Tel Aviv-based Playbuzz has raised a $35 million Series C growth round led by capital investor Viola Growth, with support from Disney and other existing investors.
This growth round nearly doubles Playbuzz’s existing funding to $66 million and will go toward global expansion and product development.
“The landscape for funding for growth-stage companies, especially in media, is not very favorable, so we were grateful to raise a healthy amount of money,” said Shaul Olmert, co-founder and CEO of Playbuzz.
The six-year-old company helps brands and publishers use their content and ads for interactive storytelling. Clients include Unilever, Coca-Cola, VH1, Huffington Post and ESPN.
In addition to interactive slideshows, polls and quizzes, Playbuzz recently released a video-heavy format dubbed Big Picture, which clients like VH1 use to create interactive landing pages and for progressive storytelling.
Playbuzz’s value prop also includes increasing engagement with site and in-app content.
“There’s a transition in the market away from just generating page views,” Olmert said. “A lot of content is being consumed, but many ads aren’t being viewed, let alone clicked on.”
Brands and publishers that use Playbuzz also get access to a dashboard and tools that surface metrics for engagement with content, such as average duration and view-through rate. The platform then suggests content tweaks based on an audience’s preferences.
The tools come in handy for both editorial teams and the commercial side. Playbuzz offers third-party verified brand-lift studies and analysis of purchase intent for interactive content created and distributed through its platform.
Its product roadmap includes increased automation and AI for its content engine. Playbuzz claims to collect billions of analytic events every month around consumption and can determine which topics people spend more or less time reading about and engaging with.
Since publishers find they can win only certain subsets of consumers through interactive elements, Olmert said, the goal is to use AI to suggest the right visual elements, for instance, or tweets to embed into content.
Or the platform may also recommend that a story be converted into different formats, such as a summary or bullet points, based on its likelihood to engage a certain reader.