Playbuzz sees both agencies and brands using the self-serve platform. In the US, it’s more likely for brands to go direct, a shift Olmert sees driven by brands wanting to “own interactions with consumers,” as they do on social media, as well as an increased focus on campaigns’ effectiveness.
More broadly, Playbuzz taps into a trend where advertisers focus on the web’s most precious commodity: attention. That often means embracing content over banner ads, and platforms over individual publisher sites.
Individual publishers, though, share revenue when they opt into receiving these sponsored posts. Olmert said Playbuzz’s pricing is premium, more on the “Vice, Vox, BuzzFeed” end of the spectrum. That offers a boost for publishers running Playbuzz’s sponsored content and receiving a cut of that revenue.
The investment in Playbuzz comes at a time when many in the industry are having difficulty getting funding. But because this investment was strategic and didn’t come from venture capitalists, it didn’t quite fit into that bucket, Olmert said. He suspects Playbuzz also had an easier go because it is in high-growth mode.
But other companies that aren’t in growth mode have had a harder time, often because they raised a lot of money at inflated valuations and terms that favor VCs and not employee shareholders.
“In 2016, we will see a lot of unicorns getting chopped,” Olmert said.
The latest funding brings Playbuzz’s total to $34 million.