Mobile video ad network Transpera is announcing this morning that it has raised a Series C round of $9 million, led by BlackBerry Partners Fund, with participation from existing investors Flybridge Capital Partners, First Round Capital, Intel Capital and Labrador Ventures. Transpera CEO Frank Barbieri told me yesterday that total company funding to date is $18 million.
In addition to the financing, the company is also now promoting its network as "The Audience Network," reflecting what Frank said are significantly higher engagement metrics Transpera campaigns are achieving vs. comparable online video ones. Transpera has worked with brand research firm Insight Express to study performance of 5 recent video ad campaigns that ran on Transpera's network. Compared to norms that Insight Express keeps for similar online video campaigns, for the Transpera campaigns it found 9 times higher increase in purchase intent, 19 times higher increase in aided awareness, 4 times higher increase in unaided awareness and 2 times higher increase in ad awareness.
Frank ascribes these results to the nature of the mobile video medium, where users watch video with devices closer to their faces and are less distracted. His comments echo what Ujjal Kohli, CEO of Rhythm New Media, another key player in mobile video advertising, told Adam just last week. Frank sees mobile advertising moving into a new phase where brands engage heavily, displacing lower quality display and pay for performance ad types. Transpera is now supporting 265 different mobile-capable video handsets and is seeing fast growth among smartphones, with Android devices coming on strong.
The updates from Transpera and Rhythm provide more evidence of a growing virtuous cycle for mobile video: higher smartphone penetration, more premium content available, more premium-quality ad inventory, strong ad performance, more brands embracing the medium, etc. I don't see any of this slowing down any time soon.
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