Audience analytics firm Quantcast has raised a large $27.5 million third round led by Cisco (NSDQ: CSCO). The company will use the proceeds to support its targeted ad initiative, the six-month-old Quantcast Media Program. Polaris Venture Partners co-led the round, increasing its ownership position in the company and previous investors Founders Fund and Revolution Ventures also participated. With any number of analytics providers promising advertisers and marketers greater detail about their ROI, Quantcast’s goal is to establish a platform that will let its clients measure, organize, buy and sell real-time audiences. In a statement, Konrad Feldman (pictured), Quantcast’s co-founder and CEO, tied the investment to all the changes around the way media and advertising are measured, customized and delivered, from TV set-top boxes to the desktop PC and mobile phone. The implication of Feldman’s statement is that Quantcast can be the one to lower the barriers between those various formats to have a true cross-platform targeting of consumers.
Cisco’s involvement reflects the same desire that spurred Adobe (NSDQ: ADBE) to purchase audience researcher Omniture (NSDQ: OMTR) for $1.8 billion back in September: that is, to extend its ability to match its content delivery systems to advertising in one end-to-end service.
So far, the ability to extend the kind of ad targeting done online to TV set-top boxes has remained small (as in the case of Google (NSDQ: GOOG) TV Ads) or been put on hold (as in the case of Canoe Ventures), more and more companies are vying to be the standard the industry turns to. Quantcast has certainly evolved rapidly over the past few years and it’s as well-positioned as any of the other audience researchers to make some significant strides in the space.