InMobi acquires Quantcast’s consent management platform as ad tech M&A dry spell heats up

revenue diversification

In this week’s episode of ad tech M&A, InMobi has acquired Quantcast’s consent management platform.

Riding the wave of recent dealmaking, this acquisition follows InMobi’s previous purchase of performance measurement business Appsume in 2021.

The rationale behind this deal is straightforward enough; InMobi wants to bolster the publisher (or mobile developer) side of its ad tech business. By incorporating a consent management platform (CMP) into its toolkit, the goal is to empower its publishers with finer control over data usage and consent preferences.

The thinking is that those controls could lead to more precisely targeted advertising and potentially even higher CPMs for publishers. Indeed, advertisers might be more inclined to invest in placements backed by compliant and transparent data. As Kunal Nagpal, chief business officer at InMobi Advertising, explained: “We want to maintain our position of privacy first and leading in privacy in the mobile app environment. This acquisition allows us to bring a world class solution to developers the world over, with no new integrations.”

InMobi is buying a business that already has considerable scale it can leverage. Indeed, Quantcast’s CMP supports over 500 Google-certified and 800 IAB-approved vendors, as well as non-certified vendors tailored to publishers’ requirements. Moreover, it has become one of the more prominent CMPs in what is a very complicated market. So much of what makes those technologies comes down to what features they have and how they’re configured. Often, those technologies show a consent box for someone’s permission to be tracked but immediately fires pixels and scripts regardless of whether the person has agreed to it. Critics worry how privacy-compliant these businesses actually are. 

“We never supported legitimate interest and opt-in consent should be the only way to be able to use someone’s PII,” said Nagpal. “Behavioral advertising is a core pillar of effective marketing and a well-serving CMP will allow publishers and app developers to monetize their user base in a prudent manner with full control on which vendors to work with or not.”

According to Emily Palmer, an industry consultant with extensive experience working on the sell-side of the ad tech spectrum, the rationale for InMobi to buy Quantcast’s CMP is manifold. 

Firstly, the buy-side of the industry is increasingly requesting such offerings.

“You have a lot of buyers asking for trusted consent tools,” she told Digiday, noting that Quantcast’s CMP, known commonly as “Choices,” was one of the early such offerings to receive approval under Google’s latest GDPR requirements

“Helping publishers with complex privacy tasks is one way they [both InMobi and publishers] see more dollar signs,” said Palmer.  “Adding the CMP is a good way to get your tags on publisher sites.” 

Furthermore, the increasing fragmentation of the U.S. privacy landscape — a federal privacy law is considered some way off by many — is potentially another window of opportunity for InMobi.

“With this CMP buy, you could potentially see it as InMobi seeing an opportunity there,” said Palmer, noting that publishers are increasingly dismayed at the myriad set of privacy laws they have to abide by across various jurisdictions. 

Meanwhile, Palmer also pointed to Google’s rapidly approaching deadline for sunsetting third-party cookies, and its equivalent policy in the Android ecosystem

For instance, the app ecosystem’s privacy and addressability groundwork is on track, given Apple’s ATT already in place and GAID slated for 2024 deprecation. 

While InMobi has its hands in the Privacy Sandbox — it also offers UniFID for identity management.

“The tighter the integration between their consent management solution, identity solution and ad exchange, the better control for privacy and making the whole ecosystem cleaner — and that’s a great narrative,” observes Palmer.

Meanwhile, for some, there’s further added context here, as InMobi’s latest M&A maneuvering could potentially be indicative of it preparing for an initial public offering. 

After all, the company, which is widely referred to as a billion-dollar “unicorn,” missed the 2021 window, a period that saw more than a dozen of its ad tech contemporaries debut on the public markets with many in this cohort deemed much smaller outfits than InMobi.

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