Art directors interested in creating effective TV advertising campaigns might do well to take a look at the activities of Manhattan-based startup Simulmedia, the company on a mission to make TV advertising more like online advertising. Founded just four years ago by its now-CEO Dave Morgan, this young firm is clearly doing something seriously right, having just raised a whopping $25 million in Series D funding in a round led by Valiant Capital and R&R Ventures.
An art director’s quandary: how to make TV ads more effective?
Simulmedia has now raised a total of $59 million since its launch in 2009 so there’s little doubt that investors think its business aims are highly viable. Morgan, a veteran of the Big Apple’s tech scene who also founded the pioneering ad-tech firms Real Media and Tacoda, sums up the issue Simulmedia is tackling like this:
“TV still delivers, at a macro level, great results for advertisers. But it’s a really blunt instrument that hasn’t improved in 30 years.”
So what, the intrigued art director may be wondering, does Simulmedia propose as a solution? Well, most TV ad viewing metrics come courtesy of Nielsen’s 45,000-strong panel. But Simulmedia’s panel dwarfs that number: thanks to the company’s collaboration with satellite and cable operators and set-top box firms like TiVo, it’s grown to 55 million people. And Simulmedia can also identify which ads have been the most effective through its tracking of purchase data.
Fragments and solutions
Morgan points to a major feature in today’s TV advertising landscape:
“Audiences are fragmented across a couple of hundred cable networks. Legacy measurement can’t keep up with the needs of advertisers who have to advertise on all these small-rated shows.”
Even so, he believes that TV advertising is going to boom (and eMarketer’s figures suggest he may be onto something: the TV ad spend is on course to jump to $68.5bn next year, up from this year’s $66.4bn). And although he thinks that networks will want advanced analytics on their prime ad inventory, he also predicts that they won’t be keen on bringing in third parties like Simulmedia to do that for them. So, he’ll sell them the technology to do it instead.
The new investment will be ploughed into boosting the startup’s sales, service and technology departments.