For investors in advertising technology companies, it has been an uneasy ride — and things keeping getting worse.
Share prices of publicly-traded ad tech firms are down significantly compared with six months ago, despite the fact that many companies showed strong growth between April and August.
The wider market has slowed since April too, of course, but many ad tech stocks fell significantly further than the S&P 500, which dipped 6.6% over the past six months.
Ad buying technology firm Rocket Fuel has seen its share price fall naerly 50% since April 1, for example. Yume is down nearly the same amount, TubeMogul has fallen about 25%; Tremor Video is off over 20% and Rubicon Project has dropped nearly 17%.
Industry observers attribute the declines to continued “confusion” about the companies among investors, and concerns about the growing dominance of the online ad market by major firms such as Google Inc. and Facebook Inc.
Serious questions about the future of ad tech and online advertising are also mounting. Some online publishers say they’re now actively avoiding working with third-party ad tech firms, for example, because they argue the vendors devalue their ad space.
Meanwhile the industry is struggling to come to grips with major challenges such as the growth of ad-blocking technologies, and the ongoing problem of fraudulent or “non-human” Internet traffic.
Write to Jack Marshall at Jack.Marshall@wsj.com