Thought Leadership
Tapad on their Acquisition by Telenor, and the Future of Cross-Device


Ian Kane
Senior Director of Publisher Solutions



It was announced in early 2016 that Tapad was acquired for $360M by one of the largest telecommunications companies in the world, Telenor Group. Can you share more on the role of Tapad within the Telenor family of companies?

Tapad will continue to independently create innovative, best-in-class solutions for marketers and advertisers, focused on unifying life across devices, as well as the interactions consumers have with brands. Telenor Group allows us to do that with greater speed and support than ever before and at a global scale.


To the extent that you can share, is there any intent to integrate Telenor non-PII subscriber data into future Tapad campaigns?

There is none at the moment.


Tapad is one of the leaders is cross-device technology, unifying non-PII consumer profiles across devices for use in programmatic campaigns. Can you explain more on how your technology works?

The Tapad Device Graph™ the foundation from which our technology is built aggregates trillions of non-PII data points per month. We receive those data points from ad impressions, device signals and data partners which allows us to scale the platform. Then, we utilize two pieces of technology that monetize The Device Graph™ – a DSP that allows us to go to market directly for brands and agencies, and data integrations and connectivity that allow technology providers access to their own data.


Where else can companies access data from the Tapad Device Graph™? (other adtech companies, DSPs, Ad Networks, etc.. or you can share some of the 50 data technology licensing partnerships you guys have)`

We have relationships that span the marketing technology ecosystem. These partnerships provide value by adding exponential scale and diversity to The Device GraphTM.


Are there any ways in which traditional web publishers can leverage cross-device data to better target their audiences?

Absolutely! Publishers see tremendous advantages to the cross-screen insights about their readers that Tapad is able to provide. Tapad ensures the accumulated knowledge of a particular user is attributed to each and every interaction with the publisher. Publishers can take a look at Tapad’s Cross Device Primer to gain a better understanding of how to evaluate a Device Graph partner.


There has been an explosion in the sheer amount of advertising vendors a media buyer can now work with, with a slew of DSPs, Ad Networks, Ad Tech companies, as well as traditional publishers. Do you think that this is sustainable, and how do you think the market will evolve over time?

Currently, many advertising technology vendors serve only one piece of the market. Rather than begin to build their own solutions to gain additional market share,we expect larger companies will acquire smaller vendors as they look to provide new services. In some ways, companies are already looking to find solutions for areas of the market where they currently lack them. For instance, there are SSP’s that now have DSP-like technology to serve agencies’ media needs. We may see continued growth in the number of advertising vendors in the short term, but in the long term we expect that ultimately many of these vendors will be brought under the same roof.


Many of the large platforms (Google, YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, etc) have become ‘Walled Gardens’ that horde user data and inventory — only opening it up for media buyers that work directly with them. Do you see this changing over the coming years?

Although there may be an ease in data sharing, the large social platforms will have a tough time explaining away the potential harm to consumers from data leakage should they offer too much data-out. Also, it allows them to control the analysis and the direction of industry product development. For those reasons, there will likely always be a core amount of data they keep to themselves. That is their prerogative but this is not our worldview. We believe a rising tide lifts all boats and our willingness to provide the data-out has spawned some fantastic products and innovations for us and our partners.


What are some innovations happening now in the digital and mobile advertising industry that excite you the most?

Attribution is really finding a lot of value in our data. Adding fractional attribution modeling into cross-device has taken off recently, and our partners have seen some great results by mixing their channel-based algorithms with the unified view that our cross-screen data provides.

Mobile is continuing to innovate – especially through the lens of location. Those companies continue to apply additional data attributes to their core data asset. Because of this, they can now build targeting and analysis products which allow mobile to enhance the value of overall ad spend.

Lastly, we’re really interested in how MarTech is mixing CRM data with device data so they can provide more comprehensive marketing solutions to their customers. In general, the industry is becoming more sophisticated and focused on tying technologies together. This benefits the consumer through more personalized experiences and advertisers through a growth in efficiency all adds up to equal growth among tech providers.


What are your thoughts on the Facebook Audience Network and its impact on the independent ad network and adtech ecosystem at-large?

We don’t specifically concern ourselves with Facebook Audience Network. They are a large player that will likely command a good share of ad revenue. The larger question, for us, is whether or not we’ll continue to see agnosticism and downstream data ownership. There are two schools of thought. 1. Provide maximum service and minimal data sharing. 2. Maximize knowledge sharing and support agnostic solution development. Will brands continue to cede control to technology providers (whoever they be) and support further consolidation, or will the market continue to thrive on innovation from increased collaboration? We hope the latter.


Lastly, what is your take on the future way in which brands and agencies will leverage cross-device data, targeting, or campaigns to more effectively reach their audiences?

In-store and out-of-home touch points will soon be aligned with the screens that we’ve been diligently unifying. Since 90 percent of purchases still happen in-store, the next frontier will be to reach and measure consumers where purchase decisions are made. We’ve taken some steps with mobile, but beacon technology will soon provide even greater value in this arena.



Tapad Inc. is a marketing technology firm renowned for its breakthrough, unified, cross-device solutions, acquired by Telenor Group in 2016. With 91.2% data accuracy confirmed by Nielsen, the company offers the largest in-market opportunity for marketers and technologies to address the ever-evolving reality of media consumption on smartphones, tablets, home computers and smart TVs. Deployed by agency trading desks, publishers and numerous Fortune 500 brands, Tapad provides an accurate, unified approach to connecting with consumers across screens. In 2015, Tapad began aggressively licensing its identity management solution, the Tapad Device Graph™, and swiftly became the established gold-standard throughout the ad tech ecosystem. Tapad is based in New York and has offices in Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Detroit, Frankfurt, London, Los Angeles, Miami, Minneapolis, San Francisco, Singapore and Toronto. TechCrunch called the powerhouse Tapad team “a hell of a list of entrepreneurs who created some of the most valuable online advertising companies of the last decade.” Among Tapad’s numerous awards: TNCNet’s Tech Culture 2016, EY Entrepreneur of The Year (East Coast) 2014, among Forbes’ Most Promising Companies two year’s running, Deloitte’s Technology Fast 500, Crain’s Fast 50, Entrepreneur 360, Digiday Signal Award, iMedia ASPY Award, and a MarCom Gold Award.

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