Jul 23 2015
Anthony Loredo

Centro Acquired GraphScience – What Does it All Mean?


Today, Centro (centro.net), a provider of enterprise-class software for digital advertising, acquired GraphScience (www.graphscience.com), a technology developer that helps marketers harness customers’ social media data to dynamically create and optimize, in real-time and at scale, thousands of personalized ads on Facebook.

Below is an FAQ that provides more details about this news.

What is Centro’s core business?
Centro’s unified programmatic ad platform encompasses all digital channels and is projected to manage nearly $400 million in digital ad spend this year. Its acquisition of GraphScience is its next major development following a Series B $30 million round of financing in May. Centro works with advertisers and continues to consolidate digital advertising in one software stack -- first pioneering automated guaranteed media-buying technology, and then building a cross-channel real-time bidding (RTB) software solution. Now, Centro is expanding its product suite with GraphScience’s personalization and optimization engine for social ads.

Why did Centro acquire GraphScience?
Centro identified GraphScience as having one of the best ad optimization technologies for Facebook, one of the largest providers of effective display inventory. E-commerce and retail companies with hundreds of product lines and thousands of SKUs can generate creatives for each offering and predict which ads, combined with possibly thousands targeting parameters, will perform the best. The acquisition strengthens Centro’s offerings by adding robust social ad capabilities that have delivered superior ROI for brands. It will boost the Centro platform, one of the most comprehensive programmatic ad-buying solutions encompassing all digital channels.

What problem does GraphScience solve?
Although audience data on social media can help brands customize ads, it’s difficult for advertisers to discover, in real-time, which ad combinations will be more effective as campaigns progress at a very large scale. This challenge is magnified during competitive, high-volume shopping seasons such as back-to-school and holidays.

What are GraphScience’s products and solutions?
GraphScience provides an ad optimization platform that enables marketers to rapidly generate thousands of Facebook ad creatives and targeting parameters. It identifies high-performing combinations based on factors such as image, message, target audience, location and more.

The technology then quickly extracts actionable insights that predict which ad placements can meet and exceed pre-defined ROI goals, allowing marketers to tune spend immediately.

What are the financial terms of the acquisition?
Centro is not disclosing the financial terms of the acquisition.

What does this acquisition mean for the market?
Centro wants to unify the fragmented technology in the digital advertising ecosystem. The importance of social media to the marketing mix is growing, as social advertising reaches 30% of U.S. digital display ad spend this year (Forrester). Marketers need to maximize advertising effectiveness on Facebook and other social sites/applications while efficiently managing and executing all other forms of digital media. Accessing enhanced social media capabilities on Centro’s platform empowers advertisers to drive better performance for their digital campaigns, no matter the channel, device, ad unit or buying tactic.

What is the size of GraphScience?
GraphScience has been in business for more than three years and its technology is available as a software or managed service solution. GraphScience’s customers include large e-commerce and retail companies with hundreds of product lines and thousands of SKUs. All of GraphScience employees, including technology and client services staff have joined Centro as part of the acquisition.

Is Centro going to support GraphScience’s customers? How?
GraphScience’s service team members are now Centro employees and will continue to support current GraphScience customers. Centro will ensure that there is no disruption to current clients’ engagement with GraphScience. Furthermore, Centro’s national sales team will deliver the solution to 2,500 agency and advertiser customers in North America. Centro will also apply more software development resources for the GraphScience platform to expand its capabilities and reach on other major social media channels.

Who are GraphScience’s current customers?
In the past year, GraphScience has worked with more than 25 mid-sized and large brands in e-commerce and retail.

How are customers using GraphScience’s solutions?

Marketers can access GraphScience’s technology through a software license or as a managed service. The technology provides an ad engine that automates complex ad campaigns across multiple product lines, target parameters and marketing initiatives. The software platform generates thousands of ad creatives and targeting considerations, and then real-time performance analysis helps marketers act on decision-guiding insights that drive customer conversions.

How will the deal impact Centro’s customers?
The GraphScience technology is now part of Centro Social advertising solutions. By strengthening its offerings with robust social ad capabilities, Centro can provide customers with an automated direct ad-buying technology for Facebook that can seamlessly and effectively manage large campaigns. Over time, these capabilities will be expanded to other major social platforms such as Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest.

How will the acquisition affect GraphScience’s management team, employees and offices?
GraphScience’s employees will join Centro immediately in its San Francisco office. GraphScience CEO, Alicia Policinski, will serve as managing director, social, at Centro.