Digital Advertising Company SocialVibe Secures $20 Million in Funding Round Led by Norwest Venture Partners

Pioneering Performance Brand Advertising Platform Captures Consumers’ Attention, Delivers Unprecedented Engagement Rates to Maximize Brands’ ROI

LOS ANGELES--()--SocialVibe, the digital advertising technology company, today announced it has secured $20 million in equity financing led by new investor Norwest Venture Partners. Existing investors Redpoint Ventures, Jafco Ventures and Pinnacle Ventures also participated in the round, and Jeff Crowe from Norwest Venture Partners will now join SocialVibe’s Board of Directors. The company plans to use the growth capital to accelerate global adoption of its brand engagement advertising platform.

The current model of delivering brand advertising on a cost-per-impression basis is broken. Although more than four trillion display ads were purchased in 2010, click-through rates hover disappointingly around 0.1 percent. At the same time, the rise of social media is creating new demand for engaging consumer experiences instead of interruptive advertising.

SocialVibe’s technology platform delivers engagement advertising where consumers are most receptive to participating, such as while playing a social game, donating to charity, obtaining virtual currency or accessing premium content. SocialVibe’s engagement ad units reward consumers for their attention by providing a valued benefit in exchange for their interaction with a brand experience. SocialVibe currently handles millions of brand interactions every day. And unlike traditional “push” display advertising, SocialVibe’s unique opt-in approach creates “pull” for its brands.

SocialVibe has also pioneered an innovative methodology around creating targeted, shareable brand content. By working with advertising agencies’ creative teams to develop brand stories that are entertaining and relevant to the ad environment, SocialVibe engagements aim to elicit an emotional response. Consumers can also incorporate the brand message into their news feeds and social conversations. When they share the experience with their friends, the ads go viral – turning paid media into earned media and further stretching brand dollars.

SocialVibe’s engagement ad units are deeply integrated into the leading social and mobile sites, such as Pandora, Causes, Huffington Post and Zynga’s network of social games, giving brands the opportunity to engage with approximately 200 million global consumers. SocialVibe also powers engagement advertising on eight of the top 10 apps on Facebook.

Delivering online and mobile brand engagement

SocialVibe’s new model has delivered significant results for the world’s biggest brands, including GE, Best Buy, Disney, Nestle, McDonalds, Coke, American Express, AT&T and Toyota.

For example, SocialVibe partnered with Kia Motors during the 2011 Super Bowl to raise awareness for the launch of Kia’s Optima mid-size sedan. SocialVibe presented more than 100 million social game players across Zynga’s network of games, including FarmVille, PetVille and Mafia Wars, the opportunity to interact with Kia’s engagement ad in exchange for free Zynga game currency.

The campaign, part of Zynga’s “Big Game Tournament,” yielded impressive results, with consumers on average, spending almost three minutes with the engagement and 14 percent of consumers sharing their experience. The mobile component of the campaign yielded unprecedented 67 percent click-through rate to Kia Motors mobile site.

All SocialVibe campaigns show similar results. Consumers who engage with SocialVibe brand experiences, on average:

  • Spend 63 seconds per engagement, with an 80 percent completion rate
  • 41 percent visit a fan page or website
  • 30 percent show purchase intent, and
  • 15 percent share the experience with their friends.

“By engaging with consumers at a time when they are most receptive, SocialVibe empowers ad agencies to get the most out of their clients’ media dollars,” said Jay Samit, CEO of SocialVibe. “We’re honored to have Norwest Venture Partners join us as both an investor and as an integral part of our Board of Directors as we continue to transform brand advertising online.”

“With consumers now in control of the conversation, brands are hungry for technologies that enable them to target an audience at scale, create an emotional connection and drive purchase intent,” said Jeff Crowe, general partner of Norwest Venture Partners. “SocialVibe is changing the nature of the brand advertising model, and the company’s early success with hundreds of leading brands simply reinforces that the time is right for a shift of brand dollars to social media.”

About SocialVibe

SocialVibe is a digital advertising technology company that provides the most effective form of brand advertising for some of the world’s top brands. Unlike ad networks that simply deliver impressions through display advertising, SocialVibe provides opt-in engagements that consumers can share across their social graph. SocialVibe enables advertisers to engage at a time when consumers are most motivated to participate in brand experiences, such as while playing a social game, donating to charity or accessing premium content. SocialVibe enables engagements on the Web and on mobile, reaching a universe of more than 200 million socially-connected global consumers. Visit www.socialvibe.com or check out twitter.com/socialvibeads.

About Norwest Venture Partners (NVP)

Norwest Venture Partners (NVP) is a global venture and growth equity investment firm that manages more than $3.7 billion in capital. Headquartered in Palo Alto, California, NVP has subsidiaries in Mumbai and Bengaluru, India and Herzelia, Israel. NVP makes early to late stage venture and growth equity investments in U.S. and global companies across a wide range of sectors including: information technology, business services, financial services, technology enabled services and consumer. NVP has actively partnered with entrepreneurs to build great businesses for 50 years and has funded nearly 500 companies since inception. Notable and related investments include AdChina, Admeld, All Reach Media, Bookrenter, BranchOut, Brand.net, deCarta, Extole, Jigsaw (acquired by Salesforce.com), Jiwire, Kayak, Komli Media, Lashou, Lending Club, Lumosity, Mozes, myYearbook.com, ngmoco (acquired by DeNA), Playdom (acquired by The Walt Disney Company), Quikr, Rackspace (NYSE:RAX), Retrevo, RiseSmart, SideStep (acquired by Kayak), Snapfinger, Sojern, Sulekha, The Dealmap, TURN, WhaleShark Media (parent company of RetailMeNot) and Yatra.com. For more information, please visit www.nvp.com.

Photos/Multimedia Gallery Available: http://www.businesswire.com/cgi-bin/mmg.cgi?eid=6655393&lang=en

Contacts

SocialVibe
Molly Heintz, 310-657-9900 x401
Molly@socialvibe.com
or
Sparkpr
Meredith Obendorfer for SocialVibe
415-321-1882
Meredith@sparkpr.com

With SocialVibe's brand engagement platform, consumers spent almost 3 minutes with the Kia Motors Super Bowl engagement (pictured). (Photo: Business Wire)

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Release Summary

SocialVibe, a digital advertising technology company, announces a $20 million round of funding led by Norwest Venture Partners. SocialVibe delivers engagement advertising for the world's top brands.

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Contacts

SocialVibe
Molly Heintz, 310-657-9900 x401
Molly@socialvibe.com
or
Sparkpr
Meredith Obendorfer for SocialVibe
415-321-1882
Meredith@sparkpr.com