Wunderkind Raises $76M As Marketing Faces A Reckoning

Wunderkind Raises $76M As Marketing Faces A Reckoning


Technology has gotten so good at targeting ads that people regularly think their phones are listening in on them.

Wunderkind, the New York-based marketing startup, announced on Thursday it raised $76 million in Series C funding, TechCrunch reported. Neuberger Berman led the round, bringing total funding to the company to $151.9 million per Crunchbase data.

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Formerly known as BounceX, Wunderkind started in 2010 to better find niche consumers and market to them at scale. The company promises customers it can increase page views, convert readers into subscribers and generate more e-commerce revenue through its data-capturing and analytics services. The company knows when a viewer has stopped reading, watching or otherwise engaging with an ad. 

Wunderkind has worked with brands like fast-fashion retailer Forever 21, media group Refinery29 and cosmetics company Clarins.

A changing world

Behavioral marketing strategies like the ones Wunderkind employs — triangulating customers based on a spat of information about people’s interests, age and location (among other things) — is a popular strategy for brands. If you’ve ever been inundated with pet food ads after befriending your new cat-owning roommate, you’ve certainly been the unintended victim of behavioral marketing. (No? Just me?)

But behavioral marketing, however popular, has been scrambling lately. Meta and other social media platforms have significantly increased the cost of advertising after the direct-to-consumer marketing boom. Apple has made it easier for users to opt out of data tracking on apps. 

In addition, the European Union’s data privacy and protection law, known as GDPR, enforces sizable fees to companies that use “invasive” data mining. A lot of behavioral marketing tactics commonly deployed in the U.S. won’t fly in Europe. 

Marketing tactics will have to involve getting active consent from users to mine their data, as well as relying less on automation. Perhaps the future will move away from behavioral marketing and more toward contextual marketing — if you’re watching a video about cooking, you may be served cookware-related ads. 

That means brands are often stuck paying more money to target potential customers while being less informed about who those customers actually are. And companies like Wunderkind will have to adapt to being just as effective without being able to rely on cookies or automation. 

Illustration: Dom Guzman


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