iSpot.tv Lands $22M to Measure TV Ads and Their Online Impact

Many modern advertising campaigns still start with a prime time TV commercial, but any Mad Man worth his salt follows that up with social and digital media strategies, measuring everything along the way.

Except the kind of detailed, real-time analytics advertisers expect online are still tough to come by for TV spots. That’s where iSpot.tv comes in, and it’s coming in with $22 million in new capital from investors Insight Venture Partners and Madrona Venture Group, which backed the Bellevue, WA-based company previously.

Using software it built over the last three years, iSpot.tv provides its customers—now numbering more than 150 brands, ad agencies, and TV networks—with precise data on things like where, when, and how frequently a given commercial airs.

Founder and CEO Sean Muller says the old way of doing this relies on “archaic methodologies and technologies,” many built more than a decade ago. His company’s approach uses current audio and video fingerprinting technologies to collect TV advertising data at scale, as it happens.

Muller

Muller

iSpot.tv combines that data with information on so-called “earned digital media”—the likes, tweets, Google searches, and online ad replays that the expensive TV commercials prompt. Understanding how TV ads drive digital media allows iSpot.tv’s customers to optimize their television strategies, Muller says.

The company vacuums up nearly a billion digital interactions a month to rate the effectiveness of ads and broader media plans, he says.

“We put the data in marketers’ hands that allows them to make modifications quicker than they would have otherwise,” Muller says.

TV networks have become much more nimble, allowing advertisers to tweak campaigns in as little as 24 hours, Muller says. And TV is borrowing concepts from online advertising, such as selling airtime via online auctions.

“TV is moving more and more to look like digital in the sense that you can make automated buys and automated modifications of your campaign,” Muller says.

That’s a good thing for iSpot.tv. “Our data set becomes even more important and valuable to the ecosystem,” he says.

Another good thing is next year’s presidential campaign. “The political guys are heavy users of data,” Muller says.

The new investment, which brings iSpot.tv’s total funding to $27.5 million, will allow iSpot.tv to scale up faster. “Everything we’re doing today is working,” Muller says. “We’re growing very quickly and efficiently.”

The company is adding to its staff of more than 60, spread among offices in Bellevue, New York City, Los Angeles, and Chicago. It’s also adding new capacities to its products, including one coming up this summer that will focus on audience measurement.

Benjamin Romano is editor of Xconomy Seattle. Email him at bromano [at] xconomy.com. Follow @bromano

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