On the morning of May 6, 2014, Google announced its intent to acquire Adometry, a leader in the attribution technology space. Later on the same day, AOL announced its intent to acquire Convertro, another top-performing attribution technology vendor. The Adometry acquisition is not surprising, as Google needed to make major investments in its existing attribution offering with some enhanced analytics and insights services, which Adometry can provide. AOL’s acquisition of Convertro was a move to further build out its ad technology stack, hoping to obtain strong attribution algorithm and stellar engineering staff through this acquisition.

Both companies stand to benefit from the acquisition of these small but extremely knowledgeable experts in marketing and media measurement. Two of the biggest benefits for each include:

  • A strong services staff with deep knowledge of all media and marketing data and, more importantly, the expertise in driving actionable insights in a complicated media-buying world.
  • An innovative ability to stitch data sources together — online, offline, and mobile — across the buyer’s journey.

Clearly, the AOL and Google acquisitions are moves to show clients they are serious about measurement and want to help clients uncover complex insights, identify channel and tactic trends, and quantify the buyer’s journey. And this is signaling to the marketing and ad technology spaces that clients are experiencing an extreme deficiency and sophistication in advanced measurement approaches though the existing marketing and ad tech stacks (cough, cough, Adobe? IBM? Oracle?).

But here’s the thing: AOL and Google have an uphill battle ahead if they want to provide robust measurement technology and insights. They expect to provide a clear, unbiased picture of marketing performance to their clients. And they happen to sell digital media as well. Irony?

With these acquisitions, I expect to see more attention in the measurement and insights space. I’m eagerly awaiting the “ME TOO!” move as well, with the very few measurement vendors left in this space.

Forrester clients, please read our in-depth analysis on the Google acquisition of Adometry, and our new report on the AOL acquisition of Convertro, co-authored with Susan Bidel. I'll be interested in hearing your take on the acquisitions!