Inmar nabs Collective Bias to connect online influencers with in-store sales

Contact: Scott Denne

In a bid to bring hard metrics into the world of influencer marketing, Inmar, a digital promotions and analytics vendor, has acquired Collective Bias. The deal brings together two of the most potent trends in advertising – the appetite among marketers to link spending to purchases and the growing use of long-tail content as a marketing channel.

Collective Bias operates a network of social media content creators that it can leverage for branded content creation and distribution. The company already provides marketers with engagement metrics and under Inmar’s ownership will be able to extend that to actual sales. Inmar was founded in the 1980s as a coupon processor and has since expanded into digital coupons and other retail analytics that will enable it to draw a direct line between engagement with a Collective Bias campaign and consumer purchases.

Making the link between online ads and offline sales has become a substantial driver of acquisitions. That was the rationale behind such big-ticket deals as Oracle’s purchase of Datalogix, Nielsen’s pickup of eXelate and Neustar’s reach for MarketShare Partners. And as we discussed in a recent report, that trend will likely continue. Today’s transaction demonstrates that Inmar and other players in the payments ecosystem recognize the opportunity to use their data to fill this gap.

M&A activity around influencer marketing has seen a recent spurt. Both Facebook and Google, the two largest channels for distributing this content, made tuck-ins (CrowdTangle and FameBit, respectively) to improve their capabilities in this segment. Last summer, Monotype Imaging paid $130m for Olapic, a maker of software for managing branded, user-generated content. Given that deal and the size of Collective Bias (145 employees), today’s transaction may also have reached into nine figures.

GCA advised Collective Bias on its sale.

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