Twitter Confirms Acquisition Of Mobile Ad Retargeting Startup TapCommerce

Twitter just announced that it’s acquiring mobile ad startup TapCommerce.

Re/code’s Ina Fried broke the news about the acquisition earlier this afternoon, reporting that the deal price was $100 million. (Twitter declined to provide a price).

TapCommerce helps mobile businesses retarget their ads, i.e., target ads based on previous user activity — something that’s become common for desktop web advertising but not really on mobile, due to the lack of cookies. (Co-founder and CEO Brian Long has said TapCommerce is able to retarget using “large amounts of data coupled with sophisticated statistical analysis”) For example, an e-commerce app could use retargeted ads to convince a lapsed user to return, maybe by promoting new sales and promotions.

It seems like TapCommerce’s technology could offer Twitter way to improve the mobile app install and engagement ads that it announced today. (Facebook has also be launching tools in this area.)

In a blog post, Twitter suggested that the acquisition was part of its broader strategy in mobile marketing, which it kicked off last year with the acquisition of MoPub. (Earlier this month, the company also announced the acquisition of mobile ad startup Namo Media.) In its most recent earnings report, the company said 80 percent of its ad revenue came from mobile.

Richard Alfonsi, Twitter, vice president of global online sales, wrote abut the deal:

Together with the TapCommerce team, Twitter will be able to offer mobile app marketers more robust capabilities for app re-engagement, tools and managed service solutions for real-time programmatic buying, and better measurement capabilities. Combined with our other ad solutions, advertisers will be able to drive conversions and ROI with mobile consumers on and off of Twitter, across the full user lifecycle — from acquiring new users through app installs, to engaging existing users who already have the advertisers’ apps on their device. And if you’re an everyday mobile user, we expect this will mean better and more relevant ads in the apps you use.

When asked what made TapCommerce stand out, Alfonsi told me that he was impressed by TapCommerce’s focus on app reengagement, its support for programmatic ad-buying, and by its existing client list, which he said has significant overlap with Twitter’s. As the company’s name implies, its earliest advertisers came from the world of e-commerce, but Alfonsi said it now has gaming, travel, and lifestyle austomers as well. (The TapCommerce team said the deal will not affect the service it offers to those existing customers.)

“People have been talking about [mobile retargeting] for a while, but I think it’s really starting to become real now,” Alfonsi said.

He added that it’s “too early to say” when we might see TapCommerce technology used on Twitter (or on other apps that run MoPub advertising): “We’re still in the basic team integration stage, showing them the bathroom, those kinds of things, but we’re starting to think about the product roadmap and we’re excited about where this could go.”