John McIntyre is the founder and CEO Sightly, a video advertising technology company that delivers local, personalized campaigns for brand advertisers and agencies.
Tell us a little about yourself. Describe your job, how long you’ve been doing it, and how you got into this field.
I am the founder and CEO of Sightly. With more than 16 years of senior management experience in digital media, internet marketing and telecommunications, I develop and manage the company’s strategy while overseeing day-to-day business operations.
Prior to starting Sightly, I founded and ran PixelFish, an award-winning internet video production company serving tens of thousands of small-to-mid-sized businesses and their marketing partners. Previously, I was co-founder and CEO of Affinity Internet, one of the largest online marketing and web hosting companies in the U.S., serving more than 200,000 local businesses.
As a serial entrepreneur, I enjoy starting and building technology companies. I also have a passion for video and have long appreciated its power to deliver messages and connect businesses and buyers. I believe that the technology we’re building at Sightly will fundamentally change how people view and interact with advertising — and how brands and their creative partners approach their markets.
What is Sightly?
Imagine that every commercial you see is created just for you, the device you’re watching it on, at the moment you’re watching it.
Sightly’s award-winning TargetView local video ad platform is making that vision a reality by enabling brands and agencies to dynamically personalize video ads and deliver hyper-local, micro-targeted campaigns across multiple screens through YouTube, Google, and other video, mobile, and social networks. As Google/YouTube's only video platform partner, we are integrated directly into YouTube giving us programmatic access to YouTube's TrueView inventory.
We are in the midst of a seismic shift from single-screen TV to multi-screen video viewing. Americans now watch a staggering 35 billion video ads each month, triple the 11 billion reported just 18 months ago.
But more than changing where audiences are watching, video is fundamentally changing how we advertise. It’s no longer just about demographics. It’s about peoples’ behaviors and locations, allowing business to reach their precise audience with the perfect message and the “holy grail” of sight, sound, and motion.
How can the marketing industry use Sightly to create better results for its agency or clients?
We have built our platform to help advertisers and their agencies take advantage of this massive market opportunity. First, TargetView enables national ad campaigns to be run at the local level, reaching target audiences where the cash register rings, boosting response rates by as much as 200% and eliminating the dollars that are wasted on over-wash.
In addition, our software reduces hours of effort to just minutes, making it scalable and affordable to deliver hundreds or thousands of hyper-local, micro-targeted campaigns.
For example, our automated video ad personalization enables an advertiser to dynamically generate unique ad versions for all of its locations. It also enables virtually unlimited A/B testing of personalized ad variables, creative permutations, offers and deals.
Our automated campaign management features simplify the complex processes of:
- Creating local video campaigns for hundreds or thousands of locations
- Building the scores of targeting groups required for each campaign
- Optimizing creative, audience targeting and spend continuously for best ROI.
This liberates advertisers and agencies from figuring out “how” to reach their audience and allows them to focus on the “what” of the brand message and promise, and the creativity required to connect most effectively with micro-targeted audiences.
What changes in your industry made you realize Sightly would fill a void?
First, the shift in the market from single TV screen to multi-screen video viewing, in large part driven by the explosive growth in the number of mobile smartphones, tablets, lightweight laptops, and connected TVs.
The number of unique video viewers in the U.S. alone now hovers around 190 million each month. Recently, the number of videos viewed in the U.S. in a single month surpassed 50 billion for the first time ever. And the volume of video ads viewed has kept pace with this growth. As I mentioned earlier, the monthly number averages around 30 billion in the U.S.
Second, the shift in advertising to programmatic, real-time bidding and buying indicates that more and more advertisers are starting to demand the control and transparency the technology can now provide them.
Third, next generation video ad technology is enabling greater and greater ad customization, which parallels the ever more precise audience targeting possible through data-driven networks like YouTube, as well as the continuous refinement and availability of third-party data, particularly purchase behaviors and location-specific personas, weather, events, etc.
Video remains the most powerful message medium and its growing prevalence on our multiple screens ensures that advertisers from the biggest brands to the smallest SMBs will want access to technology that enables them to engage with customers most effectively at the local — and eventually, the personal — level.
Describe 1-3 core features of your product?
Sightly’s TargetView platform has three key technologies:
- Our system automatically creates personalized ads by dynamically inserting what we call “localized” content such as address, phone number, maps, pictures, deals, and more. This personalized content has proven to boost response rates by as much as 200%.
- We’ve developed a “network of networks” reaching all screens with a single point access to video, display, social, and mobile ad networks that support video ads including YouTube as Google’s only video platform partner – giving us programmatic access to YouTube TrueView ad inventory – the largest and most effective inventory in the market.
- We’ve built an automated campaign management engine that supports advanced audience segmentation and campaign optimization. Our technology reduces what takes hours using today’s tools to mere minutes – making it scalable and affordable to run thousands of precise local, micro-targeted campaigns
Underlying all if this technology is our version of big data that fuels the engine and allows our system to know which creative and calls to action and which ad units on which screens and which networks are best for each permutation of the brand's target audience, delivering the highest performance and creating the greatest brand awareness and customer engagement for the dollar.
How do you see your industry evolving in the next few years?
We are poised for a revolution in creative advertising that fully embraces the technology we have built into TargetView. We can now deliver dynamically variable video ads tailored for thousands of locations and micro-audiences. Creative strategy and production need to catch up in order to fully realize the possibilities presented by the new medium.
Imagine again that every commercial you see is designed specifically for you on the device you’re watching, at that time you’re watching it, and how that level of relevancy will forever change how people view and interact with advertising.