• iSpot.tv Raises $21.9 Million to Tie TV Ads to Digital Actions

    iSpot.tv, which monitors ads in over 100 national TV networks and then correlates real-time digital actions such search, social and video viewing, has raised a $21.9 million series B round, led by Insight Venture Partners, with participation from existing investor, Madrona Venture Group. The new funds will be used for product development and increased staff.

    In a world where ads are everywhere, with TV viewing becoming more fragmented, and viewers distracted by mobile devices, iSpot.tv's value to advertisers is that it helps them understand the TOTAL impact of their TV ads, including "earned" subsequent digital actions.

    iSpot.tv CEO and founder Sean Muller told me the company now tracks approximately 2 million TV ad airings per month, which result in approximately 1 billion digital actions per month. These actions are 60% video viewing, 30% search and 10% sharing. Sean said a typical "life cycle" will be a viewer seeing an ad on TV, searching for it online, watching it online and potentially sharing/liking it on social.

    With respect to video, iSpot tracks viewing on YouTube, Facebook and its own site, which has become the biggest online repository of TV ads, with a library of over 100K spots. iSpot.tv spiders YouTube and identifies ads that ran on TV, which are now typically posted in brands' channels. It uses these as the basis to track other online viewings and then correlate all of these to the ad's TV airing.

    iSpot.tv licenses its data primarily to advertisers, but also to TV networks and agencies. The data on earned actions helps advertisers better understand how and why their TV ads stimulate online activity (see example below). Sean said that generally speaking, an ad's creative is the biggest influence on user actions. No surprise, ads that are funny, emotional and have celebrities tend to perform best.

    I saw a demo of iSpot.tv's capabilities at NABShow recently and it's pretty impressive to witness the full breadth of TV ads actually running and then be able to zero in on one specific placement and see the exact number and type of digital actions that resulted. Putting myself in an advertiser or agency executive's shoes, that would be very useful in understanding the ad's full effectiveness, and importantly, how to tweak and improve the campaign.

    To date iSpot.tv has been focused on monitoring ads on linear TV networks, but Sean said it will soon expand into monitoring ads that are running against TV shows that are streamed on-demand online. He didn't name any specific sites, but the TV networks' sites, TV Everywhere initiatives and Hulu come to mind.

    iSpot.TV now works with 150+ clients and has a team of 60+ employees.