Brainlabs acquires social ad creative studio Consumer Acquisition

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Digital marketing agency Brainlabs has acquired the social ad creative studio Consumer Acquisition.

The price wasn’t disclosed. The transaction is Brainlabs’ fourth acquisition this year and its second in North America as the agency continues to expand its capabilities for both existing and future clients.

Brainlabs and Consumer Acquisition said they have a shared culture of driving measurable client success through testing, tech and talent. The introduction of Consumer Acquisition’s services expands Brainlabs’ social advertising capabilities to include a creative studio, fully-managed paid social services, and the software-as-a-service tool, AdRules.

This move will enable Brainlabs to offer clients multiple creative advertising executions within app download campaigns, closing the gap between creative and digital performance.


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Reporting to Jeremy Cornfeldt (Brainlabs’ CEO, North America), Brian Bowman (CEO of Consumer Acquisition) will deliver Consumer Acquisition’s products to new and existing clients globally in his new role as senior vice president of global app marketing.

Leveraging the experience of senior executives Brian Kanaga, Mike Merrell, BJ Zeltner, and Lian Amaris, Consumer Acquisition will become Brainlabs’ in-house creative studio for app marketing campaigns and managed mobile user acquisition services. Consumer Acquisition has knowledge of mobile-first sectors, such as gaming and direct-to-consumer, and in partnership with Brainlabs, will expand their expertise to support clients across all sectors.

“In this next stage of growth for Consumer Acquisition, we are thrilled to bring Brainlabs strengths in paid search, strategy, branding, programmatic advertising, and data science to our clients,” Bowman said. “We look forward to contributing to the success of Brainlabs clients through our world class creative strategy, mobile media buying expertise, and Hollywood storytelling.”

Brian Bowman, CEO of Consumer Acquisition.

Above: Brian Bowman, CEO of Consumer Acquisition.

Image Credit: Consumer Acquisition

Founded in 2013, Consumer Acquisition is headquartered in California and operates via a globally distributed remote workforce. For three consecutive years, the company has been included in the Inc. 5000 and San Francisco Business Times Fast 100 for fastest-growing private companies.

Consumer Acquisition has managed $3.5 billion in creative and social ads spend for top charting mobile apps and web-based performance advertisers, including Roblox, Wooga, Zynga, Glu, Rovio, and Jam City.

But while they have been successful, Bowman has expressed concern for the past year about Apple’s focus on privacy over targeting advertising, making it harder for advertisers to take advantage of the Identifier for Advertisers (IDFA). Most users have opted out of being tracked for ad purposes, and so targeted advertising has been a lot less precise than it used to be. That has hurt some players like Facebook, and it has also hurt game developers trying to find paying users. And by extension, Consumer Acquisition as well.

I asked if IDFA was one reason for selling the company. In an email, Bowman said, “We’ve chosen to become part of Brainlabs to begin our next growth phase with more opportunities for our people and our clients. Brainlabs selected Consumer Acquisition for our expertise in mobile app creative and media buying, our exceptional talent, and strong record for client success. This is not a cost-saving acquisition, this is a revenue-generating acquisition. Brainlabs has expertise in paid search, strategy, branding, programmatic advertising, and data science. We bring expertise in mobile app creative and media buying, which is why we are joining them.”

He added, “The primary driver was a desire to grow faster than we could grow on our own but automation and loss of IDFA made the decision clear: get bigger faster.”

Still, Consumer Acquisition’s proprietary advertising analytics platform AdRules provides workflow automation, real-time business intelligence and creative research from 3.5 million video ads across social channels. With expertise across Facebook, Instagram, Google, TikTok, Snap, and Apple Search Ads, Consumer Acquisition focuses on profitable advertising, rigorous A/B testing, optimization processes, and blockbuster storytelling for mobile app advertisers.

Brainlabs was founded in 2012 with a mission to become the best and biggest digital marketing agency in the world. The Brainlabs approach is built around testing, tech, and talent — a model that has helped the business grow to 750 people. Brainlabs is backed by private equity firm Livingbridge.

“I am so delighted to welcome Consumer Acquisition into Brainlabs. Their best-in-class approach to social creative is built around testing, technology and talent — much like Brainlabs,” said Daniel Gilbert, CEO of Brainlabs, in a statement. “Creative prowess is a vital new string to Brainlabs’ bow and their expertise in mobile advertising makes me a very ‘appy’ guy.”


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