OpenSlate, a video analytics platform which provided YouTube brand safety ratings long before YouTube’s most recent brand safety crisis, has raised $7 million from North Base Media to fund product development and international expansion.
The company has raised about $15 million in total.
OpenSlate is also deepening its talent pool by hiring longtime Triad Retail Media CRO Brian Quinn as president, as well as JoAnna Foyle, AOL’s SVP of platform sales, as COO.
OpenSlate is adding more manpower beyond its existing 50 employees to service a run on new agency and holding company contracts, such as with GroupM.
One of OpenSlate’s biggest opportunities is helping brands and agencies improve their contextual video targeting amid YouTube’s brand safety issues.
While YouTube has become a big platform for reaching younger consumers, brand after brand has halted or pulled spend due to brand safety concerns in the past six to eight weeks, and more advertisers want to know where their video ads run.
“For a long time, everyone was looking at data to prove out sales increases and the ultimate ROI of their ad spend, but I think that sometimes we forget that advertisers still care about where their ads show up and we lose focus on that,” Quinn said.
OpenSlate is also in an advantageous position because it was an early Google partner and had early access to its audience insights and data.
For instance, one of its first offerings was a YouTube talent tracker, which identified the channels that would create the best engagement rates for ad campaigns.
But OpenSlate has evolved its capabilities since an initial focus on counting likes and video views. OpenSlate also developed a tool that allows buyers to translate their digital video buys into familiar television metrics like GRPs.
As its platform evolved, OpenSlate sought to service not only the direct-response budgets YouTube initially attracted, but increasingly the larger brand budgets Google commanded through ad formats and guarantees like Google Preferred.
“They were different because they weren’t focusing on attribution, like a lot of other platforms were,” Quinn said of his decision to move to OpenSlate. “They were focused on [contextual targeting] for clients since day one and there’s not a marketer who doesn’t want that. Yes, marketers want to feel good about their sales, but they need to feel good about where they’re advertising.”
Quinn spent seven years at Triad before GroupM’s Xaxis acquired it last October. Triad made a name for itself relatively early in retail media, serving as eBay’s outsourced sales force for several years while forging shopper data partnerships with brands like Walmart and P&G.
Triad, which had a nascent but growing video business built off that data, had considered incorporating OpenSlate into its partnership offering, which reignited Quinn’s conversations with the company. He and OpenSlate CEO Mike Henry both previously worked at The Wall Street Journal.