MadHive Is Going Shopping For Measurement Tech With $300 Million Investment From Goldman Sachs

Connected TV is abuzz with growth.

MadHive, the CTV ad buying platform, announced a $300 million investment from Goldman Sachs on Tuesday. This marks a massive influx of capital, more than twice the $125 million in revenue the company brought in last year.

While it isn’t disclosing its official valuation, it’s “approaching $1 billion,” company CEO Spencer Potts told AdExchanger.

MadHive works primarily with local and national TV advertisers moving budgets into CTV with real-time programmatic bidding. Its platform includes a DSP and a device graph with viewership information such as automatic content recognition from Inscape and geolocation data based on ZIP codes. Advertisers can match their own first-party data with MadHive’s device graph to create and target hyperlocal audiences.

And MadHive’s infrastructure is at a scale that required it to make a $100 million infrastructure investment in Google Cloud in 2021 for machine learning tech that automatically moves budgets into higher-performing ad placements.

This latest investment from Goldman Sachs is “adding more oxygen” to its current growth plans, Potts said.

With its cash in hand, MadHive is turning its attention to measurement and attribution. If it can buy tech to make programmatic CTV more measurable, marketers will increase their spend.

To that end, MadHive will expand its executive-level management. The new hires will identify companies that might make lucrative acquisition targets for measurement and attribution tech. MadHive also wants to attract more programmers and direct-to-consumer (DTC) advertisers as clients.

Weathering measurement

Speedy measurement reporting is something advertisers are actively looking for in programmatic partners to justify their spend. If advertisers can identify which networks are performing better against a target audience, for example, then they can move dollars around accordingly to maximize return on ad spend (RoAS) throughout a campaign’s run time.

TV advertisers are also looking for new ways to provide attribution, a historic challenge when consumers who act based on a TV ad typically do so on a second device or in a store.

Although MadHive didn’t name names, Potts said it’s considering companies that can bring measurement and attribution data into its tech stack – including in-store sales, online conversions, app downloads and foot traffic – as potential acquisition targets.

MadHive also wants to position itself closer to the sell side. The company already works with some major programmers to create inventory packages for private marketplaces, but most of its clients are advertisers, Potts said.

However, the same measurement improvements that maximize RoAS for advertisers would also maximize inventory yield for publishers, which MadHive hopes will incentivize sellers to share more information about inventory pricing ahead of auctions.

Hitting the shops

Speaking of measurement, MadHive also plans to focus more on ecommerce and DTC advertisers next year.

There isn’t too much of an overlap between CTV and retail media right now, with less than 15% of spend predicted to be on CTV next year, according to Insider analyst Max Willens.

Why? Because both channels are known for their measurement problems.

DTC advertisers are fed up with the lack of measurement they’re getting from retail media networks, so they’re more likely to invest in direct-response channels such as social media as opposed to CTV, which also suffers from measurement that’s less than reliable. Both CTV and retail media are rife with walled gardens that keep first-party data under wraps, stalling interoperability.

But if MadHive can make its measurement as quick and granular as its real-time bidding, then it can expect more demand from DTC advertisers.

“If we can make our measurement reporting as precise as our real-time bidding, then we can [allow] advertisers to move budgets in real time to hit a [particular] KPI,” Potts said. For reference, MadHive’s platform processes 17 to 20 million queries per second.

Potts noted the company has already seen more interest from DTC advertisers since it expanded its sales team to include former Hulu and Roku sales exec Kristin Wnuk earlier this year and Pinterest and Google vet Jon Kaplan last month.

By 2024, Potts said, MadHive’s platform will be more measurable, more efficient and, presumably, may include at least one new acquisition to address measurement or attribution.

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