The race is on for UK start-ups to transform the future of brand advertising and digital marketing. Advertising tech (AdTech) and Marketing tech (MarTech) are two powerful industries packed with innovative businesses making their mark.
Research by Gartner shows that, on average, marketing leaders in the UK and in North America spent 29% of their budget on MarTech in 2018. This was a rise of 7% on the spend in 2017. It’s expected that this increasing interest in these sectors will continue, as businesses continue their digital transformations.
Six UK start-ups worth watching
We’ve listed some UK start-ups who are already busy in these sectors. The businesses here highlight the changing needs of companies in every sector, as they strive to improve productivity and make the most out of their marketing spend.
- PPC Protect
This is a start-up that hones-in on a specific area: stamping out click fraud in PPC (pay-per-click) campaigns. Click fraud is when bots, click farms or competitors create fake impressions. This annihilates the advertiser’s Google Ads budget. In 2017, this kind of fraud cost advertisers an estimated $16 billion.
PPC Protect provides automated software that is designed to stop the click fraud and provide protection for future campaigns. When click fraud is detected, the software bans the IP address from accessing another ad. The company currently protects more than 35,000 Google Ads accounts.
This London based MarTech start-up uses machine learning and Artificial Intelligence (AI) to allow businesses to personalise their communications at a massive scale. Machine learning gains an understanding of the customer base and targets ad content. They work with BNP Paribas, Hello bank! Belgium and Tinkoff Bank, among others. The company secured £4 million in series A funding by February 2019.
This digital ad platform is designed to improve safety for children. It ensures child controls are in place on online content, including marketing and digital material. This allows kids to play games without seeing adult content. It’s already used by hundreds of companies aimed at children, including Lego, Hasbro, Disney and Mattel. The next step for the company is launching a social platform just for kids, called Popjam. It promises to be the home of only safe social content.
In 2018, the business announced a 75% increase in revenue, to $60 million. The start-up began in the UK but is now global.
This UK start-up works with media businesses to provide effective audience engagement solutions using interactive viewing experiences. Founded in 2016, Sceenic provides technology that allows companies to create sophisticated experiences for customers. Customers include eSports and BT Sport. So far, Sceenic has raised £210,000 in funding since launch.
London-based start-up Qubit is on the cusp of life beyond launch. It now has more than 260 employees and raised £40 million in Series C funding in February 2019. The funding is led by Goldman Sachs, and clients include the likes of TUI, Thomas Cook and Topshop.
Qubit focuses on web optimisation and personalised digital customer experiences across digital platforms. It’s a marketing hub platform and was designed by four ex-Google employees. Built on open-source software, it’s a sophisticated database with a simple, easy to use front end.
Another company crossing over from being a start-up to something more established, Unruly has more than 250 employees across 12 separate markets. It’s a video advertising platform promising content that will go viral. CEO Sarah Wood says: “Our mission is to deliver the most awesome social video campaigns on the planet, so this video advertising for brands. We don’t make the videos, but we make them famous.”
Unruly tools provided for advertisers include Activate, which is a programmatic video platform, an analytics suite for benchmarking and tracking, and ShareRank, a predictive tech algorithm that evaluates how shareable a video ad is before launch. Unruly has run campaigns for huge brands, including Guinness and Coca-Cola.
James Turner, Managing Director of Turner Little Limited says: “The explosion of interest in digital platforms for marketing and advertising is an exciting opportunity for UK start-ups. Now that it has become in the interests of just about every business to cut costs by streamlining their services using tech, we are seeing innovative and impressive start-ups acquiring vast amounts of funding and really making an impact.
“These sectors will continue to grow and are a strong example of the importance of UK start-ups and small businesses to the country’s economy. We have a wealth of talent and expertise, as well as hundreds of innovative, forward-thinking entrepreneurs who will take the UK forward into a positive space post-Brexit.”
About Turner Little
Founded in 1998 in Yorkshire, UK, Turner Little is a specialist UK and offshore company formation, banking and corporate services provider. Our services include company formation, UK and offshore banking, asset protection, credit correction, trademarking and trusts. Other services include Internet services, mail forwarding, wills and probate. Turner Little’s vision is to offer the best possible service, together with market leading products.