News Bits: First Ad Tech IPO Since Last July Is a Bust; Olapic launches “Predictive Consumer Generated Ads” platform, Watch out Google here comes Facebook

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Maxpoint Interactive, a marketing automation company founded by Joe Epperson of eBay, Gretchen Joyce of Tesla and Kurt Carlson of NetQoS, helps brands target neighborhoods via zip codes. It went public and watched its stock drop more than 15% by the end of its first day of trading. It went from $11.50 to $9.76. That’s something Maxpoint Interactive CEO Joe Epperson, pictured here, will have to deal with in a tough environment.

Wall Street doesn’t like ad-tech companies lately, which Ad Age noted in a story last month. After six ad-tech IPOs in thirteen months the market has slowed considerably. Private market acquisition prices are down too, according to Exitround, an online tech M&A marketplace. Maxpoint was the first ad-tech company to file to go public in nearly year.

Will Preston, research analyst for IPO exchange-traded fund manager Renaissance Capital, calls the debut “disappointing.”

“A poor debut causes companies to lose shareholders that they work hard to get,” he explains. “That doesn’t mean the stock can’t recover, though it will be a little harder because of the shareholder turnover, and it will need to execute out of the gate with some strong earnings reports.”
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Olapic, a social marketing platform, now offers an ad format — Predictive Consumer Generated Ads — that mines images pulled from Instagram, Twitter, Vine or YouTube that are going to be solid performers when sponsored on Facebook. Those photos are selected from Instagram, Twitter etc., to help brands to get their ads to “click” with viewers. The photos are used only when the person who posted them gives Olapic permission to place the photo in an ad.

West Elm, a furniture company, is one of the first to use the technology. It works with their ongoing social campaign called #MyWestElm, which curates images of products that they then link to similar products on the company’s s online store. Although that effort already has created a photo catalog of more than 18,000 images on their website that gets 2 million unique visitors monthly, they are eager to get the photos in front of Facebook users too, according to Vanessa Holden, West Elm’s creative director.

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There’s a buzz going around that Facebook is building an ad exchange that would automate the sale of other publishers’ ads. LiveRail, the online video ad-tech firm that Facebook bought last summer, will facilitate real-time auctions and will handle video and display ads. Advertisers will be able to bid on the publishers’ inventory through automated ad-buying tools called demand-side platforms (DSPs) that would place their bids on the exchange. It’s unclear when the ad exchange will go live. Facebook isn’t saying anything…but it is clearly a threat to Google’s ad-tech dominance.

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