Digital marketing agency Wpromote is acquiring performance marketing shop Metric Digital in another sign of how the DTC market — and the companies that service them — is maturing. The acquisition will let Metric Digital, known for work with brands like Bonobos, Hint Water and M.Gemi, grow beyond its direct-to-consumer roots and Wpromote to add more performance marketing capabilities to its repertoire.
The companies declined to disclose terms of the deal.
As DTC companies have matured, moving beyond the Facebook and Instagram ads that helped them acquire customers, so too have the agencies that specialize in working with them. With this acquisition, Metric Digital employees will now be able to more easily work with larger brands and use the technology and data capabilities of a larger agency to do so.
Metric Digital is the fifth acquisition by Wpromote in the last four years. Previously, Wpromote scooped up shops like Standing Dog in Dallas and Prime Visibility in New York as well as San Francisco-based DemandWave and Growth Pilots. With this acquisition, Wpromote now has roughly 500 employees in seven offices. Mothner and Simonson don’t expect any layoffs to occur due to the deal unless there’s “obviously a completely redundant scenario,” said Wpromote CEO Michael Mothner.
“As you grow any company, let alone agencies, there’s a lot of problems to solve for that other people have already solved,” said Kevin Simonson, CEO of Metric Digital. “Logistically, there are things like billing. As you get bigger clients, you have to deal with procurement and other highly complicated issues. [Instead of trying to solve those problems by ourselves we realized] this was easier.”
Agencies specializing in the needs of DTC companies have cropped up in recent years including shops like Gin Lane, Derris, Yellowhammer and Azione, among others. Shops that specialize in DTC have caught the eye of holding companies as holding companies look to get on the DTC boom. This past Fall, for example, Dentsu shop iProspect acquired performance marketing agency MuteSix.
Prior to the acquisition, Metric Digital was looking to build out an outbound sales team as well as bolster its data and technology capabilities to work with Fortune 100 brands. Wpromote already had those capabilities in place and that will allow the team to work for those larger companies, explained Simonson, who will now serve as vp of social for Wpromote.
“They excel in paid social and performance creative areas, which are significant components of our business, and we’re always looking for new ways of thinking,” said Mothner. “[This acquisition] makes our team genuinely stronger.”
Mothner and Simonson said that larger brands, like a Fortune 50 beauty conglomerate — Simonson declined to clarify which ones, citing non-disclosure agreements — have been more interested in working with the performance marketing agencies like Metric Digital, the shops that have helped carve out the DTC marketing path in recent years.
Those larger brands want to market more like the DTC brands that disrupted their industries in recent years. Major marketers like Anheuser-Busch and Procter & Gamble have both build out venture arms to build DTC brands that market like their DTC competitors. At the same time, the DTC brands that companies like Metric Digital have worked with have wanted to move beyond the Facebook, Instagram and Google ads that helped launch them as they have plateaued with those marketing techniques. The acquisition allows both companies to meet the needs of both DTC and larger brands, they explained.
“The 90-year-old legacy brands are at a similar transformation point as the Bonobos or the Warby Parkers that are now opening stores and doing TV ads,” said Mothner. “There’s an incredible amount of overlap that will allow the teams to be impactful to each other.”
“This is a natural step for us,” said Simonson. “We had the tools to grow from $5 million to $20 million to $50 million [in revenue] a year. Now we can start doing the stuff we should be doing [beyond that] that we weren’t capable of.”
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