announced that it has acquired Teracent, a display ad company that specializes in creating customized display ads in real-time based on machine-learning algorithms. While regular display ads always look the same for every user, Teracent's ads are automatically created from multiple creative elements and can change according to factors like geographic location and language, as well as the content of the website, time of day, and the past performance of different ads. As Andy Beal describes it, this is basically "multi-variate testing for your banner ads."Google just
Teracent also offers solutions for optimized video and mobile display ads. Interestingly, Teracent is currently working with Yahoo to offer its Mobile SmartAds on Yahoo's mobile properties. It will be interesting to see if Google will continue this partnership.
According to Google, Teracent's offerings will help the company to improve display advertising on the Web. Since acquiring DoubleClick in 2007, Google has released a number of new features to improve its display ads. Earlier this month, Google also acquired mobile advertising company AdMob. Neither Google nor Teracent released any information about the financial details of the transaction, which is "subject to various closing conditions."
Teracent's most well-known competitor is probably Dapper, which also offers dynamic display ads based on factors like a company's inventory or a user's location.
While Google was on a buying spree in 2007, when the company acquired 16 companies, it only bought 2 companies in 2008. So far, Google has acquired 5 companies and products in 2009: reCaptcha, On2, Gizmo5, AdMob and Teracent.