2012 in review at Brainient

It’s that time of the year again, to look back and marvel at how quickly another year has passed. And as the hard-core numbers buff that I am, I thought it would be a good idea to share some Brainient numbers that make me proud of what our small team has managed to pull off this year.

  • We ran between 50 and 75 campaigns per month for our clients. That’s up from 100 campaigns for the whole of last year.
  • We went from working with a handful of customers to serving 50+ agencies, brands or publishers including amazing brands like ASOS, Disney and Coca-Cola.
  • The average engagement rate for our interactive video ads was 8.7%, which is 8 times higher than the average click-through rate on a non-interactive video ad.
  • The total time spent with our interactive units across all our campaigns (so far) is 3622w 2d 2h 54m 15s. That’s about 75 years of free, earned media for our clients. You do the math…
  • We’ve doubled the size of our team from 12 people to 25.

It’s been a busy, challenging and amazing year on all accounts. I’m grateful to my team, clients, board, investors and partners for, well, being so awesome. I can’t wait to see what next year has in store.

Is mobile fit for brand advertisers?

By now, I’m presuming that many of you have seen this year’s Mary Meeker presentation on the state of technology, digital and the world. If you haven’t, do it now. It is breathtaking. Unsurprisingly, according to Meeker 2013 will be the year when the smartphone + tablet installed base will exceed desktops + laptops.

Also, it seems that 10% of the total media consumption time is now on mobile & tablets, but just 1% of ad spend is going into mobile. That means 9 out of 10 times we’re consuming media on a mobile, there’s no ad. So over the past few days I’ve been looking at campaign data we have at Brainient in order to see whether this discrepancy exists because mobile doesn’t perform or because it’s just a new medium and it takes time for advertisers to ramp up their spends across mobile.

According to a campaign that ran in Nov + Dec across a multitude of media owners online and on mobile, here are the brand stats that we’ve collected:

Mobile: 63.3% engagement rate, 1.4 engagements / user, 19.8% video completion rateOnline: 9.5% engagement rate, 2.7 engagements / user, 33.3% video completion rate

Now, this data is very interesting. Engagement rate is 6 times hire on mobile than online (touch, touch, anyone?), but there are less engagements per user and less viewers watching the entire video (probably because videos are slow to load over 3G). If the videos would load faster, I’m certain that completion rates would increase as well so as LTE / 4G technology will be released by operators in 2013, completion rates should increase. Combined with the amazing engagement rates we’re already seeing, it will make mobile the perfect medium for delivering brand-centric interactive video campaigns. Together with the fact that we’ll finally have the same number of mobiles + tablets as desktops + laptops, I think it’s quite obvious where advertisers should be putting their money next year.

Brainient is hiring

Following up on yesterday’s post, I’d like to write about the positions we have open at Brainient. We’re growing heavily so we need more brain power to keep our clients happy. So if you’re Awesome, love technology, video and advertising – drop us a note. We’re also offering a $500 referral bonus to those who recommend candidates that we end up hiring.

Business Development Manager (London, UK) – build up our publishers network for our BrainSocial product.

VP of Engineering (Bucharest, Romania) – manage our R&D team

Senior Web Developer (Bucharest, Romania) – work together with the rest of the team on frontend / backend stuff for BrainRolls & BrainSocial

Big Data Engineer (Bucharest, Romania) – create algorithms that power the deliver and reporting of our BrainSocial campaigns

QA Manager (Bucharest, Romania) – keep the developers on their toes and make sure we deliver beautiful, bug-free apps

To apply, simply email me your CV (emi at brainient dot com) and we’ll take it from there.

It’s a Brainient New Year

As you may have seen, we’ve raised $1.8M from a few fantastic investors, backers of companies like DataXu, AdSafe Media and RevenueMax. I’m thrilled and very excited, because I think 2012 will be the year advertisers start using video for more than just reach and eyeballs.

My thesis around video is quite simple: all online advertising mediums besides video (search, social, display) are highly targeted, personalised and interactive. Even more, they’re all paid on performance (most often on a CPC). Video is still in the only advertising medium still paid on a CPM, very often poorly targeted, with no personalisation and no interactivity. That’s why we created Brainient. Video should be highly targeted, personalised, interactive and paid on performance – and we want to be the company to do it.

In order to deliver on this thesis, we created two products:

BrainRolls – an interactive video platform aimed at brand advertisers looking for viewer engagement rather than sales. It makes pre-rolls interactive enabling advertisers to engage their viewers. For example, BMW can enable viewers to book a test-drive, download a brochure or find near-by branches, right within the video ad. Engagement rates go up to 15%, which makes our advertisers really happy.

BrainAds – the first personalised video retargeting platform in the world, aimed at Direct Response advertisers looking to generate sales. Historically, video advertising has been all about reach and brand awareness. However, thanks to retargeting technology, RTB (real-time bidding) platforms and dynamic video processing algorithms, advertisers can now generate sales and build brand awareness at the same time. For example, an advertiser like ASOS.com can now retarget people with a pre-roll showing them the products they looked at on the site, right within the actual pre-roll.

We’ll be using the new financing to expand our client services and technology teams in London and Bucharest, and open a new office in New York. I’m looking forward to working together with the new investors to make Brainient the leading company in its space.


The reason most businesses fail

Is that very, very often the founder / CEO of the company gets so involved in the day to day activities of the business that he (or she) forgets to stop, zoom out and think. Just think.

A couple of months ago I was talking to a friend who was saying how he’s gotten to the point where he can delegate absolutely everything he has to do. When I asked him what he does all day, he answered: I think. They’ll be breaking $1m in revenue this year, and it’s an 18mo old company. Full stop.

A short post

I’ve been on the road quite a bit lately: Prague, Dublin, San Francisco, LA and NYC in about 4 weeks. Many flights, meetings, sandwiches eaten on the road and one huge phone bill. Back in London now, grateful and happy that Brainient just won two fantastic awards: Best Video Startup in 2010 at The Europas and The Company of the Year at #SVC2C, together with our friends at GroupSpaces.

I think I’ll be quite busy in the weeks to come and won’t get a chance to blog, but I try to post interesting stuff on Twitter every now and then.