Sightly Snags $1.7M To Expand Its Localized Online Video Ad Business

Sightly, a company that helps businesses create localized online video ad campaigns, has raised $1.7 million in seed funding. The investment was led by Mack Capital with participation from Tomorrow Ventures and 500 Startups. All three firms are returning investors.

TechCrunch last wrote about the California-based startup in December 2012, when it raised a $5.6 million round. Founded by John McIntyre and John Zdanowski, the startup started as Pixelfish in 2006, a video advertising provider, before changing its name and switching its focus to localized ads.

Sightly plans to use its latest round to expand its client base beyond small- to medium-sized businesses by targeting brands, agencies, and value-added resellers. Sightly will debut its new enterprise video ad platform next month at the International Franchise Association’s (IFA) annual convention in New Orleans.

According to June 2013 comScore report, 54% of people in the U.S. watch an average of 121 online video ads each month. Online video platforms give advertisers a treasure trove of data to work with, but it is still difficult to create engaging advertising campaigns, especially since the average online ad is only 0.4 minutes in duration.

In an email, CEO McIntyre told me that “smaller businesses face challenges similar to all local business, namely the costs, time and knowledge needed to develop localized videos and manage campaigns in today’s complex, fragmented video ad ecosystem.”

Sightly’s platform gives businesses a cost-effective way to create video ad campaigns for multiple networks, including YouTube, and then tailor them to specific regions. The startup’s proprietary technology allows for scalable creation of videos with elements like maps, addresses, contact information, and promotional offers for specific areas.

McIntyre adds that Sightly’s platform also lets businesses market and optimize their campaigns with features like automated bidding and budget allocation, as well as “data-driven target audience refinements.” Sightly is a certified Google AdWords partner, so its clients can create advertising campaigns that will reach customers searching for their businesses within 72 hours.

Spending on Internet ads is still just a fraction of the advertising market, with television taking a 58% share, compared to 4.5% for online ads, according to recent Nielsen report. But online ads enjoyed the fastest growth rate in 2013–32.4% compared to 4.3% for television–so if Sightly’s expansion plans go according to plan, it can tap into a potentially lucrative market.

“With the shift in media viewing habits from TV to digital media, the market is primed for Sightly’s solution. As the demand for personalized, scalable video ads and campaigns increases, it’s evident that Sightly’s growth opportunities are exponential,” said Brad Holden, principal at Tomorrow Ventures, in a statement.

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