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The rise and rise of “post-ad-tech” phenomenon Turn

There’s no get­ting away from it: if you hold media jobs in online adver­tis­ing agen­cies, whether you’re an art direc­tor or an account man­ag­er, you need access to good met­rics to gauge the effec­tive­ness of your cam­paigns. One sign that investors are smil­ing benev­o­lent­ly at com­pa­nies capa­ble of this fete is the recent cash injec­tion secured by the “post-ad-tech” com­pa­ny Turn, which has just raised a prince­ly $80m in Series E fund­ing, bring­ing its total invest­ment to a wal­lop­ing $135m.

Grow­ing and grow­ing

Launched in 2004 and head­quar­tered in Sil­i­con Val­ley, Turn now has offices in San Fran­cis­co, Chica­go Los Ange­les and New York (and that’s not men­tion­ing its offices in Brazil, Japan, Lon­don and Ams­ter­dam). Turn’s forte resides in its dual plat­forms – one demand-side and the oth­er data man­age­ment – which pull the fol­low­ing rab­bits out of their respec­tive hats. The demand-side prod­uct acts as a sin­gle point of ref­er­ence for ad buy­ers to man­age mul­ti­ple data sources and ad exchanges, while its data man­age­ment sib­ling lets those buy­ers lever­age their data to tar­get the audi­ences they want to reach. All in real-time, of course.

Intrigued art direc­tors and account man­agers might want to know that Turn was EBITDA pos­i­tive in 2013, see­ing pos­i­tive income before tax­a­tion and amor­ti­za­tion com­mit­ments and, with its 350 employ­ees, is now deliv­er­ing over 1.5 tril­lion ads every month. With suc­cess like that, its promise to trans­form the way online adver­tis­ing agen­cies and mark­ers do busi­ness begins to look more than plau­si­ble.

The post-ad-tech tran­si­tion 

Side­step­ping rumors that Turn is head­ing for an IPO short­ly, the company’s CEO Bill Demas said:

“I don’t have a crys­tal ball. Our focus is on build­ing a great com­pa­ny. Obvi­ous­ly, a fund raise like this allows us to have more flex­i­bil­i­ty about when we go pub­lic.”

The more per­spic­u­ous art direc­tor will note the word “when” in this state­ment, not “if.” The new invest­ment will go toward fur­ther devel­op­ing Turn’s DMP and DSP prod­ucts and its machine learn­ing algo­rithms, although some will go into con­tin­ued glob­al expan­sion.

Explain­ing “post-ad-tech” as the tran­si­tion toward an enter­prise soft­ware and ser­vices mod­el in mar­ket­ing, Demas added:

“Where [the indus­try is] com­ing from is heavy arbi­trage, lack of trans­paren­cy, min­i­mal true tech­nol­o­gy, and we’re evolv­ing that to a world of full trans­paren­cy and empow­er­ment of the mar­keter.”

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