Facebook Buys LiveRail to Improve, Serve Video Ads

Facebook Buys LiveRail to Improve, Serve Video AdsFacebook has purchased video ad tech startup LiveRail, a company which connects marketers to publishers on web and mobile. LiveRail targets 7 billion video ads to visitors each month.

According to TechCrunch, the price was purportedly between $400 million and $500 million.

The acquisition of the 170-person company could help Facebook own a bigger chunk of video advertising, the fasting growing Internet ad medium.

Founded in 2007, LiveRail’s supply side platform has a large base of customers including Major League Baseball, ABC Family, A&E Networks, Gannett, and Dailymotion. LiveRail provides publishers with video ad targeting tech “so they can make money routing messages to customers they’ll be relevant to, and helps marketers connect with sites and apps with open video ad inventory.”

According to the story, “the most important part of LiveRail is its real-time bidding platform that can dynamically assess the open video ad inventory across the publishers it works with, and find its marketer clients the best ad opportunities for their bucks. Its relationships with both marketers and publishers will help Facebook jumpstart its desire to be an ad powerhouse across the web and mobile, not just its own properties.”

LiveRail also brings other goodies, like its “Checkpoint” technology for ensuring ads for alcohol, tobacco, and other age-restricted products aren’t shown to minors.

Facebook would like to stake a serious claim in the video space. In March, the company launched its 15-second auto-play video ads. Mini versions of TV commercials and brand spots, they command high rates. LiveRail could combine its targeting expertise with Facebook’s vast trove of user data to direct movie trailers and other video ads to the right viewers.

“As TV and print budgets shift online, there’s a big battle for client dollars between whoever can target ads best,” according to TechCrunch. “The LiveRail acquisition will give Facebook a big leg up as television commercials are reimagined for the web. And with any luck, the deal means you’re less likely to see annoying video ads for things you’d never buy.”