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Investment Programmatic

Adbrain scores $7.5m in funding as quest for cross-device identity scales marketers' priorities


By Ronan Shields, Digital Editor

February 17, 2016 | 4 min read

Adbrain has raised $7.5m in funding, plus appointed US-based developer Jason Atlas as CTO as the UK-based startup aims to capitalise on the brands’ growing need to more effectively conduct their cross-screen ad campaigns using a host of different media trading technologies.

Cisco Investments join existing investors Notion Capital and Octopus Ventures in the finding round, which is the latest instance in a host of recent investments that have seen European ad tech startups benefit from substantial investment in recent weeks.

Specifically, Adbrain will use the funding to further its expansion in North America, mainland Europe, and APAC, prioritising recruitment in product development, marketing and sales, as it aims to promote its Adbrain Identity Cloud.

The appointment of engineering veteran Jason Atlas as Adbrain’s first CTO a cornerstone in this development. Speaking with The Drum, Adbrain, CEO, said: “Talking to Jason, we could see that he had strong ideas for growing our technical capabilities and shared our vision for solving complex customer identity problems in a privacy sensitive way.

“That naturally will help us continue to bring some of the most talented, motivated engineers in the world to Adbrain.”

Davies went to explain how Adbrain’s attempts to help marketers better manage their cross-screen ad campaigns now include incorporating the internet of things (IoT) through the development of the Adbrain Identity Cloud.

“Today’s customer exists across devices (such as smartphones, tablets and wearables) but they also exist on channels such as email and offline, and platforms such as [ad targeting platforms like demand-side platforms] DSPs and [supply-side platforms] SSPs,” he said.

“Any true customer identity solution has to take account of that and connect the customer across all three. So absolutely, we’re excited to be improving our cross-screen capabilities, but the funding is really about attacking the far larger problem of customer identity as a whole.”

The splintering of ‘consumer journeys’ is that about targeting, measuring and connecting the customer across all of the technologies they use has never been more difficult for marketers.

“We now feel confident we have a solution that can address this at scale while remaining privacy safe,” added Davies.

The conundrum of a fragmented customer journey, plus matching this to multiple data sources that help prove ROI on marketing and advertising investment has posed many marketers to make a decision between probabilistic, or deterministic modelling. (Click here to read more on this debate).

However, Adbrain claims to have discovered a unique way to traverse the two.

“The deterministic vs. probabilistic debate has played out in the industry over the last two years, and it’s clear that neither wins on its own. Deterministic without probabilistic struggles for scale. Probabilistic without deterministic has no method of measuring accuracy,” said Davies.

“We believe that probabilistic is the best way to solve customer identity at scale while remaining privacy safe. Privacy is key to customers, and we want privacy to be built in to our solution. Deterministic data trains our algorithms and improves our service so that we get a true accuracy score.”

The Adbrain Identity Cloud, helps marketers get the best of both worlds, according to Davies, as he claims it provides marketers with an independent view, and doesn’t have a media arm to its business - unlike the industry’s great deterministic advocates such as Google.

“We don’t compete for media dollars, and instead focus on providing a data service for marketers and marketing technology companies,” he added.

“Adbrain trying to rebuild the entire marketing ecosystem for cross device wouldn’t make a lot of sense. It’s far better to integrate into a marketer’s existing toolset.”

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