Deloitte Is Buying a Marketing AI Platform to Expand Its Ad-Tech Holdings

The consultancy says Magnetic Media will bolster its data analytics

Deloitte is buying more ad tech. Getty Images
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Deloitte is buying marketing tech firm Magnetic Media’s artificial intelligence platform as the company pushes further into the advertising and marketing tech space.

The consultancy said it plans to use the new assets to offer clients more consumer insights and better data management through the application of Magnetic’s machine learning and analytics technology. The acquisition marks the latest in a series of moves that have positioned Deloitte to better compete with traditional agencies and ad-tech companies.

“Customers want real-time personalized relevant interaction across all the brands that they work with. And marketers and brands are struggling to really deliver on that given that they don’t necessarily have control of their own data,” said Deloitte principal Angel Hollis Vaccaro. “Magnetic gives us some of those audience data capabilities and also gives us the machine learning and analytics to play into the decisioning elements.”

The companies declined to reveal the terms of the deal.

Magnetic is a decade-old ad-tech firm that collects purchase intent information from data like search queries and browsing habits and stores it in anonymous consumer profiles. Deloitte is hoping to marry this trove with its own data management system in addition to integrating Magnetic’s targeting and machine learning tools into its software suite.

Magnetic chief product officer Sam Nunez said machine learning has fundamentally changed the way the company does business over the past few years.

“A few years ago, we had a rather large team of people that was deciding where we were going to place ads to best reach consumers,” Nunez said. “As we embrace AI, we basically replaced a lot of that decisioning with full automation. So we started maintaining a file on pretty much every U.S. consumer and then when we have an opportunity to show an ad or display a message, we let the machine select the best message and saw an enormous improvement in the rate of engagement.”

The acquisition comes as big consultancies like Deloitte, Accenture and IBM are becoming increasingly big players in ad tech. Vaccaro said the overarching strategy behind its acquisitions is to give clients tools to think of marketing and advertising not just in their traditional sense but as a means of providing real-time personalized experiences across every available channel.

“We actually look at this as a bigger play—an experience play rather than a marketing play,” Vaccaro said. “What we’re seeing more and more in the market today is that CMOs [can no longer] look at marketing in a silo. Marketing is becoming all-on every channel every touchpoint across the entire journey. That’s one of the reasons we’re doubling down in the space.”

@patrickkulp Patrick Kulp is an emerging tech reporter at Adweek.