Human Ventures Invests in Attention Measurement Business Adelaide

Tim Cross 07 June, 2022 

Adelaide, a measurement tech company specialising in attention measurement, today announced it has completed a new seed funding round led by Human Ventures, a venture capital firm which invests in firms innovating around human needs. The deal will see Joe Marchese, executive chairman at Human Ventures and previous president of advertising revenue for Fox Networks Group, join Adelaide’s board. The value of the funding was undisclosed, though reported by AdExchanger to be $7 million.

Adelaide is one of a number of businesses aiming to steer the industry away from counting raw numbers of impressions, towards metrics which indicate whether individuals actually paid attention to an or not. Adelaide specifically offers its own omnichannel attention-based metric AU (attention units). Unlike some others in the attention space, Adelaide doesn’t attempt to live-track whether users are paying attention to an ad out in the wild. Rather, it uses lab-based tests, alongside data about where an ad is showing, to gauge the opportunity of a placement to get a user’s attention.

“Properly valuing human attention has always been core to media’s evolution, and the entire industry is at an inflection point,” said Human Ventures’ Joe Marchese. “The attention economy is about every human’s most valuable, non-renewable resource: their time. That makes attention to every company’s employees, customers, and partners most valuable resource as well and in a market where everything is tightening, it has never been more important for advertisers to understand the quality of their media.”

This latest funding round follows a $2 million funding round last year, which included GroupM CEO Irwin Gotlieb, MediaLink CEO Michael Kassan, and former Nielsen president of US media Lynda Clarizio. Adelaide says the new funding will be used for product development, including efforts to make the AU metric available in demand and supply-side platforms (DSPs and SSPs). The funding will also be used to accelerate geographic expansion with new offices set to be opened in Chicago and Los Angeles.

Are you watching closely?

Adelaide’s funding comes at a time when interest in attention metrics from the agency side is on the rise. Last week Havas Media Group announced a new partnership with Lumen Research to create new tools for attention-based planning, buying, and measurement, and a number of other media agencies have said they’re experimenting with attention metrics.

For the time being, it looks like Adelaide is positioning its AU as a complement to the CPM rather than a replacement. The company says its vision is for the AU to replace viewability, as a “far more accurate measure that works outside of scrollable environments”.

But with both the buy and sell-side rethinking media measurement, driven by Nielsen’s issues in the US, there’s an opportunity for a metric like the AU to act as the currency in media buys.

“The future of the attention economy will require a new generation of transparency to capture attention measurement,” says Marc Guldimann, CEO and co-founder of Adelaide. “This capital will allow us to serve the needs of our agency and brand partners as we continue to refine AU to create the most precise metric to measure media quality.”

Adelaide is by no means the only company eyeing up the opportunity, though it has racked up an impressive array of partners including Mars, the NBA, Microsoft, Anheuser Busch, Coca-Cola, and Visa. Among its competitors is Amplified Intelligence, founded by Karen Nelson Field, professor of media innovation at the University of Adelaide and previously senior researcher at the Ehrenberg-Bass Institute. Nelson-Field is presumabley a familiar name to Adelaide, since the company is named for the city of Adelaide’s strength in evidence-based marketing.

But (the company) Adelaide’s philosophy seems to be that a rising tide lifts all boats. Marc Guldimann co-founded The Attention Council, an industry group which advocates for attention metrics, in 2019. And the Council’s members includes fellow attention measurement companies Amplified Intelligence, Lumen, and TVision.

And besides, Adelaide’s model, which doesn’t rely on a panel of users constantly being tracked, is fairly unique in the space. The question will be whether marketers are more convinced by Adelaide’s method of media quality ratings than its competitors’ live tracking of attention.

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About the Author:

Tim Cross is Assistant Editor at VideoWeek.
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