24/7 Real Media Adds Analytics

In an effort to buff up its suite of online advertising technologies, 24/7 Real Media announced on Wednesday the purchase of Web analytics firm Insight First.

The deal will pair Insight First’s hosted analytics product with New York-based 24/7 Real Media’s ad-serving technology, Open AdStream, in a marketing technology platform offering that helps publishers understand who their audience members are, in order to tailor ads more effectively.

“Combined with our existing products, we can now offer online publishers a full range of solutions to help them best monetize their Web sites,” said David Moore, 24/7 Real Media’s chief executive officer and chairman. “At the same time, we can help advertisers better understand and more effectively target their best Web customers.”

Financial details of the transaction were not disclosed.

Moore said 24/7 Real Media would move to have an ingegrated ad-serving/analytics service on the market in six months to a year. The company will still sell the two products separately.

The move to buy Insight First comes after rival DoubleClick added an analytics product last June. Like Insight First, DoubleClick’s SiteAdvance is a hosted solution that is designed to track and analyze user activity on e-commerce Web sites, for use in studying and improving on site navigation and sale processes.

Both DoubleClick and 24/7 Real Media face a crowded analytics market, with established market leaders such as NetIQ’s WebTrends and WebSideStory’s HitBox. The new importance to attaching analytics to ad products was evidenced last week, when paid listings giant Overture said it would roll out analytics soon in the aftermath of its acquisition of Keylime Software.

“Analytics and audience management are very important and this is an example that anyone that wants to play in the digital-marketing space has to have robust offerings,” said Dave Morgan, a founder of Real Media who now heads his own Web site audience-profiling firm, Tacoda Systems.

Tony Schmitz, a former managing partner at ill-fated Web consultancy marchFIRST, founded New York-based Insight First in 2000. He will join 24/7 Real Media as the company’s chief technology officer. Moore said Insight First’s nine other employees will join 24/7 Real Media.

The decision to add an analytics offering comes after two years of cost-cutting in the wake of the merger between 24/7 Media and Real Media that created the company in October 2001.

During the cost-cutting, the company sold its email list management and broadband businesses, and discontinued its legacy Connect ad server — all holdovers from its 24/7 Media days.

The company said it would quickly move to cross-sell Insight First and Open AdStream. Insight First has about a dozen clients, including Viacom and United Airlines’ loyalty service. Open AdStream is used by about 350 publishers, including Vivendi Universal, Gannett, and Fox News.

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