Will Amazon Buy Kenshoo Or Marin Software Following Sizmek Acquisition?

Amazon's acquisition of Sizmek's ad-server business and dynamic creative optimization platform, announced Friday, has industry experts weighing in about the company’s next major acquisition to build out its advertising capabilities.

One piece now missing from Amazon’s ad stack is similar technology now offered from Marin Software and Kenshoo, according to Hugo Loriot, U.S. managing director of 55, a European data company created by the former CEO and senior management team of Google Southern Europe. Their respective platforms would enable Amazon advertisers to directly run campaigns on Google, Bing, Facebook and others.

“In my opinion, Amazon should make a move to acquire a bid-management technology stack such as Marin or Kenshoo, which have lost a lot of value in the past two or three years,” Loriot said. “If they had that technology they could show the side-by-side performance of Google Ads. And that would be a big deal.”



Marin and Kenshoo already integrate with Amazon Advertising. A deal like this may never happen, but that’s what Loriot would do if given the chance, he said.

“I’m not sure if Google, Bing, Facebook are willing to give Amazon direct access to their APIs to buy inventory,” said Wes MacLaggan, SVP of marketing at Marin Software.

MacLaggan, who was not part of the initial discussion, provided insight into the process. He said that in order to directly sell search and social ad inventory, Amazon first would need to build out a platform like Google Search Ads 360.

“You have the makings of three walled gardens, and with more ad-serving technology Amazon could use the data to reach people beyond their own platform, but also within their own,” he said. “One thing these companies will struggle with is having access to each other’s inventory.”

Some industry experts believe Amazon should now acquire a company like Marin or Kenshoo.

“I don’t think that would be a crazy move on their part, but the question would be whether or not Google and Facebook would give Amazon API access,” MacLaggan said. “That could be a potential blocker.”

Google must go through third-party partners to get Facebook data, MacLaggan said. Through Google Search Ads 360, advertisers can pull in Facebook data through platforms like 4C Insights, which allows marketers to combine search and social data through the Google ad stack.

Marin supports Amazon Sponsored Search Ads, where advertisers can measure and manage ads on Amazon, but it does not allow Amazon advertisers to buy ads on Google, Bing and Facebook, similar to the way the Sizmek ad server allows advertisers to run ads on publisher sites that drive consumers back to the Amazon marketplace.  

Google has a new product–focused ad unit that ties into site search for companies like Walmart, Target, and Macy’s Inc. MacLaggan described it as the “product version of native ads.”

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