AppNexus, recognised widely as one of the key players in the programmatic ad boom, has been handed $10 million by News Corp as part of a $31 million funding round, which also saw investment from Yahoo Japan.

The global ad tech firm is riding high on a wave of backing for programmatic, which has brought a new face to the burgeoning display ad economy by automating the buying and selling of inventory online.

In the UK alone, programmatic has been tipped to account for 75% of all display ad buys, and such figures appear to be raising the profile of companies like AppNexus when it comes to seeking investors.

Creating new ties

The funding will be used to aid AppNexus’s development across the globe – its 23 offices and 1000+ staff proving that a good start has already been made – but there is more to the story. 

Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp will be looking to create a stronger tie between AppNexus’s suite of technology and its existing properties, which include Wall Street Journal, The Times and New York Post among others scattered across the globe.

In addition, Unruly – the video ad tech firm purchased by News Corp for $176 million last year – will be developing vertical formats to be made available on the AppNexus platform, with a focus on mobile-friendly formats.

The relationship between News Corp and AppNexus is said to have blossomed in recent years as as the former increased its use of the latter’s technology. Many of world’s biggest online publishers have taken to programmatic as a means of bringing an air of efficiency to how they sell ads, with very few not looking to this as the way forward.

“As individual businesses in our company started adopting AppNexus products into their technology stack, we gained further appreciation for their services,” commented David Brinker, senior vice president and head of business and corporate development at News Corp.

A smart decision?

While the decision to bankroll AppNexus would appear a shrewd move, the first seeds of investment have long been sewn, evidenced by WPP plunging $25 million into the firm back in 2014.

Some of the world’s top advertisers are conducting a radical overhaul of their display strategies, despite lingering concerns over fraud and transparency.

AppNexus is also developing a very handy network to rely on, with LinkedIn becoming the latest company to link up to the platform in an announcement made earlier this week.

Predictably, rumours are now circulating around a potential IPO for the group.