iHeartMedia Invests in Unified Social

Unified Social has raised $30 million in a new round of funding led by iHeartMedia, formerly Clear Channel, the companies announced Thursday. Other investors in the latest round of funding include Advance Publications, Upfront Ventures, and the Foundry Group. Unified also tapped a $10 million line of credit at Silicon Valley Bank. The company raised $14 million in a previous round of funding in 2011.

The investment will enable Unified to expand its social media advertising platform, which collects data from a range of online sources in order to target consumers more effectively, as well as develop new products and bring them to new markets. Among other things, the company plans to extend its data collection to offline channels like broadcast media, feeding audience data into its social media ad targeting system.

The new investment builds on their existing strategic partnership, which included a smaller investment by iHeartMedia in the social media advertising platform. That deal gave iHeartMedia access to analytics and targeting based on data from Unified’s Social Operating Platform, while Unified added aggregated data about iHeartMedia’s audiences to its database.

The broadcast giant has been embracing digital technology to enable marketers to deliver ads in new and more efficient ways.

Back in April, iHeartMedia announced plans to launch a programmatic ad platform for its broadcast radio stations, which will allow advertisers and agencies to programmatically purchase ads across iHeartMedia’s 850-plus radio stations.

Unified’s client roster spans categories including consumer packaged goods, consumer technology, entertainment, financial services, and software, and includes companies like Toyota, Tesla and Lenovo.

The participation of Advance Publications in the latest round of funding comes close on the heels of its acquisition of 1010data for $500 million, planting the publisher’s flag in the “big data” arena. 1010data specializes in data collection and predictive analytics for consumer marketing in categories including financial services, retail, CPG, and telecoms, among others.

Erik Sass MediaPost