Right-time, right-place delivery of ads is an ideal as old as advertising itself. But today's digital ad ecosystem, despite billions in investment and adspend, kind of sucks at it—as anyone who's experienced incessant retargeting for a pair of shoes they bought a week ago can attest.
A company called SilverPush has a couple of real-time, tech-powered spins on addressing the right-time, right-place (RTRP?) problem, and it is enjoying an expansion of territory and client activity. Since late 2017, SilverPush has opened for business in Indonesia, Thailand, Malaysia, the Philippines and Vietnam. It's also active in India (where it was founded) and Singapore (now its international HQ) as well as a few markets in Africa and the Middle East. As of today, the company adds Hong Kong to that list.
In December, SilverPush got US$5 million in series B funding from FreakOut Holdings. The company claims to have doubled its business in the last year, with international markets accounting for nearly 30% of overall revenue, a figure expected to reach 50% in 2019. Clients onboard in Southeast Asia include Ford, Nestle, Coca-Cola and Samsung.
SilverPush has two core offerings in the realm of improving brands' ability to serve ads in context. The first is a TV-to-digital sync product, which allows brands to simultaneously hit consumers with TV ads and related digital ads on the phones that they no doubt have their noses buried in even though the TV is on. SilverPush is far from alone in this space. Competitors include TVadSync, TVTY and Impulse Screen Media. But Silverpush has found some success, and awards, with this product in APAC (the work shown below won a bronze in the Warc Media 100, for example).
Far more interesting is a newer product called Mirrors, introduced in December. Mirrors uses AI to analyse massive troves of video content in order to identify moments that brands can then target. Deployed on the servers of a streaming-video service, Mirrors can digest that service's library, identifying faces, logos or objects, as well as emotional moments.
"It detects the different contexts that the brand wants us to detect, and then helps to trigger a relevant message on the user's device where the user is watching that content," Kartik Mehta, the company's chief revenue officer, told Campaign Asia-Pacific. "If a brand comes to us and says, 'Every time there is a "cheers" or a high-five moment that happens in any kind of video content, I want to be present', then we are effectively able to do that."
This, Mehta said, gets around the essential problem with online advertising, which is that brands currently rely on behavioural signals from the user's past online activity. Ancient history, in internet terms.
"Whereas with this, it's real time, when it happens, right in front of you," he said. "What the user is watching is something that he's interested in, and if he's interested in it, then brands have to be present at that particular moment so that users can relate to why the brand is talking to me now, and not talking to me tomorrow or the day after."
This is the difference between seeing an ad for a cheap flight while you're watching a travel show, versus a few days after you've already booked a trip via a different vendor, Mehta said.
Starting at the 1:34 mark in the SilverPush promotional video below, the company touts some other examples. A video showing Ronaldo scoring a goal triggers an ad from a company that uses him as an ambassador. Advertising for Vans shows up as a pair of the brand's shoes appears in Sean Penn's hands in the 1982 film Fast Times at Ridgement High.
Mehta doesn't see a direct competitor for Mirrors at the moment. "We have done our own research and we haven't found a company that's doing contextual real-time detection on video," he said. "There are a few that do it on text and images, but none on video in real-time." (Campaign has reported on a company called Mirriad, which uses similar means, but to a very different end; see "The actors in this scene didn't see the Knorr ad, but viewers will".)
What's next for SilverPush in APAC? Mehta said the company will be looking at expansion to Australia next. It is also working on APIs (application programming interfaces) so that performance data could be fed directly into brands' central dashboards.