Internet Brands, a KKR portfolio company and owner of WebMD and Medscape, announced an agreement to acquire PulsePoint Inc., a leading technology company using real-time data to unlock and activate health insights. This acquisition accelerates Internet Brands’ expansion into the healthcare marketing technology space, adding enhanced programmatic and data capabilities across its portfolio of companies.

“PulsePoint’s proprietary programmatic and analytics platforms add to our portfolio of services to provide customers greater flexibility, ease, and ability to reach qualified audiences throughout their journey,” Blake DeSimone, Chief Financial Officer, WebMD told PM360 in an email interview. “Healthcare marketing decision-makers can continue to use data directly in PulsePoint’s platform to activate consumers and healthcare professionals across multiple channels. Now, PulsePoint’s platforms will benefit from WebMD and Medscape digital intelligence from being the premier provider of health information on the internet for over 20 years. Leveraging this data will enable improved targeting and audience segmentation.”

While clients could previously buy inventory on WebMD’s sites programmatically, the company did not operate a proprietary platform to facilitate that buying.

“This acquisition expands that option for our advertisers,” DeSimone adds. “They will continue to advertise in context on our site, but the acquisition enables them to reach important healthcare audiences programmatically off WebMD and Medscape.”

For PulsePoint, the benefits of this deal are threefold, according to PulsePoint CEO Sloan Gaon.

“First and foremost is content is king and WebMD/Medscape have unbelievable content,” Gaon told PM360. “The second thing is as we look over the horizon around things like privacy, consumer opt-in/opt-out, and consent, there is going to be a lot of challenges in the marketplace around that because of all the legal and regulatory hurdles healthcare players need to hop through when it comes to marketing. But Internet Brands have solved that problem around privacy, they have that opt-in and consent from both consumers and doctors and now that consent gets passed to PulsePoint as part of the acquisition. The third thing is WebMD is able to invest in PulsePoint in a way that we couldn’t as an independent company. They have huge amounts of resources in technology and data science, and combined with the programmatic innovation that we have within our company, we think that’s going to be a win-win for both companies.”

PulsePoint will remain an independently run entity, with teams in New York, San Francisco, and London. The company’s programmatic exchange will continue to service demand and supply side partners across the ad tech ecosystem and Internet Brands’ portfolio of auto, home and travel, legal and diversified media brands, and alongside its health-specific technologies.

Even though the companies will continue to run independently, Gaon says they will also look for ways to develop cohesive plans for their joint customers.

“The ecosystem as it exists today is generally looked at channel by channel,” Gaon says. “For instance, you have email, display, videos, Connected TV, and social, but omnichannel is going to become a bigger catalyst for healthcare marketers. Between, WebMD and PulsePoint, we’re going to be able to bring all those channels into a single platform. That’s going to allow us to unlock and activate insights in real time as we are able to take all that data from the journeys that we see across both of our platforms and then predict what’s likely going to happen and then offer marketers intelligent decision-making, next best action strategies.”

The transaction between the two organizations is expected to close in the coming weeks, subject to regulatory and other approvals. Terms are not being disclosed.


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