Kim Goh, Co-lead Investor and Rick Braddock, Executive Chairman and Lead Investor
Nearly 80 years ago, the first video advertisement appeared on television sets all across the country. It was a simple 9-second clip for Bulova, containing a still logo on the screen and a striking yet succinct voice declaring, "America Runs on Bulova Time!" For a while, that was all adverts were—a direct successor to ad posters, but with a voice-over to match the moving imagery.
Fast forward to today, and looking ahead, the day isn't far off when ads on websites and social media outlets will be technically different from the way we've always known them. While the primary purpose of ads remains the same—to sell—unlike the ad formats for TV sets of yesteryears, modern ads have to stand out from a competitive perspective. In today's digital age, advertising channels are saturating the market. Hence, advertisements need to reach out creatively and efficiently to grab users' attention.
What might be the next stepping stone in the evolution of ads? They are, after all, just ads. Or are they?
That is the perception that VideoStorm is about to change.
As the first digital marketing solution which transforms passive video ad content into a truly interactive, engaging experience, the VideoStorm solution by Linkstorm closes the gap between advertisement and sales. The solution also offers market-leading data analytics capabilities that help understand viewer behaviors and patterns and fine-tune the ad's efficacy for future iterations.
The VideoStorm Creative Unit
VideoStorm offers 25 or more easy-to-understand clickable menu choices through a cascading user interface. "Our company philosophy is that if you simply let the consumer choose where to go, on their own, they will find what they were looking for," states Rick Braddock, Executive Chairman and lead investor. Rick has a long history of disruptive innovation in industries ranging from Credit Cards (as President of Citibank N.A.) to Travel (as the CEO who took Priceline public) to Food Delivery (as CEO of FreshDirect). Instead of a traditional, passive TV commercial experience, VideoStorm makes ads genuinely interactive. The consumer can browse a wealth of brand content right upfront within the ad (including multiple additional videos beyond the original video) and then choose among numerous click-through destinations to go directly to the specific information or transaction they want. They can even add to their shopping cart right upfront within the ad and then check out on the advertiser's website with the shopping cart already filled in. The company calls this feature "Ad-to-Cart" (pun intended).
For example, suppose someone is watching an ad about a messy kitchen that can be cleaned fast by, say, P&G's cleaning products. In that case, the ad will contain a small menu icon in the top left corner that the viewer can click from any intelligent device/computer that they are currently using.
The icon would then expand to reveal multiple brands. If the consumer proceeds down the branch for any single brand, this top video then switches to a brand-specific video and simultaneously brings the consumer down to the level of the multiple products within that brand. The consumer can then choose to either click the products shown to look at their individual info or buy the product right then and there. The ad can also redirect the consumer to an e-commerce or retailer site. In addition, the consumer can use a TV remote to navigate VideoStorm's ad menu on TV sets.
Our company philosophy is that if you let the consumer choose where to go, on their own, they will find what they were looking for
"VideoStorm was born of the fact that digital advertising in its current form isn't working the way we envisioned it and is underperforming in every measurement, most importantly ROI," states Executive Chairman Rick Braddock. "VideoStorm is the creative-led, data-fed digital marketing solution that transforms passive ‘video ad content’ into a truly interactive experience. It also captures a wealth of highly-detailed, self-declared, 1st-party data revealing the consumer’s interests and intentions. It is this data-capture capability that boosts VS from being not only a superior creative unit but a true digital marketing platform. In short, the platform engages the consumers with creativity, informs through data, and drives sales."
"Our solution is the future of digital marketing," says Braddock, and it is difficult to see how it isn't. After all, we show creative and innovative ads across mobile devices and the new breeds of smart TVs. Smart ads deserve smart tags to boost productivity. And VideoStorm hits the bull's eye in that context. The company has had dozens of strict A/B tests against virtually every other type of ad vendor. As a result, these ads perform up to 17 times better in every measure. Beyond the sunk cost of the media placements, these ads yield a return on investments as high as $70 to $1.
"Although our technology excels in display ads, the video market was accelerating with the advent of cord-cutting and the migration of television from broadcast and cable to the internet-connected TV. We saw that trend on the horizon, and our technology platform enabled us to leapfrog into the video space. We realized the enormous potential to transform these traditionally passive ads into proactive, interactive, engaging, and high-yielding ads," says David Sidman, founder and inventor. Furthermore, the platform is heavily patent-protected, with 13 patents already granted with more than 35 still pending.
The VideoStorm Data Platform
Another strong suit of VideoStorm is its unique Data Platform. The customer's self-directed purchasing journey while interacting with the ads and products on a click-by-click basis yields a panoply of behavioral details and engagement metrics. For instance, an ad may contain 25-plus individual clickable menu choices; VideoStorm can track which of those menu choices the user clicked on, which branches of the menu they engaged with (and for how long), and on which device(s).
Craig Ellish, EVP of Sales & Strategy and David Sidman, Founder
It can then cross-reference that information with what the user subsequently purchased, narrowing down their true interests and behavior.
For any advertiser looking to build and control its customer database, it can circumvent its retailers' walled gardens, especially those of "Big Tech" (Amazon/Facebook/Google). VideoStorm's data-capture mechanism provides at least two orders of magnitude more granular, reliable, valuable, and precise data than any other ad-based tracking mechanism. In addition, because the data is 1st-party and self-declared, it does not require any third-party cookies which are sun-setting quickly anyway.
Our solution is the future of digital marketing: literally "the next-generation TV commercial
To sum up, VideoStorm's data-capture capability with a better-performing and multi-faceted creative ad unit transforms conventional one-way, passive advertising into two-way, personalized, interactive digital marketing.
Democratizing Next-Gen Advertising
Adopting and implementing VideoStorm is easy for the clients. The company helps clients design and build their ad campaigns according to their goals and outcomes. Where appropriate, VideoStorm will use any existing creative assets that the client might already have, such as videos or product images, to turn around a design within 24 to 48 hours.
The refining, revising, and approval process may then go back and forth for the next couple of days. And once the design is approved, VideoStorm will add in and integrate any third-party tracking assets the client might want. When completed, the company will hand the client an ad tag that they can deploy the same way as they have customarily deployed ad tags throughout all ad exchanges, DSPs, and SSPs. This process works the same with direct buys on specific publisher sites, and works responsively across all mobile devices.
Scripting the Future of Ad Delivery
The company is currently working toward offering a self-service platform where ad agencies and advertisers can generate and configure the smart ads themselves. In parallel, VideoStorm will also deploy its product into the connected TV space, estimated in the U.S. alone to surpass $4 billion in 2021 and $6 billion in 2022. As cord-cutting accelerates and connected TV proliferates, streaming sites like NBC's Peacock and Discovery+ will be prime candidates to adopt the next-generation TV commercials.
VideoStorm's partnership with NBC and several others will shift the center of gravity in the advertising industry.
The future looks bright for VideoStorm.