Jun Group Aligns Mobile Video Ads With Premium Publisher Content

MultiWhen Jun Group was founded in 2005, its bread and butter was serving desktop video ads and ads in social and mobile games, rewarding players with virtual currency when they opted in.

But the video ad platform has its sights on bigger things today: mobile brand advertising dollars. And it’s using a $28 million investment round from Halyard Capital, facilitated by Jordan Edmiston Group at the end of July, to become a stronger mobile-focused platform and help brands and publishers monetize mobile apps.

Jun Group works with publishers like CBS Interactive and Condé Nast to drive readers from in-app content to branded microsites or landing pages for companies like Samsung and Coca-Cola.

While brand dollars are only slowly trickling into the mobile video environment, Jun Group’s founder and CEO, Mitchell Reichgut, sees the opportunity to gain early mover advantage.

Specifically, he hopes to push mobile units in an in-app environment: “It’s a tough technological hurdle to build SDKs into all these apps, but in-app really became the format and audience we wanted because apps account for about 87% of smartphone activity.”

It’s not always easy getting advertisers to buy in. Back when Jun Group focused on in-game ads (which are different from in-stream video ad units so popular today), big name brands were still slow movers. 

There were also brand safety and viewability concerns. Although in-game ads generated double-digit impression percentages, for instance, advertisers weren’t always sure where their messages showed up. They also want to ensure they’re aligning with premium content, knowing what audience their ads reach and how well it scaled.

“We see less concern from brands about ‘which device will I run on?’” Reichgut said, “and much more concern about who are the publishers, what is my completion rate, who are you targeting – basic blocking and tackling at this point.”

“I remember when there was resistance to banners and pre-roll,” he added, “so we’ve seen the comfort level grow by leaps and bounds [with] mobile video.”

Those concerns, however, continue to plague individuals buying mobile inventory on open exchanges, particularly for "incentivized" views among in-game inventory.

“Because demand [including desktop pre-roll] outstrips supply with video right now, you do see exchanges jamming in all of this funky stuff and selling it under a unique audience segment that’s not clear to a buyer,” explained Kevin Lenane, GM of video at Integral Ad Science. IAS acquired the video measurement firm he founded, Veenome, in March.

Jun Group tries to assuage these concerns by partnering directly with game developers and publishers. It claims it avoids supply from programmatic exchanges unless it simply needs to fill demand. Its money-back guarantees to advertisers began several years ago, when it started promising no autoplay, no pop-ups or the like.

Jun also says it discloses which publishers its videos appeared in and their engagement rates. Its platform, Overdrive, promises full visibility by aligning native placements for brands with premium content on publishers’ destination sites or apps.

Jun Group has seen 90% annual growth over the past two years, according to Reichgut, and Halyard’s injection was its first round of VC equity financing ever – excluding a small round of debt financing in 2014.

 

 

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