Forecasters expect display ad spending to spike this year as brands leverage real-time bidding to buy more media on ad exchanges.
No surprise: Investor interest is heating up as well.
The first ad tech funding round of 2011 officially went to startup AdKeeper, which unveiled a $35 million investment early this morning. The second, announced a few hours later, goes to established marketing optimization firm [x+1].
CEO John Nardone told ClickZ the cash infusion will fuel the company’s involvement in mobile ad buying, mobile CRM, and tools to simplify campaign management. It will also be utilized for ad servers and storage to handle rising transaction volume.
To assist with its mobile ambitions, the company recently entered a mobile ad buying partnership with Mobclix, a supply-side aggregator of mobile inventory. The deal resembles one Mobclix did with DataXu earlier this year, allowing the demand-side platform to access large amounts of mobile ad inventory.
Additionally, [X+1] has also recently hired three product managers to accelerate development of its so-called “digital marketing hub.” The hub combines display ad targeting with landing page, e-mail, video, and mobile messaging. The company competes indirectly with demand-side platforms like Turn and data/analytics specialists such as Omniture.
In one instance, Delta Airlines earned $25 million in incremental online ticket sales and reduced development costs 20 percent as a result of its work with [x+1], the company said.
Of particular interest to [x+1] is growing its e-mail optimization business, as clients clamor to combine data from the channel with their website and display ad efforts. To that end, the firm has partnered with direct marketer Epsilon to help integrate e-mail into the decision engine.
“E-mail has become a big thing for us,” said Nardone. He said the company is preparing a pilot program that will adapt its ad decision engine for e-mail creative.
The series B funding round was led by Intel Capital, the investment arm of chipmaker Intel. Intel joins existing investors Advanced Technology Ventures, Blue Chip Venture Company, and Hudson Venture Partners.
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