Ansira Goes Deep in Auto Vertical with CDK Agency Acquisition

The digital agency Ansira has bet big on the auto vertical with its acquisition of CDK Global‘s digital marketing business. CDK is the successor company to the Cobalt digital marketing business for the auto dealer space.

According to the acquisition announcement, CDK’s digital marketing business “uses powerful proprietary websites and advertising technology to drive more than 83 million monthly unique visitors across a multitiered automotive landscape.”

CDK Global is a major player in auto dealer management software. The company is the result of the $400 million 2011 acquisition of Cobalt by ADP Dealer Services. The name change to CDK Global followed in 2014.

A return to its core

Before the name change, CDK was a dealer-management software business that added digital marketing capabilities, in a big way, with the Cobalt acquisition.

Last fall, CDK announced plans to sell the digital business “within a year” in order to focus on its DMS core. In ended up happening in less than seven months. CDK also wants to invest more in its Fortellis digital platform that allows software developers, OEMs, and dealers to create new “auto commerce” applications. Fortellis launched in 2018.

Investing in specialization

Ansira is a brand-to-local agency with 850 employees worldwide. Automotive is a key specialty. This likely factored into CDK’s decision to sell to Ansira.

“While we continue on our accelerated path of product and services innovation, we will be able to tap into Ansira’s extensive experience in automotive, its world-class marketing services, and creative, to improve our dealer marketing effectiveness and the insights we bring to the industry,” said Jen Cole, senior vice president, CDK Digital, in a statement.

“Our shared passion with Ansira for digital marketing technology and services will help drive even more value for our clients and their customers. We will continue to bring clients industry-leading platform innovations to help them compete in local markets and realize greater returns on their marketing investments.”

Quest for relevance and scale

This deal reflects trends in the agency space that we will address at Localogy 2020. These include the need for relevance amid intense competition and increasing automation. The bar keeps getting raised for agencies. Hence Ansira’s big investment in a key vertical.

Another related trend is the need for scale. While terms were not disclosed, the 2011 deal offers some idea of the size of Ansira’s bet on the auto vertical.

Agency themes at Localogy 20/20

Several sessions at Localogy 20/20 examine challenges facing the digital agency space. Most notably, Rishad Tobaccowala of Publicis Groupe will touch on these themes in his headline talk.

4:45 – 5:15
Keynote – Staying Relevant in Changing Times
Rishad Tobaccowala will discuss how media consumption is changing and impacting what it means to be a media organization and an agency today. This transformation is being fueled by data and the technology that is harnessing it. In order to thrive in this new world, companies must embrace this data and technology without losing the power of human empathy and creativity. Rishad is Chief Growth Officer and member of the Management Committee of Publicis Groupe, the world’s third-largest communication firm with 80,000 employees. He was named by BusinessWeek as one of the top business leaders for his pioneering innovation. TIME magazine dubbed him one of five “Marketing Innovators”.
Rishad Tobaccowala, Publicis Groupe

This session features a conversation on the evolution of martech.

1:10-1:30
Shifting to the Cloud and the Next Martech Revolution
Localogy has been at the center of the Martech revolution since the beginning. We’ve covered paid search, organic search, social media, and dozens of other key advances in the Martech/local ecosystem. This conversation with two of the top Martech thought leaders will identify what’s next in Martech and point to winning strategies and tactics that will redefine the digital agency space in the years ahead.
Katelyn Sorensen, Gather
Justin Sanger, OMG National

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