Mystery Revealed: BlueKai Buys Ad Performance Monitor TrackSimple

Earlier this week, an SEC filing by ad data collector BlueKai showed the sale of $6.7 million in company stock for a transaction that appeared to be a merger. The company wasn’t talking about its plans then, but this afternoon, BlueKai CEO Omar Tawakol told paidContent that it was buying TrackSimple, a company that collects data for marketers and lets them analyze their total media spending in one spot. The acquisition was an all-stock transaction and involved no cash.

The acquisition was timed for the release of Bellevue, Washington-based BlueKai’s new marketing suite, which includes tag management. Billed as a comprehensive system for collecting, managing and analyzing private audience data from a single integrated interface, the product is aimed at advertisers and agencies.

For BlueKai, which has been one of largest marketplaces for online data for advertisers, agencies and publishers since opening its doors only three years ago, the acquisition of Seattle-based TrackSimple and the introduction of these new data management tools means that it can offer a “closed loop” for media planning.

“Marketers would come to us with their own intent data and ask if they can use us as a platform for our own private data,” Tawakol said. “We were great at outside data, but being able to go as deep as TrackSimple and offer details about the performance of ad campaigns was a layer we didn’t have.”

The analytics space has been hot for over a year, in terms of deal activity and the rush of companies looking to expand their services. Last week, for example, Adobe (NSDQ: ADBE), which spent $1.8 billion to buy audience measurement service Omniture (NSDQ: OMTR) over a year ago, acquired Demdex as it sought to add a layer to its ad targeting capabilities.

Tawakol wants to keep things clear and easy with TrackSimple. The brand itself will remain largely independent, even as many of its services are integrated within BlueKai. “Our view is be way ahead of the market,” Tawakol. “A lot of companies are focused on integrating data into their closed media stacks. We’re not going to serve ads, we’re not trying to own the media stack. Instead we will be the biggest data stack, integrated into all other media stacks. It is a more open approach to data.” Release