Ad-Tech Headcount Analysis Finds 'Brand Safety' Expanding, DSPs/SSPs Waning

Based on an anecdotal analysis of employment trends among leading ad-technology companies and platforms, the industry is expanding at a healthy clip -- +9% overall -- but some sectors are growing faster than others, especially firms that provide data and analytics about “brand safety” or the quality of digital advertising placements.

That finding, which was released as part of a quarterly analysis published by Pivotal Research Group analyst Brian Wieser, may reflect the psyche of digital brand marketers, who seem full of angst about their digital marketing efforts.

“Once again the fastest-growing group of companies we have tracked are the companies with tools related to ad quality and brand safety, which in this grouping includes IAS and DoubleVerify,” Wieser writes in the report, which is based on third-quarter data from LinkedIn. “The two companies’ Linkedin-based headcounts expanded by +26% year-over-year.”

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The next fastest-growing sector, Wieser found, was social media management providers, including HootSuite, Sprinklr, Sprout Social, Unified and Nanigans, which combined to grow by +24% during the third quarter.

The third fastest-growing sector was location-based analytics firms, including xAd, Foursquare, Verve, PlaceIQ, UberMedia, NinthDecimal and Factual, which grew by +15% year-over-year.

“Other sectors posted declines, such as video-focused advertising,” Wieser added, speculating that's “perhaps because YouTube takes so much share of the sector, or possibly because of general fee squeezes.”

He said demand-side platforms were also trending downward, “perhaps because marketers and agencies are reducing fees for services which are harder to differentiate, or because Google’s DoubleClick platform is expanding its dominance, as well as SSPs [supply-side platforms]."

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