Here’s an example of a North American company buying up some European tech: WhatRunsWhere, the service that enables ad agencies and advertisers to track competitors’ online ad campaigns, has acquired UK-based Mobile Ad Spy to expand its offering to mobile. Terms of the deal remain undisclosed.
WhatRunsWhere offers a “competitive intelligence” service for online media buying which lets users look up what advertisers are doing online in terms of where they are running ads, who they are buying inventory from, down to exactly what ads they are running. This also extends to the ability to scrutinize individual online publishers, looking at things like who is advertising there, who is selling the inventory, and what ads are on display. The premise is that if you can better understand what is working for your competitors then you have a greater chance of trumping them — and boosting the all important ROI.
It competes with the likes of Comscore, Mixrank, and AdClarity.
Which brings us nicely to today’s acquisition. WhatRunsWhere says that Mobile Ad Spy’s technology will be merged into the WhatRunsWhere platform, and that users testing a beta version of Mobile Ad Spy — which has been running since May but is now closed — will be invited to continue using the service when it relaunches under the WhatRunsWhere brand.
Meanwhile, its existing customers will soon be able to benefit from that new mobile ad tracking functionality, letting them see where their competitors’ ads are running on smartphones, tablets and other mobile media and “pinpoint exactly which individual ads are running on which apps, mobile sites and mobile ad networks”, says Max Teitelbaum, chief operating officer of WhatRunsWhere, in a canned statement.
Overall, it looks like a mixture of technology grab, with a heavy dose of acqu-hire too, as online ad spend slowly but surely migrates over to mobile, but in a climate reminiscent of the desktop web a few years ago where everybody — including behemoths like Facebook — are still trying to figure out what works. Anything that gives advertisers the upper hand in the new Wild West of mobile advertising, has to be welcomed.