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If any company were an expert in search engine marketing, you’d figure it would have to be Priceline since it’s had so much practice and success. It is a testament to the complexity of the genre that the Priceline Group decided to go out and acquire a tiny, 2-year-old startup to further advance the effort.
The Priceline Group has acquired Qlika, an Israel-based micro-targeting startup for $3 million, and the 6-person team will be headed to Bangkok to help Priceline’s Agoda brand better-localize and segment its paid-search efforts, primarily in Asia and Europe.
re/code broke the news of the transaction.
The acquisition is not material for Priceline, which spends enormous sums on paid search, but it is seemingly a decent, but not extraordinary exit for Qlika, which was founded in 2012 and had secured around $1.7 million in funding.
Consider that Agoda operates in about 38 languages, targets travelers of various demographics in scores of markets, and offers hotels in more than 37,000 cities.
Qlika can help Agoda mount hundreds, if not thousands, of highly targeted search-engine marketing campaigns, ratcheting up its return on investment — or at least that’s the goal.
Agoda had its eye on the startup, and will get first use of Qlika’s expertise, but it isn’t hard to imagine how other Priceline Group brands, including Booking.com, might also take advantage of any discovered best practices in the future.
Glenn Fogel, Priceline’s head of worldwide strategy and planning, may have scouted the startup when he attended the DLD Tel Aviv Digital Conference in October 2015.
The relatively tiny Qlika acquisition is apparently Darren Huston’s first since officially becoming Priceline’s CEO on January 1. Undoubtedly there will be some much bigger ones in the future.