OneSpot Raises $5.3M To Turn Content Marketing Into Targeted Ads

OneSpot, a startup focused on what it calls “content advertising”, is announcing that it has raised $5.3 million in Series A funding.

I first wrote about the company in 2012, when it presented an interesting contrast to the native advertising that was becoming popular among ad-tech types. Unlike most native ads, which basically take advertising and make it look like content, OneSpot takes text and video content (both content that advertisers have created themselves and positive mentions that they’ve received elsewhere), packaging it as a standard display ad unit.

A year later, it seems like the market is getting crowded with companies that may or may not be similar, but certainly use some of the same buzzwords. (The closest comparison may be InPowered, which promotes positive articles and blog posts through ads.)

Chief Marketing Officer Adam Weinroth said OneSpot’s real differentiator is its Content Sequencing Engine, which tracks where viewers are in “the customer journey” and targets ads accordingly. When I wrote up OneSpot before, I used the example of promoting TechCrunch’s Disrupt conference — we’d want to promote interesting content from and around the events first and only then start sending readers to posts that are really focused on selling tickets.

Weinroth also described OneSpot as “a giant CMS for content marketers,” adding,” “Brands dove head first into becoming publishers. The main part that they’ve really figured out is how to create the content. … Now getting it to a broader audience is what really matters.”

OneSpot has made a number of hires in the past year, including CEO Steve Sachs and Weinroth himself (formerly an executive at Spiceworks, Demand Media, and elsewhere). Its customers now include Johnson & Johnson, Rackspace, Domo, and Remington.

As for the Series A, it was led by Mohr Davidow Ventures with participation from Mack Capital, RSL Ventures, Capital Factory, and Bazaarvoice co-founder Brett Hurt. Weinroth pointed out that Mohr Davidow’s investments include Rocket Fuel, which was seen as one of the first successful IPOs this summer after a period of ad-tech disappointment on the public markets. He also said that the money will allow OneSpot to expand its sales and market efforts while continuing product development.

The round brings OneSpot’s total funding to $6.8 million, with Mohr Davidow’s Bryan Stolle joining the board of directors.