MediaPost: Zefr's Brand ID Suite Matches Up YouTube Users

by P.J. Bednarski

Until now, Zefr has mainly been in the business of helping brands find, protect and monetize rights online -- helping movie studios, music labels and TV networks, for example, find where their clips of their films are being used on YouTube.

It has built up a massive pile of VideoID data that tags YouTube and other videos. It says it tracks 31 billion video views a month.

As some YouTubers became bothered that Facebook seemed to be using their videos without permission, it was Zefr that was among a group of companies helping to find a solution.  

But only now has it taken all of that information, brushed it up  and created BrandID Suite, which it says will not only identify the right videos for brands to advertise in, but will present those ads at the right time to the right people. The new product visualizes, organizes and filters videos for advertisers -- no small feat for a site like YouTube where content is loaded at a ridiculous rate of something like 60 videos per minute.

Broadly speaking, lots of ad tech businesses (and YouTube itself) claim to do that sorting too, but perhaps not with the kind of heft Zefr brings. Its discovery engine sucks up 5.5 million YouTube videos every day. 

Once that data was used just to let brands know how they were being displayed on YouTube to help them figure out how to best get to its customers. Now it can be used to find the best, most relevant videos and place ads there, right on time.  

BrandID Suite uses its VideoID technology, separating YouTube videos into an incredible 7,000 segments and 128 packages. The result, Zefr co-founder and chief executive Zach James says, means, “If you’re online looking at Beamers (BMWs) you’re not going to get an ad inviting you to vacation in Peru.”  It’s the correct affluence demo, perhaps, but it’s the wrong time. 

In theory, ads will be directed with precision using Zefr’s data base. “We’re building a worldwide, multi-platform videograph,” he says, because Zefr is the major rights identification tech company for YouTube and that’s spilled over. As Facebook as its upped its video profile, Zefr will follow with BrandID Suite there, too. “There’s so much breadth in our in our data. That’s what give us the power to do it,” James says.

At an Advertising Week panel, “Every Second Counts: How ‘Moments’ Are Reshaping Marketing,” the topic was grabbing the consumer at just the right time. On that panel, Richard Raddon, Zefr’s other co-founder and chief executive, said marketers miss the fine tuning of consumer-watching.  “We’re sending signals all the time,” he said, and though audience targeting is massively popular, “nobody indexes on content.”  

That is something like what BrandID Suite attempting to do. Jordan Bitterman, chief strategy officer for Mindshare and a panelist, earlier told the Wall Street Journal that his firm is upping its involvement with Zefr. At a coffee break with James, he said its yearlong testing of Brand ID has produced startling results. “It works. It really works.”

Presuming it does, BrandID Suite is a product that is the result of paying attention to what customers tell you. James says it originally took its data to clients pitching a social listening service that would tell advertisers what their customers were otherwise doing on YouTube and what they were watching. Zefr discovered everybody was interested but nobody wanted to pay for it. “But they said, ‘Can we buy this data?' ” From that BrandID was born.

Read on: