Advocado Ripens Platform to Boost Cross-Platform Ads

With Advocado, when TV ads run, they trigger search campaigns, increasing return on investment (Image credit: Advocado)

Advocado, a St Louis-based data and analytics company said it can not only measure the impact of TV advertising, but increase it by launching short-burst cross-platform campaigns as commercials air.

The name Advocado is a play on the notion that it can find that exact moment when an advertising opportunity is perfectly ripe, like the agonizingly brief interval between when an avocado is too hard and when it turns mushy.

Advocado said it has upgraded its platform, enabling new capabilities including analytics, attribution and advanced applications.

Advocado’s technology starts with the VEIL watermarking system used to identify when and where a client’s TV commercials actually run.

“Our primary idea was how do we use television signal data through the watermark to drive Google search campaigns,” said CEO Brian Handrigan. 

Handrigan said he thinks it funny that spent most of his career in digital adverting and that now “may life is helping to make linear TV a lot more relevant.”

The relevance gets a boost because Advocado uses the watermarks on its clients’ TV commercials as a trigger to start buying relevant Google keywords after the ad runs.

The product  is named Instant Actions with Advocado Activate. Instead of retargeting, Handrigan calls it pre-targeting. 

“We will boost the willingness to bid for two minutes,” Handrigan said, telling Google it will pay the top bid during those moments.

“So for that small window of time when that television ad has an impact on someone to go learn more, that advertisers is taking advantage of that massiveness. And at the end of that two minutes we roll the pricing back, so we don’t burn budget,” he said.

Before investing in its platform, Advocado tested the technology with one willing advertiser.

“We had a goal, could we in three weeks increase the click-through rates on a Google search campaign by 30% or more by doing this, which is pretty massive,” Handrigan said. “Google is pretty fine tuned. I should have known as a digital marketer that to look for more than 30% was insane.”

Working with a campaign that had been running for year with no more than an 1% or 2% move at any time, Advocado was able to increase the click rate by 34% in the first week. By the end of the third week of the three week trial, the click rate increased 98%--almost double.

When Advocado stopped running its test, the click rate dropped back to where it had been before.

”We had a very clear cause and effect and that was the original data that got us super excited about investing a lot of money to build this out,” Handrigan said.

Subsequent campaigns have also yielded impressive results. A campaign for a for-profit university nursing program increased the conversion rate by 37% and return on investment by 832%. For an auto dealer, ROI rose 11 times. And a health insurance company saw conversions rise 258%.

Handrigan noted that using Instant Actions doesn’t mean spending more money on search. Instead, budgets are being reallocated to the moment when more people are likely to search.

At the same time, using Instant Actions encouraged advertisers to spend more on TV.

“They say the more they did this, the more sales they got,” he said. “We had visibility into both their digital and their linear budgets and they both more of both. We like to say Advocado is a super fruit. When added to these campaigns both digital and TV win, and the cost per conversion actually goes down.

Advocado also offers clients data only subscription. In addition to VEIL, the company uses automated content recognition technology to measure competitive campaigns and has been ingesting closed-caption data to find keywords and gauge sentiment in programming.

In addition, it provides analytics and attribution models.

In the works is a next-generation attribution system based on machine learning.

“With the hyperbolic rise of data, media channels and unrealistic expectations, marketing leaders are under greater pressure than ever and finding it increasingly challenging to prove ROI,” Handrigan said. “Without a doubt, today’s advertisers, brands and CMOs require an advanced solution, and with the new enhancements to our platform, Advocado is uniquely positioned to help our customers execute their most successful campaigns and, importantly, make their mark in the industry.”

Jon Lafayette

Jon has been business editor of Broadcasting+Cable since 2010. He focuses on revenue-generating activities, including advertising and distribution, as well as executive intrigue and merger and acquisition activity. Just about any story is fair game, if a dollar sign can make its way into the article. Before B+C, Jon covered the industry for TVWeek, Cable World, Electronic Media, Advertising Age and The New York Post. A native New Yorker, Jon is hiding in plain sight in the suburbs of Chicago.