This AI Startup Knows Exactly How Your Competitors Are Advertising

Daniel Singer

December 19, 2018

Should advertising be one size fits all? With the analytics, dynamic content platforms and data measuring infrastructure available to marketers today, the simple answer is no; serve the most relevant advertisements to the segment viewer. As a marketer this is key to effectively selling or communicating your product. But, as a consumer, this means you won’t see all the advertisements a particular company is communicating, all the products for sale, and the new offerings on the market, good or bad. This phenomenon of highly fragmented, segmented personalized ads campaigns is part of a larger strategy called dark marketing, and Israeli startup BrandTotal is leading the charge in identifying and reverse-engineering these strategies. By leveraging machine learning techniques to synthesize all the dark marketing analytics, BrandTotal  gives marketers and publishers the ultimate dashboard with a holistic view into their digital marketing landscape.

BrandTotal is an Artificial Intelligence (AI) startup based in Tel Aviv and NYC, that has developed a marketing platform built by cybersecurity experts from the Israeli Defense Force.  BrandTotal’s platform uses artificial intelligence to enable brand marketers to accurately assess and adjust their marketing efforts compared to the competitor landscape by a multitude of variables, such as video segment spending, organic versus sponsored advertisement effectiveness, and brand mentions in audio and textual data. The BrandTotal platform is the solution to the Dark Marketing era, where all-encompassing marketing activities have been clouded and covered to tactically target and segment their messages to virtually any audience they choose.

“Our utilization of artificial intelligence and machine learning is crucial toward our data collection efforts,” said Alon Leibovich, Co-Founder and CEO of BrandTotal. “We benefit greatly from the diverse backgrounds of our co-founders, who served in the Israeli Intelligence Corps, bringing military grade cyber security best practices into the marketing atmosphere. When I first presented Amir and Omer with the problem facing marketers today – lack of visibility into their competitive landscape – I thought we were trying to solve a problem of strategy, however they immediately identified this blindspot as an intelligence problem, and the solution is achievable through AI. Additionally, our platform is comprised of AI that paress and makes sense of the data we collect. Our goal is to serve marketers with focused, actionable insights” explained Leibovich.

BrandTotal’s Agile Marketing Intelligence Platform gives marketers to visibility to discover marketing threats and opportunities in real time. The concept of Dark Marketing is employed far and wide already by brands and advertisers. In fact, 85% of Facebook sponsored posts are user targeted, highly fragmented and segmented dark posts which comprise a larger strategy called Dark Marketing. You may have heard of dark marketing through the alleged interference by Russia in the 2016 U.S. Presidential election, where voters have been said to have been drastically influenced by hyper targeted advertisements via Facebook. The suggestive ads were displayed to users that showed signs, behaviors and demographics of a certain political view/region that would be more susceptible to being influenced to vote in a certain direction.  

BrandTotal was founded in May 2016 by high school buddies Alon Leibovich, Omer Ramote and Amir Leshman. Leshman, a graduate of IDF military unit 8200, is a cybersecurity expert, having worked as a software team leader at Aternity (acquired by Riverbed for $70 million in 2016) and CheckPoint Software Technologies. Ramote, an alumni of military unit 8100, is an AI expert with experience in data science at Yeloha and Generaytor. Leibovich mastered in psychology and specialized in brand strategy at Mccann, driving marketing campaigns for companies like Unilever and Ikea. The team converged to corner digital marketing with secrets and techniques of cyber security, presented in a digestible format for the enterprise audience.

The startup’s purpose was originally conceived when Leibovich realized the onset of dark marketing, a work colleague noticed a competitor advertisement, eating his employers market share of a particular product, exclusively on their child’s personal computer. With the realization that advertisements are becoming targeted, segmented and fragmented, Leibovich saw the opportunity to create a competitive intelligence dashboard for brands to understand the landscape of their competitors efforts in marketing.

The startup employs deep learning, computer vision and natural language processing to create predictions for brand consolidation, campaign aggregation and signal detection. Once they collect an advertisement, they use image processing, sentiment analysis and proximity analysis to decipher the true message that the advertisement communicates. For instance, if they see a creative advertisement on Facebook, Youtube and Instagram, they infer the probability if the efforts are apart of a larger competitor campaign. They also use signal detection to reverse engineer competitor marketing strategies in real time.

Although the key theme throughout BrandTotal’s offering is agility: being able to utilize data to make decisions in real time, as opposed to in hindsight.

The startup has recently raised their A round of $6 million and has offices in Israel and New York for a combined staff of 25 (hiring three more). They recently joined Oracle’s cloud accelerator, a six month partnership, as well as announced a partnership with Microsoft to integrate into the Microsoft Dynamic 365 flagship product. They also were recently handpicked out of 400 startups to be featured in the Morgan Stanley CTO Summit, a prestigious technology conference dedicated to startups. Evidently, the startup is well-equipped and aspires to become the go-to dashboard of competitive intelligence for brand marketing, if you can afford their price tag – ranging $10,000 to seven figure sums.

The digital marketing landscape indeed is becoming hyper targeted and convoluted. As an observer or marketer with skin in the game, you’ll need a platform tool like BrandTotal’s to make sense of it all and operate faster than your competitor.

Series B

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