Chango Adds $12M, Launches Site Retargeting to Build Out Advertising Platform

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For advertisers looking to reach their audience online, search and display advertising have traditionally been the most popular ways to run a campaign. Increasingly retargeted advertising has gained popularity, since it lets companies target people after they leave their website, or after they perform a specific search online. One of the companies leading the retargeted advertising charge is Toronto-based Chango, which announced today that it has added $12 million in funding from existing investors iNovia Capital, Rho Canada Ventures, Metamorphic Ventures, Mantella Venture Partners and Extreme Venture Partners.

Chango was founded in 2008, and to date has focused mostly on search retargeting, which is different from regular site retargeting because it doesn’t target people who have visited a company’s website, but rather who have searched for keywords on a search engine. As part of today’s funding announcement, the company is also officially launching their Programmatic Site Retargeting (PSR) product to take on other site retargeting tools like Google Remarketing, ReTargeter and AdRoll.

Founder Chris Sukornyk said the company will be using the round of funding for hiring, with over 50 open positions at the company’s offices in New York, Toronto, London, Chicago, San Francisco and Los Angeles, as well as for opening more global offices in Detroit, Chicago, and London. “We’re just at that stage now where it’s really about growth,” he said in an interview. “What you’re starting to see by this release is that we’re branching out. Chango is very much known in the market for search retargeting…but we always set out to do much more. So I think what you’ll see in the coming months, kicking off with this release, is that we’ll be launching more solutions.”

Chango’s existing search retargeting platform Chango Madison is being used by 55 of the top 500 online retailers, in industries including finance, travel, automotive, and entertainment. It’s a data management and media buying platform that lets advertisers run real-time data-driven campaigns, according to Sukornyk. While they’ve focused on search retargeting to date, he said they ultimately want the platform to be a full suite for advertisers, and with the new site retargeting product advertisers can target people who have searched for a certain keyword on a search engine, but also target visitors to their website as they browse the web.

Sukornyk said they’ve been testing the site retargeting solution with their existing clients, and gave the example of one client who found that visitors who came to their website via Pinterest were more likely to convert. They developed custom creative that emulated the visual style of Pinterest, adding the option to Pin an item within the ad, to target those users after they left that company’s site. “Site retargeting has been around for a while, so when we go to market with something we want to make sure it’s very different and it’s a perfect example of something that’s been out there but is still starting to evolve,” he said.

For companies looking to run retargeted advertising campaigns, there are several options on the market, from Google’s Remarketing product to companies like AdRoll and ReTargeter. Those companies are also experimenting with new products like mobile retargeting and CRM retargeting, which would retarget users based on their email address. There’s also Drawbridge, which launched last week to do cross-platform retargeted advertising, meaning that a user would browse a site on their desktop, and would see retargeted ads when they moved to their mobile or tablet device.

While Sukornyk said his company does compete with those solutions, their goal is to be a full-service media solution for advertisers, rather than focusing on one niche like site retargeting. “We really want to be a full end-to-end solution, and retargeting is just one of the things you can do with the platform,” he said, adding that he views platforms like AppNexus as his biggest competitors.

Chango has been growing quickly, with 600 percent year over year revenue growth for the past two years. Sukornyk said in addition to hiring, they’re also looking to expand into new industries like automotive. With advertisers increasingly looking to retargeted advertising to re-engage their website visitors or find new customers, Chango is well-positioned to take advantage of the trend. Becoming a full suite of advertising solutions will help them avoid the potential challenges associated with retargeted advertising, like the Do Not Track browser tool that lets consumers block advertisers from tracking their online activity, and which is now the default setting in Internet Explorer 10.

 

Erin Bury

Erin Bury

Erin has covered startups and technology for over three years in publications including Sprouter Weekly, The Globe and Mail, Business Insider, Mashable, and VentureBeat. She also writes a regular startup column for the Financial Post, and is a technology expert on CTV News Channel. Before BetaKit Erin worked as Director of Content & Communications at Sprouter from its launch in 2009 until its acquisition by Postmedia Network Inc. She was recently named one of Marketing Magazine's 30 Under 30 in 2012.

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