Demand-side platform Simpli.fi has acquired The Advantage Software Company, which helps ad agencies and marketers automate their workflows, for more than $100 million.
The acquisition allows Simpli.fi, a DSP that focuses on local advertising, to start offering media buyers customizable systems that help streamline planning, accounting and reconciliation practices.
Frost Prioleau, CEO of Simpli.fi, said media agencies have been asking—especially over the last year—for more solutions to drive efficiency and effectiveness of their marketing campaigns, which have come under more scrutiny as budgets have tightened given the financial hit of the pandemic.
Due to the pandemic, mergers and acquisitions in ad tech slowed by 46% in 2020 compared to the year prior, according to investment bank Luma Partners. However, with digital ad spend on the mend, vaccines rolling out, and growth in channels like connected TV and audio, the firm expects to see strong deal activity in 2021.
Prioleau said Simpli.fi is off to a very strong start in 2021, “well over” where it was at the beginning of 2020.
“This acquisition demonstrates our joint commitment to helping agencies with centralized solutions for managing all media types, and especially highlights our focus on providing innovative tools for managing broadcast and digital media,” said Ellen Coulter, president of Advantage Software, in a statement. “It also furthers our efforts to provide a robust, all-in-one solution for total agency management, in all areas of operations, with a focus on the future.”
Coulter will stay on as president of Advantage Software and run it as a separate business unit. All 40 Advantage Software employees will join Simpli.fi’s workforce of about 340 employees.
The acquisition is also meant to help automate the buying of both digital and traditional media, an important step especially as the longstanding television advertising model fundamentally changes given consumers’ shift to streaming.
For example, Simpli.fi saw a major upswing in CTV advertising on its platform, with spend in the category increasing 145% between January and October 2020. Prioleau said CTV is the fastest growing medium on the platform.
The Simpli.fi CEO added that many agencies are looking for ways to seamlessly buy audiences across linear TV and connected TV.
“Part of the workflow here absolutely has to do with TV and making it easy for TV buyers to allocate budgets, [shifting] from linear to connect TV according to where their audiences are,” Prioleau said.
Similarly, Mediaocean, a major media planning and reconciliation platform, bought 4C for about $150 million last July to help adapt to the changing TV landscape.