SocialVibe, which has developed “engagement ad units” used by a number of big-name sites and Facebook apps, has raised $20 million in a new round of funding. The company’s ad units are designed to drive users to interact with them; an ad unit used by Visa, for instance, included videos of Visa-sponsored athletes and then asks viewers to name the three people who have inspired them to reach their own goals, while one used by Yellowbook asks users to review local businesses but never makes them actually head to Yellowbook.com. SocialVibe distributes the ads on top sites like Pandora and the Huffington Post, as well as on Zynga’s network of Facebook games.
The funding round was led by new backer Norwest Venture Partners. Other participants included Redpoint Ventures, Jafco Ventures and Pinnacle Ventures. It brings the startup’s total backing to $32 million. More details are in the release.