ClickForensics CEO Pellman On New Financing And Audience Verification

Click ForensicsClick Forensics announced that today that it has closed a “$6 million Series C funding round led by Austin Ventures with participation from Sierra Ventures and Shasta Ventures.” Read the release.

Click Forensics CEO Paul Pellman discussed the company’s strategy going forward. With the $6 million, what can you share about what you’ll do with the funds beyond expanding “development and marketing of new offerings”?

PP: We raised this round of financing to speed our build out of audience verification offerings for display advertisers.  We plan to bring transparency and accountability to the display advertising space, just like we’ve done in the CPC space for the past four years.  With the advent of ad exchanges, DSPs, and yield management platforms, display advertising is quickly evolving – promising tremendous reach and ease-of-use. However, wider syndication and automation also means increasing threats to audience quality and less transparency. This requires that media buyers ensure their ads are seen by the right audiences. Our new display solutions will do just that.

What was your sense of the funding environment today? Any pushback for ad tech?

Quite the contrary, we’ve been approached by several potential investors this year seeking opportunities to invest in ad tech.  In the end, based on the size of the investment we needed, it made sense for us to simply accept an additional round of funding from our existing investors.

What’s the difference between looking at audience for display and looking at who is creating click fraud in CPC campaigns?

In the search world, the quality of an audience is largely determined by measuring a click’s propensity to convert. In the display world advertisers need to know a whole lot more, such as: How many times was my ad really served?  How many actual people saw my ad?; How many times were they in the target demographic or geography?; and Were competitors displayed more prominently? These needs require a different set of offerings, but much of the core technology we’ve developed for the CPC space can be leveraged to deliver this functionality for display advertisers quickly.

How does current traction for your audience verification product for display compare to your CPC product today?  Where do you anticipate this to be a year from now in terms of revenue? 50/50?

We are currently in the beta testing phase for our audience verification product for display. Our offerings for search advertisers make up the majority of our revenue. We believe that over the next year display will become a much bigger part of our business.

Any plans on getting into ad verification (DoubleVerify, AdSafe, Mpire, Adometry, etc.)? It would seem to be a logical extension of your product line.

We believe the brand safety and ad verification providers are doing a good job. But we’ve always said that brand safety is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to ensuring that display advertisers get what they pay for from their online media buys. Knowing if an impression is real, if you reached the desired demographic, and where your leads came from are extremely important to the display advertiser. With that data it’s only a short leap to advanced segmentation, attribution, and bid optimization in an RTB setting. Our years of experience in the search space have given us the foundation we need to deliver the unique capabilities demanded by display advertisers for audience verification.

By John Ebbert

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