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$20 Million Funding for “Values Based” Ad Technology

Published on February 23, 2012

Values—be they patriotic, self-indulgent, philanthropic, conservative, liberal, green—are key to ad targeting, and ones that Resonate believes it can measure. Investors agree: Resonate has just announced $20 million Series B funding led by Revolution Growth, a private investment fund run by AOL veterans, including Co-Founder Steve Case, former Vice Chair Ted Leonsis and former President of AOL Interactive Donn Davis.

Resonate uses its Insights Driven Media platform to target ads to web users based not just on their web habits, but on what they value, and their offline priorities. It will use some of the $20 million to market a new product that it claims will enable marketers and advertisers to understand the values and beliefs that draw customers and voters online, with what it claims is "unprecedented precision."

Resonate’s approach uses opt-in large-scale survey research combined with opt-in browsing behavior at the respondent level (i.e. single source data). From this, Resonate was able to target some niche voter segments, such as:

  • independents who voted for Obama in 2008 and believe the most important issue when deciding whether to support a candidate is job creation
  • Fiscal moderates who are persuadable on a flat tax

In terms of product, it reveals such insights as baby boomers being 17% more likely to be "green consumers" than the populace at large. All of this data is available from pollsters, likely, but Resonate has the opt-in at-the-ready pool of consumers and voters in place, plus mechanisms for pre-, mid- and post-campaign polling.

This fills a need in campaign strategy, said Revolution Co-Founder Ted Leonsis. “Social media has changed how marketers listen to their customers, but Resonate is ready to deliver something that Twitter and Facebook cannot…: values-based insights into why consumers buy what they buy, and why voters back the candidates they support. Take it from someone who has been involved with online advertising since its creation: the potential to hand that understanding to campaign strategists and corporate CMOs – and make it actionable – is transformative.”

Leonsis went on to say that “Consumers are people, and understanding psychographics – what people are thinking and feeling and tailoring messages and campaigns to authentic values – is a breakthrough, differentiated idea.”

Resonate’s client list includes big-ticket brands like McDonald’s, Estee Lauder, Coca-Cola, Merck and Toyota. It was founded in 2008 to develop a model for reaching online audiences and connecting consumers with advertising that interests them on both politics and products.