Share

Advice Interactive Merges With UBL, Reflecting SMBs’ Demand For Digital Presence Management

The deal allows the two entities to double down on the US market during a period of international expansion — and local data services industry consolidation.

Advice Interactive's Bernadette Coleman
Advice Interactive’s Bernadette Coleman

Online business listing manager UBL Interactive is merging with local search specialist agency Advice Interactive Group in a move that will combine their global API syndication networks and Digital Presence Management technologies.

Under the terms of the deal, which involved a stock swap between the two, Bernadette Coleman will remain CEO of Advice and lead the combined companies’ US operations, technology, fulfillment, marketing. She’ll also manage the UBL integration into Advice’s platform. Meanwhile, Doyal Bryant continue on as CEO of UBL Interactive with a focus on international expansion and corporate development.

“This is the coming together of two equals that both have strengths that compliment each other,” Coleman told GeoMarketing. “This allows the unified company to focus on building out our Global API syndication Network and non-US based channel partners while I manage the US operations. It’s a win-win for all. Remember 50 percent of UBL revenue comes from outside the US.”

A Period of Consolidation

The combined entity aims to help agencies, brands and small-to-medium sized businesses SMBs take control of their location data on business listings appearing on Google Bing, Yahoo and Apple Maps along with hundreds of local search directories, social networks, and mapping services across the internet — in other words, Digital Presence Management, which encompasses retailers’ omnichannel focus that begins with ensuring that their vital information is seamless and discoverable across all interactive media.

The expanded use of place-based marketing under DPM services from local SEO to business listings to data syndication is expected to accelerate consolidation in the space.

UBL's Doyal Bryant
UBL’s Doyal Bryant

As UBL’s Bryant told Street Fight’s Steven Jacobs, UBL’s and Advice’s combined revenues were roughly $20 million in 2014, making the new entity be the second-biggest player in the industry, after Yext. [Full disclosure: Yext is GeoMarketing’s parent company. More details about that relationship here.]

“The combination of UBL and Advice Interactive should make us the second-largest in the industry, and I believe that eventually there will be three or four large players,” Bryant said in his interview with Street Fight.

Complementary Partners

In terms of the benefits to clients, the merger creates what Coleman says is “larger, stronger, globally diversified DPM company.” The merged company will have about 80 employees altogether. No layoffs are planned, Coleman added, though she said “there may be some shifting” of personnel. The two companies have set up a temporary website that’s meant to communicate the combination’s underlying purpose under the rubric, “I’m All About That Data.”

As for what this alliance is actually all about, UBL brings the data syndication network to the table, while Advice has the technology and SEO platform, along with sizable submission and fulfillment teams.

“What’s exciting about this is that there was very little overlap in our technology, services, and personnel — and that in itself is unusual,” Coleman said. “We will be able to bring a broad array of products and services. Not to mention that we are also a full service digital agency. There is no other place to go to where everything you need to manage your presence online is in one place.”

About The Author
David Kaplan David Kaplan @davidakaplan

A New York City-based journalist for over 20 years, David Kaplan is managing editor of GeoMarketing.com. A former editor and reporter at AdExchanger, paidContent, Adweek and MediaPost.