisers across all of their digital media spend and platforms,” he said, adding that DoubleVerify has seen the problem of digital ad fraud grow since 2008 when it launched its original brand safety solution. In addition, ad viewability has become a de rigueur measure.

Gattinella said that in first-quarter 2018, DoubleVerify expects to launch a new product that will offer marketers the ability to determine how their ads are being viewed, measuring the value of how consumers are engaging with digital advertising, he said. “As you look at newer platforms for in-app mobile, OTT [over-the-top TV], native, and other digital ad formats, there is still a continuing requirement to integrate third-party measurement so an advertiser has a 360-degree view of their online spend.”

The fact that there is a lot of self-reported data that’s fragmented and disparate methodologies remains a challenge to media measurement, Gattinella said. “How do advertisers prepare and benchmark the quality of one media source to another?”

Increasingly, marketers are requesting a consistent and single platform to review performance across media platforms and to determine the quality and performance of an inventory source, he said.

“We feel like we’re just in the beginning stages for the growth of third-party measurement. Expanding into new platforms represents more ad impression volume that we can measure and analyze,” Gattinella explained.

In addition, he said that the equity stake will help DoubleVerify expand its measurement business globally and extend its offerings beyond looking at how an ad was placed, to how people are engaging with ads across media and the quality of user engagement. The company also may explore more tools to help marketers understand campaign performance.

“It’s an exciting time for digital measurement and analytics companies. There has certainly been an increased level of strategic and financial interest in Integral Ad Science. We will continue to evaluate interest based on our business objectives and in the best interests of our shareholders,” David Hahn, chief product officer, IAS, told Digital News Daily.

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