Going Full Stack: AppNexus Acquires YieldEx

Consolidation in the digital ad technology industry has started a new trend: going full stack. 

For some time, publishers have had to choose between one unified tech stack (ahem, DoubleClick) or piecemeal point and multi-point solutions connected by duct tape (aka, integrations). But full stacks appear to be on the rise, particularly with AppNexus’ acquisition of Yieldex (after buying ad server OAS off of Xaxis last year). We also await news about a grand platform from Facebook and LiveRail with bated breath.

“The integration of Yieldex into the AppNexus platform will create the most comprehensive, open marketplace for programmatic direct and result in the delivery of a best-in-class, full-stack publisher platform,” said Yieldex Founder and CSO Tom Shields. “We see a huge opportunity to integrate deeply with the AppNexus marketplace to give our publishers efficient and scaled access to both direct and auction-based demand.”

With Yieldex boiled into its offering, AppNexus can now sell publishers the whole tech stack enchilada: ad serving, programmatic capabilities (including programmatic direct) and yield optimization. The company offers the added benefit of great programmatic demand from the buy side.

According to Tom Shields, YieldEx could not resist the opportunity to massively scale their products – analytics and programmatic direct platforms. The publisher complaint about YieldEx’s yield optimization technology we always heard was that the price was too hard to swallow. However, as part of an integrated tech stack, the cost can be mitigated through other services. And for those of you happy with your ad servers and SSPs, don’t fret – Yieldex Analytics will still be a stand-alone offering for new clients.

Current Yieldex users will continue to receive the company’s “white-glove service,” Shields said, but “[o]ver time, they should expect to see Yieldex Analytics technology integrated in a variety of ways with the AppNexus publisher product line, and YieldexDirect integrated with their marketplace.”

The merger also highlights another programmatic direct platform being swallowed up, following the acquisitions of ShinyAds and isocket by Rubicon Project last year. And it will be curious to see Google DoubleClick’s reaction, as a Facebook-LiveRail unified platform has been lurking since last year. Suddenly the full stack lounge is pretty crowded.

Fans of fragmentation, however, will delight in the knowledge that publishers are increasingly using multiple SSPs to drive higher CPMs and optimize PMPs. The digital advertising space is still plenty big enough for all the characters running around.