myThings, a provider of targeted advertising services, announced today that it has raised $6 million in its most recent round of funding led by Deutsche Telecom investing arm T-Venture to expand its research and development in Europe.
The company, which has offices in London, Paris, and Tel Aviv, specializes in ad “retargeting”. That means it provides advertisers with a learning algorithm that keeps track of which advertisements don’t work. Users are tagged with a “smart” cookie that keeps track of ads that don’t generate some meaningful throughput. That information is then shot back to a server that distributes ads. The server then no longer displays ads that didn’t generate any clicks.
Privacy nuts can rest easy, though. myThings says the algorithms only collect non-personal information and won’t lead to any kind of privacy snafus on the order of the Google Buzz fiasco. Though there are always privacy concerns when any type of information is collected, myThings’ method is similar to the same process that keeps users logged in to e-mail websites like GMail.
myThings is pretty popular in Europe, where its clients include Price Minister — one of the largest e-commerce sites in Europe and a strong competitor to Amazon.com — and a number of other retailers. The company says it has improved advertising throughput on those sites by up to 300 percent with its use of retargeting.
Retargeted advertising is becoming an increasingly popular method of generating relevant advertising for consumers. The throughput boost from using retargeted advertising is around 1,000 percent, according to data from comScore. That’s compared to about a 500 percent boost when targeting advertising based on specific audiences — which would involve collecting a whole lot more private information than retargeting needs.
myThings.com was, at one point, a web service that kept track of what users buy and the clutter of email that comes with it. Retailers uploaded purchase information directly to myThings, and consumers can then access information about the product through myThings’ web site. myThings CEO Benny Arbel decided the information and algorithms were better used to deliver better targeted advertising, and shifted the company’s direction as a result.
myThings had earlier raised $5 million in its second round of fundraising in 2008, and $8 million in its first institutional round in 2006. That brings the company’s total funding up to $19 million.