Dentsu acquires performance marketing firm Search Factory

Arvind Hickman
By Arvind Hickman | 14 June 2016
Simon Ryan and Michael Bell.

Dentsu Aegis Network’s iProspect has become the largest performance marketing agency after acquiring a majority share in digital marketing agency Search Factory.

The addition of 24 staff as well as last week’s acquisition of Scorch has pushed iProspect’s total headcount to well above 200 people, which Dentsu claims makes it the largest player in the local market.

Trading as Search Factory│iProspect, the Brisbane-based agency provides SEM, content marketing, content development, analytics and digital strategy.

It was founded in 2011 by Nic Blair, who now leads the firm with co-owner and CEO Michael Bell. Blair will be director and Bell will become managing director of Search Factory│iProspect, reporting to iProspect ANZ CEO Dan Kalinski.

For Dentsu the acquisition highlights greater client demand to performance-led marketing solutions, Kalinski tells AdNews.

“iProspect is the largest performance management firm in all the key markets, and Australia is the fourth largest for Dentsu Aegis Network, so there’s been an appetite to ensure iProspect was strong over here,” he says, adding that Dentsu isn’t done yet in beefing up its performance capabilities.

“The reason iProspect has had the success it’s had globally is because we are able to offer clients something they are looking for. We’ve been talking for years of the demise of the old model on volume and mass communication. Performance marketing offers better insight on the user journey and how users engage with your brand.”

Kalinski says the performance services most in demand are search, programmatic display, content, data and social media.

Clients looking for performance marketing solutions are from a spectrum of business sizes and sectors but digitally native companies tend to be more rapid adopters, Kalinski adds.

Internally, Australia is regarded by Dentsu Aegis Network as a mature market for digital and while it may lag the UK in some aspects, the adoption rate is quicker.

Dentsu Aegis Network CEO Simon Ryan says the addition of Search Factory│iProspect a “unique opportunity to accelerate the growth of iProspect” in Australia’s third-largest metropolitan market.

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