Facebook has agreed to acquire LiveRail, one of the industry’s leading video supply-side platforms, for an undisclosed sum. LiveRail had been preparing for an IPO in late 2014, but was always likely to be an attractive acquisition target for the many companies who have yet to invest in video ad technology. LiveRail have 170 employees across four offices and say they deliver over 7 billion video ads delivered each month. In March 2014, the company served more ads than any other player in the US market, 3.89 billion ads.
LiveRail was founded in San Francisco in 2007 by CEO Mark Trefgarne, a Londoner, and CTO Andrei Dunca, from Romania. Since then the company has built up a portfolio of hundreds of publisher clients, including like Major League Baseball (MLB.com), ABC, A&E Networks, Gannett, and Dailymotion.
Writing in a blog post, Brian Boland, Vice President of Ads Product Marketing and Atlas, said “We believe that LiveRail, Facebook and the premium publishers it serves have an opportunity to make video ads better and more relevant for the hundreds of millions of people who watch digital video every month. More relevant ads will be more interesting and engaging to people watching online video, and more effective for marketers too. Publishers will benefit as well because more relevant ads will help them make the most out of every opportunity they have to show an ad.”
The acquisition is represents yet another move by Facebook to serve ads to users beyond the confines of Facebook’s own site. While nothing has been announced, it seems likely that in time the LiveRail platform will eventually offer publishers to augment their inventory with Facebook’s data to enhance off-site targeting.
Over on the LiveRail blog, CEO Mark Trefgarne said that when he and his colleagues started talking Facebook about how they could work together, it ‘quickly became clear’ that they ‘shared a vision for the future of digital advertising’. “They believed, as we do, that publishers deserve a new generation of audience-aware advertising technology. We realized that by joining forces we’d be able draw upon our respective strengths to move even faster towards our shared vision of creating the advertising platform of the future,” he wrote.