Rakuten Marketing has entered the social advertising market with the acquisition of Manifest Commerce.
Financial details of the deal were not disclosed, but the omnichannel marketing firm said the acquisition “catapults Rakuten Marketing into a leading position to drive incremental revenue through prospecting and retargeting campaigns by collecting, testing and optimizing product-performance data in real time.”
Manifest is designed to bolster the performance of product ads on social media channels such as Facebook and Twitter. Rakuten said it sees the potential for that technology across its online marketing platforms. “Integrating product discovery and optimization with its existing technology and consumer intelligence will uncover new revenue opportunities within display, search and affiliate programs and across ad platforms and devices,” Rakuten said in a statement.
Tony Zito, chief executive officer of Rakuten Marketing, said the “proportion of marketing investment into social continues to grow rapidly, yet the role consumer behavior and insights play in the purchase journey is still in its infancy, and there are huge opportunities in optimizing with product intelligence.”
Regarding “product discovery,” the company said Manifest leverages predictive analytics to introduce new products to users. And it is automated. “The automated process selects likely-to-perform products from a brand’s catalog, tests those products within various market segments, and uses the data to dynamically optimize ads with the highest-performing products for a much larger group of similar shoppers,” Rakuten said.
The acquisition comes at a time when social media ad spending continues to grow. According to Statista, social media marketing spending is expected to jump from about $12 billion today to more than $16 billion in 2018.
Rakuten Marketing, based in New York, offers omnichannel services that include Rakuten Affiliate Network, which is formerly known as LinkShare, Rakuten Display, Rakuten Search and Rakuten Attribution. It is an operating subsidiary of Rakuten Inc., headquartered in Tokyo.
Manifest Commerce is based on San Francisco.