Connected-Stories, a leading AI-empowered creative management and automation platform for video advertising, has completed a $2M Seed round led by BlackSheep MadTech Fund (managed by Eureka! Venture SGR). Major brands, agencies, and publishers rely on the Connected-Stories platform to make their video advertising more compelling and personalized, and thereby measurably more effective and efficient. The Seed investment will support the continued development of the platform, as well as a concerted push into US markets.
“This is an exciting time for Connected-Stories and for creative technology in video,” said Claudio Vaccarella, CEO at Connected-Stories. “Marketers are spending more and more on video each quarter, and at the same time, they are looking beyond audience targeting for ways they can improve their campaign efficiency and gain an edge with consumers. The upcoming next generation of our platform is being tested by select US and EU partners, and we already see that we’re bringing video ad creative workflows to the next level.”
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With the rapid growth of programmatic media over the past decade, marketers have grown accustomed to applying data-driven strategies primarily in their media planning and audience targeting – ie. to the distribution of their creative. Comparatively less attention has been given to using data to improve the creative itself, despite the fact that creative has consistently been proven as the top contributor to overall campaign success.
Now, with media planning contending with the loss of key signals like Mobile Ad IDs (MAIDs) and third party browser cookies, creative optimization has reemerged as a top priority for brands and agencies. Brands that break category norms have a 21% greater chance of getting consumer attention, according to Ipsos. To capture this opportunity, brands need creative management platforms that provide omnichannel support, embrace new formats, and are prepared for the coming absence of cookies.
“At GroupM I experienced the rise of programmatic and its transformative effects on the way we buy, sell, and target media. Bringing data to distribution was the paradigm shift,” said John Montgomery, EVP of Global Brand Safety at GroupM and Advisor to Connected-Stories. “Looking at the next 10 years, however, adding creative optimization to everything we have learned so far will represent a game-changing opportunity for finding incremental performance and value in budgets.”
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While DCO technology is routinely applied to standard display ads, Connected-Stories is the first cloud-native DCO technology purpose-built for video advertising, with support for all existing ad formats and the tools to innovate new ones. Video advertising accounts for a growing share of global marketing budgets, and now represents more than half of all US programmatic media spend, according to eMarketer.
“Audience engagement has never been more important to advertisers, and the industry is eager for technology solutions focused on the interactive creative that drives this deep engagement,” said Umberto Bottesini, Co-founder & Managing Partner at BlackSheep Fund. “Connected-Stories and its AI-empowered platform fits directly into this need. Their unique approach to the CMP has resulted in a cutting edge solution that has helped brands and agencies and fueled 2x growth for the company over the past three years. We’re excited to work with a visionary team to help launch their newest products and redefine creative management and intelligence for modern brands and agencies.”
Initially launched in 2016 in Europe, Connected-Stories works with top agency holding companies such as Dentsu, Omnicom, and Havas, as well as McDonald’s, Audi, Mercedes, Bacardi, AT&T, and Sky Broadcasting.