Vibrant Media Boosts In-Image Ads With Acquisition

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You may not have heard of Vibrant Media, but you’ve almost certainly seen its product — specifically, the “in-text advertising” that pops up when you click on double-underlined words on certain websites.

Well, Vibrant is expanding beyond text, and to that end, it has announced its first acquisition, of an image-based ad network called Image Space Media. The financial terms of the deal are not being disclosed.

Vibrant’s current lineup already includes non-text products like Vibrant Bar, Vibrant Display, Vibrant Video — and, yes, Vibrant Image, which overlays relevant ads on photos that online publishers are already running, for example displaying a Chrysler ad over an image of a Chrysler vehicle. A company spokesperson tells me that ISM’s technology will improve Vibrant ads with “tools for visual targeting and verification of images [seeing the images as they’re targeted], a self-serve platform for publisher sign-up, and great post-campaign reporting capabilities.”

The company says its current advertisers include Vodafone, Chrysler, and Unilever, and that it works more than 6,500 publishers. If the company’s stats are to be believed, that presents a big opportunity for Vibrant Image, because there are 1.5 images per page in the existing network that could include Vibrant ads.

Some of you are probably groaning at the thought of seeing more ads intruding on editorial content. You’re not the only one. Still, when I met with Vibrant’s new-ish CEO Cella Irvine (formerly the CEO of About.com) last fall, she insisted that the company’s data shows that users actually like the ads, especially because they’re relevant to the content they’re reading and looking at.