Adthena buys Kantar’s paid search business as marketing consolidation ramps up

Dive Brief:

  • Adthena, the developer of artificial intelligence (AI) technology for internet search advertising, bought the paid search business of market researcher Kantar to expand its services, per an announcement. Terms of the deal weren’t disclosed.
  • Kantar clients who use its dedicated search tools can now use Adthena’s AI-powered search intelligence product suite. Adthena’s more than 250 clients include marketers such as L’OrĂ©al, Volvo, Progressive Insurance and Qantas, along with agencies Dentsu, GroupM and Omnicom Media Group.
  • The acquisition follows an integration partnership that Adthena and Kantar announced earlier this month. That agreement made Adthena the central search partner for Kantar’s ad intelligence software, which includes Advertising Insight, per the announcement.

Dive Insight:

Adthena’s acquisition of Kantar’s paid search business gives marketers and agencies a one-stop shop for data and analytics aimed at improving their search advertising efforts. Adthena’s “Whole Market View” platform uses AI to give marketers insights on the performance of their paid search ads and keep an eye on competitors. Its automated platform lets marketers protect themselves from being outbid in online auctions for paid search ads based on trademarked keywords, also known as “brand bidding.”

Search advertising is a key method of reaching consumers who express their interest in a topic, brand, product or service with their internet searches. Media spending on paid search ads excluding political campaigns in the U.S. is forecast to grow 18% to $63.6 billion this year amid a recovery in media spending, WPP’s media agency GroupM forecast last month. Adthena’s combination with Kantar’s paid search business is part of its effort to help marketers and agencies optimize search campaigns.

“As search continues to become the barometer by which all advertising efforts are measured, the importance of having access to the best intelligence possible cannot be understated,” Ian O’Rourke, CEO and founder of Adthena, said in a statement.

Adthena’s acquisition is another sign of consolidation in the marketing industry. After a slowdown in dealmaking during the onset of the pandemic, when companies turned inward to address the health crisis and its negative effects on the economy and ad spending, merger and acquisition activity has resumed in the past few months. Last week, Martin Sorrell’s S4 Capital bought Shanghai-based creative agency Tomorrow with plans to merge the shop with its MediaMonks digital production group. The same week, acquired Ace Metrix in a deal to combine their measurement services for TV advertising.

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