Ad tech startup Drawbridge has been talking about its vision for targeting users across devices for a couple of years, but now it’s adding another device to the mix — Internet-connected TVs.
This follows Drawbridge’s earlier announcement that it supports video ads. Co-founder and CEO Kamakshi Sivaramakrishnan told me that while connected TVs are a “niche” platform for now and will only see “a fraction of the kind of spend you see” on other devices, they also appeal to high-end, “premium” marketers.
“We see that marketers … still look for spend in that television screen and that big form factor,” Sivaramakrishnan said. So this is meant to be an option for delivering TV-style ads with the sophistication of online targeting.
Drawbridge’s targeting, in particular, works by examining user behavior on different devices, then determining when those devices are likely used by the same person — so an advertiser could take advantage of desktop/laptop user data to target ads on mobile. Sivaramakrishnan acknowledged that when it comes to TVs, “It’s much more a static device. You don’t take your connected television out with you.”
What Drawbridge is able to get from those TVs, Sivaramakrishnan said, is “a reasonable sense of what would be a home location,” though she added that it’s not personally identifiable.
I also asked about the growing interest in cross-device advertising, both from startups and from big platforms like Facebook. Sivaramakrishnan replied that there seems to be “a certain degree of noise” in the market right now, but she said she finds the interest from bigger players to be “validating.”
Sivaramakrishnan also pointed to the fact that Drawbridge’s device graph now includes more than 3 billion devices that are connected to 1 billion users, and she argued that her company’s approach, which doesn’t use user login data, is taking “the moral high ground” because it’s “keeping the separation of church and state — consumer privacy is kept sacrosanct.” (Patrick Salyer, CEO of social login service Gigya, made pretty much the exact opposite argument when I talked to him on the same day.)