Adobe's Buying Something Else: Efficient Frontier Ad Buying
The month is almost at its end, but Adobe has managed to sneak in one more big announcement. Adobe has finalized negotiations to purchase the privately held multi-channel ad buying and optimization company Efficient Frontier, known primarily for helping marketers negotiate ads on Facebook.

Big Changes at Adobe

We previously reported on the massive number of changes coming out the Adobe offices for November --  hundreds of jobs eliminated, a new strategic direction and the beginning of the end for Flash, all occurring in the same amount of time it took me to remove the Halloween decorations from my lawn. Most people know Adobe for its media player and creative tools like Photoshop, but the company has higher ambitions -- much higher.

According to company leadership, Adobe is transitioning its strategic focus to digital marketing. If you doubted the company’s commitment to the new direction, there should be little doubt now. Every move the company has made since the announcement signals they are “all in.”

The Latest Deal

You might not have heard of Efficient Frontier, but the company is not some unproven startup endeavor. Efficient Frontier currently manages over US $1 billion in marketing dollars on behalf of its clients. Although the company originally began as a search marketing firm, David Karnstedt, a sales veteran from Yahoo, expanded the company’s offerings to an ad-buying and optimization platform. Acquiring Efficient Frontier positions Adobe closer to being an end-to-end solution for interactive marketing from planning and content creation to ad delivery and campaign optimization. Taking a page from IBM's marketing team, Brad Rencher, Adobe’s Digital Marketing SVP and GM, alludes to the Adobe strategy in his blog about the acquisition saying,

Analytics, data, and optimization are the key points of online media buying and selling, so Efficient Frontier can be expected to raise Adobe’s profile among publishers and agencies to a greater degree by adding to its current offerings.”

In other words, you can do everything with us. Don’t worry your pretty little heads. There is really no need to look elsewhere.

Adobe will integrate Efficient Frontier’s capabilities such as campaign forecasting, execution and optimization into the Digital Marketing Suite, Adobe’s web analytics and optimization platform. The Digital Marketing Suite is also an acquisition; the software became an Adobe offering as a result of the Omniture purchase in 2009. It’s not just about the features, though. Efficient Frontier’s acquisition can be expected to raise Adobe’s profile among publishers and agencies, making them more likely to choose Adobe’s other offerings.

The terms of the deal have not been disclosed, but is expected to compete the first quarter of 2012. If November is any indicator, I’m certain that this will not be the last Adobe announcement for the year.