LinkedIn buys cross-device identity provider Drawbridge

Drawbridge is an identity management provider that is best known for its cross-device graph, which matches computers, smartphones, laptops and other devices to the same owner.

On Tuesday, Microsoft-owned business social media network LinkedIn announced in a blog post that it was buying Drawbridge. Deal terms were not made public.

Part of LinkedIn Marketing Solutions

The acquisition will make Drawbridge a part of LinkedIn Marketing Solutions, the ad platform for the network that has experienced 46% year-over-year growth. The purchase follows several new ad products recently launched by LinkedIn, including new campaign management tools and new company profile pages.

With Drawbridge part of the Microsoft and LinkedIn family, advertisers will be able to more accurately control such parameters as over-saturation, since the device graph knows which of an owner’s devices have seen which ads. This also helps LinkedIn compete against other walled gardens like Facebook and Google, since it will now have a better idea of the screens, devices and contexts in which its users view ads.

Following the implementation of the General Data Privacy Regulation (GDPR) in the European Union, Drawbridge became one of the first companies to announce it was closing its media-buying operations in that market.

Drawbridge needed individual consent to comply with GDPR

The company has a media-buying group as well as group that licenses its identity data, but GDPR made it necessary for a company like Drawbridge to acquire individual user consent to utilizing this data.

To comply, Drawbridge would have had to set up a consumer-facing operation that it did not have, or it would have had to work through other vendors who did interact with consumers, such as ad exchanges.

It abandoned the effort to do so for its media buying, but said it was attempting to do so for its identity data business, such as licensing its technology but not its data. Tapad, a competitor in the cross-device identity space, has unloaded its media buying in a partnership-like arrangement with social marketing tech firm Brand Networks.

In May of last year, Drawbridge sold its managed services business to marketing and ad platform Gimbal.

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