As Oracle Terminates Its Ad Business, Here’s How Customers Can Adapt

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The news that Oracle plans to shutter its advertising business by the end of September has sent shock waves through the ad industry. Over the past decade, the company has spent billions of dollars investing in various layers of the ad industry, acquiring companies like Datalogix, Moat, Grapeshot and BlueKai.

Oracle’s solutions, including its data cooperative, audience modeling and data marketplace, were in heavy usage across the industry. Brands and agencies relied on Oracle for media buying and audience tools, including both the data co-op and modeling capabilities. There were also the tools provided by Grapeshot for contextual targeting. 

While Oracle’s exit from the ad industry is shocking, it’s not the first sudden ad tech closure we’ve seen of late. MediaMath left jaws on the floor when it declared bankruptcy in July 2023. It’s now on the rebound under new ownership, but its initial shuttering illustrated the need for ad tech clients to protect against a partner suddenly going out of business.

It’s unclear what will happen to the many pieces Oracle assembled. But what is clear is that the brands and agencies that built their plans around Oracle’s capabilities must adapt. Here’s how to assess the impact on your business and begin to find a new path forward.

Assessing the impact

For most companies, the issue isn’t losing Oracle. It’s that they lost Oracle for very specific capabilities that are critical to their 2024 ad strategy. Before pivoting to a new partner, advertisers must first understand exactly what role(s) Oracle filled in their current media strategy and how well it performed.

The closure also has a major impact on the many data companies that sold their audiences through Oracle’s marketplace, whether that be branded segments or providers of the underlying data that made up the larger suite of Oracle targeting solutions. Media buyers need to ensure their preferred audience segments are available on other marketplaces and DSPs so their planned campaigns don’t skip a beat.  

Don’t make a panic move

The loss of a major tech and data partner cannot be taken lightly. Decisions need to happen quickly to preserve a media buying strategy and deliver on campaign goals. However, that doesn’t mean that ad buyers should panic and rush to sign on with whichever partner can offer the same tools as Oracle. 

Sustainable success in advertising requires making a smart strategic move, especially as the industry waits for Google’s cookie deprecation. The need to find a new partner may be a forcing function for advertisers who have been slow to build out their plans for the cookieless future. 

No matter the circumstances, it’s critical that ad buyers perform the necessary due diligence. Data privacy, ethics and compliance are all critical functions. The last thing that any advertiser wants to do is switch to a new data provider, only for that provider to disappear next year because of some regulatory or compliance issue. 

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Decisions around new solutions should be based on what can perform right now, as well as into the future as the landscape continues to shift.

The benefits of a multi-partner approach

One of the biggest challenges of losing Oracle is that many brands will need to find the same capabilities across a group of different vendors, rather than one conglomerate. This might have been a headache in the past, but it shouldn’t be anymore. Interoperability is the key to the future in ad tech. And newer companies like MadTech are aiding in building connectors across the ecosystem for seamless passage of data.

There are benefits to expanding the number of partners as well, especially when it comes to data modeling. Data cooperatives can provide valuable audience improvements to brands that share their insights. Participating in multiple data cooperatives can reveal even more audience insights and greater targeting capabilities, opening the door to more granular, accurate targeting and improved performance.

There’s also something to be said for independent partners that specialize and excel in certain areas. This is especially true for independent data partners that are built and forged in delivering audiences solutions that perform and aren’t tethered to a corporate entity or buying platform. 

Embrace the future

The end of Oracle’s ad business is a major shift in the ad landscape. The future of some powerful technologies is up in the air, and there are lots of talented people without jobs. Talent will find new homes, and we may see some of these tools reemerge on the market at a later date, as happened with MediaMath last year or Sizmek five years ago.

The beat goes on, and brands and agencies can’t sit on their hands. It’s time to make an informed plan to move forward with your ad campaigns. That requires a close examination of the tools used, the potential alternatives and the best fit for your brand.

Data-Driven Thinking” is written by members of the media community and contains fresh ideas on the digital revolution in media.

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