Personalized video ad targeter and distributor EyeView raised an $8.1 million third round this past week to build out its US presence in the Midwest. The company is planning on opening offices in Chicago and Detroit to strengthen ties to ad agencies, as well as fast food and auto marketers.
The five-year-old company, which started in Tel Aviv and has dual headquarters in New York, plans to double its US operations to 35, said Oren Harnevo, founder and CEO.
"When we started, I came at it from the a vantage point of looking at bringing online advertising to TV," said Harnevo, who's brother, Ran, has been the head of AOL's video operations since his former company, video distributor 5Min, was acquired in 2010. "Our technology finds a specific audience that would be most relevant for the advertiser and then allows them to tailor the message to them. But it was too advanced for TV at the time, so we've been concentrating just on the web. Someday, perhaps, TV will catch up."
In crafting "personalized" video advertising, EyeView produces "hundreds of thousands of ads" every day, Harnevo said. The company takes the basic creative, pulls in its own data as well as the insights from outside partners like data management platform Bluekai and demand side platforms like TubeMogul or the video ad marketplace Videology, to develop particular audience segments. AOL and Yahoo are also becoming important customers as they build up their respective video libraries.
The ads are then given specific messages, such as noting that a store is having a sale on a certain Friday. In addition to creative, EyeView also provides features such as voiceovers for the ads.
It has lately been creating "video circulars" from scratch based on what marketers have put in their weekend newspaper print advertising.
"We charge on a CPM basis, and we include the creative and performance metrics in that service to the advertiser," Harnevo said. "We even let them repurpose the ad for television, even though we don't manage that distribution or targeting."
By focusing on features like the crafting and targeting of its video circulars, EyeView believes it can better align national marketers with local advertising.
"TubeMogul has many brand clients who run national video campaigns, yet they want to deliver a localized message to their potential customers," said Jason Lopatecki, Chief Strategy Officer, TubeMogul. "Eyeview's technology enables TubeMogul to easily adjust the creative messaging or calls to action based on the location, time of day, and other data specific to each viewer. In addition, Eyeview's ability to do the same thing across mobile and connected devices opens up numerous possibilities for brands to engage customers while they are on the go with a hyper-relevant ad."
While there's a lot of talk about cross-platform advertising, particularly between TV and mobile, there's still not a large market for latter and there's no pipes for the former. For EyeView, which is largely focused on cookie-based targeting, it looks at those efforts as ancillary to the PC-based web.
"If the agency wants us to run a video ad on other platforms, we're fine with that," Harnevo said. "We will simply tell them how it performed and optimize for the best person. Cross-platform is more than a slogan for us; it just goes without saying. We make everything look as good as it can no matter the screen. In terms of advancing the mobile marketplace, we're waiting for the other vendors to break through there. We have no desire to be a network and create the inventory or become a strict publisher/content play. When there are a billion views available on mobile, we'll be there."