Nielsen buys Israeli data firm eXelate for $200 million

Company best known for its TV ratings work will use new acquisition to get more data about online users

eXelate XEO Mark Zagorski (Photo credit: Courtesy)
eXelate XEO Mark Zagorski (Photo credit: Courtesy)

Data firm Nielsen on Wednesday announced that it was acquiring Israeli data collection firm eXelate. Terms of the deal were not announced, but industry sources said that Nielsen paid about $200 million for the Israeli company.

“This acquisition creates a tremendous opportunity for Nielsen in the programmatic media ecosystem,” said Steve Hasker, Global President, Nielsen. “Adding eXelate’s solutions to the Nielsen family furthers our ability to help marketers improve the effectiveness of their advertising campaigns and to help media companies better sell their content.”

Nielsen is known to most people as the company that collects data on viewers’ television watching habits, but the company is involved in many more aspects of “ratings,” analyzing sentiment by customers of products and services in hundreds of industries. The company uses a wide variety of tools to collect that data, from in-person polls to online questionnaires to game centers in shopping centers, where participants are asked to rate perfumes, chocolates, and other consumer products.

eXelate fits right in with Nielsen’s offerings. The Israeli firm has developed a cookie system that vacuums data in from a large number of strategic websites, reaching as many as 2 billion unique users and devices worldwide as well as 200+ online data providers. The system collects data from partner sites via tags located on web pages, where consumers interact with relevant content or queries. Via this tag, eXelate is able to drop a “targeting cookie” which collects relevant activity in an anonymous manner that does not identify the user personally.

That data is then uploaded, analyzed, and categorized, providing insights to customers on almost any aspect of their marketing effort. eXelate has actually been working with Nielsen for several years, and is the only data provider to have an API integration with Nielsen OCR to validate accuracy of the age and gender data Nielsen collects on a daily basis globally.

“eXelate’s advanced data solutions, innovative technology platform, and talented team of technologists will be a strong addition to the Nielsen family,” said Brian West, Chief Operating Officer, Nielsen. “Privacy is a priority for both Nielsen and eXelate. We will work closely with the eXelate team and continue to build privacy protections into all Nielsen products and solutions.”

Established in 2007, eXelate has raised $32 million, and employs 100 people, about half of them in its Tel Aviv office. The company has sales offices in New York, Chicago, San Francisco, London, and Paris.

“eXelate’s mission is to power the digital marketing ecosystem with data and insights to better inform the buying and selling of advertising,” said Mark Zagorski, the company’s CEO. “We are excited for the opportunity to accelerate our business by taking this next step with our longtime collaborator Nielsen.”

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