Rubicon Project has emerged as one of the fastest-growing players in the multibillion-dollar ad bonanza on the Internet through its automated technology that matches advertisers to online publishers.
The Playa Vista online ad network delighted investors last week when it reported second quarter revenue of $28 million, well above consensus estimates of $25 million. More importantly, ad revenue that Rubicon manages on its real-time bidding market shot up 75 percent year over year to $154 million, outpacing the overall automated ad market industry’s 50 percent growth rate. In addition, the company boosted its guidance for the third quarter, projecting $29 million in revenue, 10 percent more than the consensus analyst estimate of $26.5 million.
“The company should continue to experience strong revenue growth as advertisers and publishers are embracing real-time bidding and the automation of direct orders,” said Kerry Rice, Internet and digital media analyst with Needham & Co. in San Francisco.
Investors reacted by sending Rubicon shares surging 31 percent to $13.01 at the July 30 close, making the firm the biggest gainer on the LABJ Stock Index for the week. (The stock gave back some of the gains the next day, closing at $11.91.)
The company’s shares were hammered in June as investors soured on the ad tech segment. Even after last week’s bounce, the price remains well below its peak of around $20 and its $15 public offering on April 2.
Rubicon provides buyers and sellers of Internet ads an automated virtual marketplace for real-time transactions. It billed itself as the pioneer of automated Internet advertising when it launched seven years ago; the total automated market is now valued at about $7 billion.
Rubicon says it now has the largest independent ad exchange, with more than 700 publishers and 100,000 global brands among its customers. The other major ad exchange is Google Inc.’s DoubleClick, which one analyst said is significantly larger than Rubicon.
“We are transforming this market and doing for advertising what Nasdaq did for stock trading,” Rubicon Chief Executive Frank Addante said in last week’s earnings call.
Addante said two recent developments will be significant drivers of future growth.
Rubicon reached an agreement with Comcast Corp. of Philadelphia to be the technology platform for the giant cable and Internet provider’s private ad exchange. Also, Rubicon and mobile advertising network InMobi of Singapore announced they would jointly operate an automated ad exchange aimed at mobile devices.
“This new exchange reaches 750 million mobile users globally across 30,000 mobile apps,” he said.
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