In January of this year, David Pazos was sitting at his desk in his office at Digital Marketing Institute in Palo Alto, California, when he heard that Facebook had hired a software engineer.
At the time, Pazies was the CEO of digital media agency Digital Content, a team that was building its own advertising and content solutions.
The move was a bit of a shock, he told Recode.
Facebook had just announced a $10 million round in 2018 that would fund its advertising technology and content efforts, but it was the first time he’d ever heard of such a move.
“It was really hard to grasp how this would ever happen,” Pazis said.
Facebook’s acquisition of Digital Content raised eyebrows, as it would essentially be merging a team of top digital marketing talent from its parent company, Alphabet, and its own video, advertising, and content division.
But Pazas said the timing was perfect for the two companies to work together.
“We knew we had a strong partnership, and we were really excited to be part of it,” he said.
Pazs new job at Digital Content was to help the company’s advertising and video solutions develop a suite of services for brands to use to build targeted ads.
“Digital Content was the one that had a real understanding of the market that Facebook wanted to play,” he told us.
The company was already doing advertising on Facebook and other platforms, but Pazes said the work would focus on making those ads more compelling to users, especially with the company already experimenting with video and ad formats.
Digital Content has been developing its own ad-targeting technology since last year, when it introduced its own product, Digital Ad Explorer.
This new product lets advertisers target video and other content, based on users’ interests and behaviors.
Payscale’s Jefferies analyst Neil Shah called Digital Content’s acquisition “a huge deal for the adtech industry” and said it “sets up a real competitive advantage for Digital Content.”
Shah said the deal also provides the company with the ability to partner with Facebook’s own ad tech and content teams, and to add a third, less-experienced, partner to the mix.
Digital Ad Navigator is one of many ad tech companies Paz and his colleagues at Digital Commerce are building out in addition to their work on ad tech.
They’re also working on a new tool called AdOps that can help brands manage the ad inventory that Facebook and Google have already built out.
“This was an opportunity to really push the technology out in the ad space,” Pizzos said.
“That’s where we’re going to build out our ad tech team.”