Travelers have few things in common. You can safely assume most travelers have a destination in mind and the financial means to reach it. But the differences end there.
While waiting for your next flight, look around at your fellow travelers and try to guess what travel persona they fit. Are the folks in Premium Economy returning from a family trip? Is there a young couple wearing backpacks and hardy walking shoes, who might later be making a connection to an international flight? Is the last guy in the boarding line traveling solo? (That’s me — I’d rather wait at the gate than on the plane!)
Everyone you see bought a ticket for the same flight. (Congratulations, United.) But what other travel-related products did they purchase for the trip? How were those products marketed and advertised? How were those ads targeted?
Persona-based targeting creates an advantage for travel marketers. With persona-based targeting, marketers infer what people like, and what they will respond to, based on the information people provide voluntarily via social channels. This data is then used to build relevant audience personas, such as “business travelers,” or “deal seekers.” As a result, brands minimize waste in campaigns by targeting the right ads to smartly segmented subgroups — or personas — with a high degree of precision.
Here’s how to use persona-based targeting in the context of travel marketing:
When designing a campaign around a travel persona, start by compiling audiences of travel-related influencers and brands.
For example, Starwood Hotels, which operates the St. Regis in Park City, Utah, could add people who like Virgin Airlines or Deer Valley Resort on Facebook, and who follow the Twitter and Pinterest accounts of Another Something, a travel and style blog that “assumes its readers to be smart and savvy,” and was “last seen scouting Chilean designers at Milan Design Week.”
Next, look at what keywords people are seeing and sharing in order to add additional context. What’s motivating their travel? Do they like Southwest Airlines and tweet about the hassle at the rental car agency, or are they posting collections of photos or videos of exotic locations? Use the context and insight from social channels to differentiate between business warrior and world adventurer personas, and craft offers accordingly.
You can also use content shared on social channels to identify in-market travel shoppers, or use social check-in activity to gain further insight into a persona. For example, Starwood Hotels could target world adventurers who have checked into any competing luxury resort or hotel property around the globe.
Here are three travel personas and how to target them:
Business travelers aren’t usually traveling to exotic destinations. They shop for efficiency and practical comfort. You’ll find business travelers following CEOs and startup leaders on Twitter and checking in at airline lounges on Foursquare.
World travelers like to document their explorations as they conquer their bucket list. You’ll find them creating Pinterest boards ahead of their trips, posting photos and videos to Instagram and Vine while they travel, or checking into off-the-beaten-path hotels and hostels.
Family vacationers often have to spend more time in the planning phase to meet the demands of traveling in a group. You’ll find them mostly on Twitter and Facebook, following airfare and hotel deal sites before travel and posting photos and updates during their trip.
By Jon Elvekrog
This article originally appeared in MediaPost on July 29, 2013.
August 13, 2013 - 3 months ago
Speculation is beginning about when and how Twitter will IPO, with CNBC, USA Today, and Forbes jumping into the fray.
140 Proof CEO Jon Elvekrog spoke to CNBC on the topic:
“I think the Twitter IPO’s going to be huge. Throw out everything you think out the window. It is going to be a blowout event for Twitter. There’s obviously a huge precendent set with Facebook and their IPO that happened a year ago…but I think Twitter’s in a very different trajectory as a company.”
Facebook’s stock ($FB) recently returned to its 2012 IPO price. Elvekrog said the unique environment of social is an advantage for marketers:
“Twitter in particular has blurred the lines between marketing and customer support and advertising, so an interaction might start out at a support activity and might turn into an actual sale, because it merges all those different functions together.”
And he predicted:
“If there’s one thing that for both Facebook and Twitter I would look towards, [is] if there’s an advertising solution they can call their own, something that’s unique to either Twitter or Facebook — in the same way that Google had their paid keyword search solution — that might be one of the [most promising] indicators [of long term success], who gets there first.”
Watch the entire CNBC interview with Jon Elvekrog on YouTube
August 13, 2013 - 3 months ago
In conversation with Erik Schatzker of Bloomberg Television at the World Economic Forum, Marissa Mayer identified interest graph technology as the next trend in personalization:
There’s the social graph, which is really important and very fundamental, but — what I’m talking about in terms of personalization — it will give way to the interest graph.
Other technology leaders like Facebook VC Sean Parker, Pinterest founder Ben Silbermann, and Twitter CEO Dick Costolo have extolled the the interest graph before. Mayer’s recent commentary underlines the importance of the interest graph currently has for all major technology companies.
Mayer went on to say (emphasis ours):
The interest graph is the set of things that I’m interested in. And if you know the set of things that I’m interested in, you know the set of things other people are interested in, you can create connections between people that aren’t just based on whether or not they went to the same school or worked in the same place, but are actually based on “are they interested in the same things?”
So, for one, we can create very powerful personalization technologies [with the interest graph] because we can see what other people who like the same things, are interested in the same things that you are, are doing and provide you the same information through things like collaborative filtering. But there’s also a very powerful social component there, because we can show you interests you may have in common with people you didn’t realize.
Watch Mayer’s entire comments on the interest graph:
July 29, 2013 - 4 months ago
Through time, human beings have endeavored to create increasingly accurate representations of the human form. What started with crude cave paintings and rough sculptures eventually matured into the stylized art of ancient Egypt, and evolved over time to ultimately reach a pinnacle with Leonardo da Vinci’s Vitruvian Man.
Persona targeting in advertising has evolved in a similar way. Just as developments in art were driven by improvements in technique and increased knowledge among practitioners, targeting improvements in advertising have been driven by technology, and expertise has accumulated over time that has enabled us to better describe our fellow man.
In the beginning, brands simply targeted ads based on location… with everything from flyers posted in the town square to the out-of-home ads and billboards we still see today. Advertisers fumbled for audiences based on neighborhood demographics and nearby businesses. This type of targeting is the equivalent of Paleolithic cave paintings: rough, raw, imprecise.
And then there is print media targeting, which is more akin to ancient Egyptian art: bold but lacking dimension. Advertisers plan print media buys by selecting publications and circulation geography.
Then came television, long the gold standard for advertising. TV advertising approximates the Byzantine art of the 1300s: fairly representative and aware of perspective, but still imprecise. In addition to targeting vectors like location and audience affinity, TV also allowed advertisers to target by time of day. Enter: Saturday morning ads for Cocoa Puffs and Count Chocula.
But because many different types of people watch the same shows, there are awkward gaps in TV’s ability to target. A multi-generational family of grandparents and kids watching Dad’s favorite sitcom see the same ad for muscle cars, wasting potential impressions.
As we each spin off mountains of data while Facebooking and tweeting, a new way of looking at targeted populations has emerged that is beginning to replace the cruder ways of persona targeting: the interest graph. Interest graph is comprised of publicly available information like self-declared interests; what people share (e.g., photos from a biking trip); who people follow; and what people say online, what they retweet and what they post. It also includes “feedback loop” information from what people actually respond to, such as receptiveness to a particular campaign, which then feeds back into the database.
Since the interest graph is an actually representation of who people are and what they like, it enables marketers to better match their offers and ads to people who will actually be interested in them. This means less wasted effort, better matching… and ultimately better ROI.
Here’s what this looks like in practice for a popular audience segment: auto enthusiasts.
The challenge for automotive brands is identifying people who are currently in the market for a new or used car and people, as well as those who are generally interested in auto topics and products, regardless of whether they are currently shopping.
Traditional targeting methods include out-of-home ads near auto dealerships, print ads in auto magazines or local phone books and mass-market television — all pretty rough ways at finding this audience. But with the interest graph, advertisers can hone in on just the people who have demonstrated interest in automotive topics by following brands like Ford and auto blogs like Jalopnik. They can look to see that the top geos for auto enthusiasts include Indianapolis, Columbus, Milwaukee, and that in addition to typical peak Internet use times, this audience is also active at 11:00 p.m. Central… and adjust their strategies accordingly.
As the above example shows, brand advertisers can now paint a more accurate picture of their audience and target their brand messages more precisely than ever before. With the interest graph, we have reached an evolutionary point in a persona targeting equivalent that rivals Leonardo da Vinci’s Vitruvian Man: the most accurate representation of humanity that has ever been available to marketers.
This article originally ran in MediaPost on July 15, 2013.
July 18, 2013 - 4 months ago
We’re proud to announce we’ve been chosen by AlwaysOn as one of the AlwaysOn Global 250 winners. Inclusion in the AlwaysOn Global 250 signifies leadership among peers and game-changing approaches and technologies that are likely to disrupt existing markets and entrenched players in the Global Silicon Valley.
Winners of the AlwaysOn Global 250 were specially selected by the AlwaysOn editorial team and industry experts spanning the globe based on a set of five criteria: innovation, market potential, commercialization, stakeholder value, and media buzz.
Some of our favorite companies, like the photo app Snapchat and developer payment company Stripe, were also selected. All the winners will be honored at AlwaysOn’s 11th annual Innovation Summit at the Computer History Museum on July 23rd, 2013.
“This year’s AlwaysOn Global 250 is seeing an unprecedented shift from desktop to mobile. Now, businesses are demanding even more robust, secure applications with which to run their operations—anytime, anywhere,” says Tony Perkins, founder and editor of AlwaysOn. “The Global Silicon Valley is rising to this challenge with unfettered enthusiasm. The companies on this year’s AlwaysOn Global 250 represent the highest-growth opportunities in today’s private company marketplace.”
“140 Proof’s Blended Interest Graph technology supports brands in a mobile first world,” said Jon Elvekrog, CEO of 140 Proof. “We’re honored to be named a Global 250 Winner.”
The AlwaysOn Global 250 winners were selected from among thousands of domestic and international technology companies nominated by investors, bankers, journalists, and industry insiders. The AlwaysOn editorial team conducted a rigorous three-month selection process to finalize the 2013 list.
See the full list of all the AlwaysOn Global 250 winners
July 17, 2013 - 4 months ago
Demographic profiles have long been used by marketers to segment their audience and target offers to people who are more likely to be receptive than the general population. For example, a marketer for Forever 21 might target the single, female, middle-class, age 18 to 24, college educated demographic.
And yet, critics of demographic profiling argue that broad-brush generalizations can only offer limited insight, and that their practical usefulness is debatable.
But with the advent of publicly available social data, we no longer have to guess who people are and what they like solely based on their age, gender or a few web site clicks. We can now infer who people are and what they actually like based on the information they provide voluntarily via social channels.
At 140 Proof, we use this data to build precise social “personas”, such as “eco-moms” or “auto enthusiasts.” These personas allow the brands we work with to better match their offers and ads to people who will actually be interested in them, meaning less wasted effort and ultimately better ROI.
Over the next few months, we’ll be diving deep to discuss the hottest persona-based audiences: who they are, how they’re targeted with social data, and what we’ve learned about them.
How 140 Proof Builds Personas
Unlike demographic profiles that are based on conjectures and assumptions, 140 Proof social personas are based on the Blended Interest Graph: a rich mosaic of publicly available information that spans multiple social networks. The Blended Interest Graph includes things like self-declared interests; what people share (e.g. photos from a biking trip); who people follow; and what people say online, what they retweet and what they post. It also includes “feedback loop” information from what people actually respond to, such as receptiveness to a particular campaign, which then feeds back into the database.
140 Proof has indexed over 30 billion social connections across multiple social networks, which allows us to build personas for both popular, broad audiences and very desirable niche audiences that are hard to build with demographics alone.
To build a specific persona, 140 Proof starts by targeting followers of relevant and influential Twitter handles. For example, to create a Gadget Geek persona, we’d aggregate followers of tech brands and bloggers like Engadget, Gizmodo, Daring Fireball, and Android and Me.
Then we narrow the targeting based on the context of the campaign by adding relevant keywords, additional follower relationships or even social check-in activities.
For example, to reach a Millennial TV Fans persona for an Emmys-related campaign, we would choose influencers from relevant media properties, such as the stars of Emmy-nominated shows like So You Think You Can Dance, The Voice, and Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, and then use keywords like “Oscars” or “Olympics” to identify Millennials who historically tweet about televised events.
Persona-based targeting also works great for second screen campaigns, where brands run social ads at the same time their commercials air on popular TV shows. For example, a clothing retailer advertising during Glee might supplement their usual Young Women persona targeting with additional filters to reach women following Twitter accounts like @GleeOnFox, @Gleeks, and @GossipGirl or Tumblrs like The Real Blair Waldorf.
Social check-in activities can also provide a powerful way to augment a persona; for example, a sportswear company might want to target social ads for a basketball star’s new shoe brand to Young Sports Fans who’ve checked in at stores like Foot Locker.
Finally, we layer on insights from across the Blended Interest Graph to make the campaign really sing - such as when that particular persona is most active on social, which locations have the highest concentration of people in that group, and related (and sometimes unexpected) personas that also index strongly for the campaign.
Sure beats simple age and gender, don’t you think?
In our next post, we’ll look at some of the most in-demand personas and provide some insights into how best to reach each of them.
June 21, 2013 - 5 months ago
Salesforce has released its Facebook Ads Benchmark Report, showing how Facebook ads perform on Social.com, their social ads portal product. The report is long in pages but rather light on real insights. In classic 140 Proof fashion, we’ve distilled 29 pages down to their essence here to save you time.
Here’s what’s in the report:
SPONSORED STREAMS SUBDUE RIGHT RAIL REMNANTS: The feed is the secret. Ride the stream. Presence in stream versus right rail makes all the difference. Advertisers enjoy 6-15x better response rate in feeds versus right rail.
DARK DAYS FOR DAILY DEALS AND DATING SITES: paltry response rates of less than 0.2% keep these categories in the proverbial bottom of the barrel.
ANEMIC PERFORMANCE: Most Facebook ads continue to deliver low-performing CTR comparable to traditional web banner ads. The few exceptions are Facebook’s Sponsored Page Posts + Place Checkins.
CANADIANS ARE CHEAP LIKERS: Premium Canadian “Likes” go for $1.26 ea, vs. homegrown Made-in-America Likes @ $0.64 ea.
DOMESTIC DOMINATES: The US and Canada are the most expensive targeted countries, with KPIs 50%+ higher than average across the board.
Read the full report here.
June 12, 2013 - 5 months ago
140 Proof, the leader in social targeting technology, announced that it has been named a winner of the Red Herring 2013 Top 100 Award for North America. The company was chosen from among hundreds of innovative and prominent technology companies.
140 Proof was the only technology company with a comprehensive social offering to win the award, which was announced during ceremonies on May 23 in Monterey, CA. Top brand advertisers rely on 140 Proof’s social ad platform to reach the most desirable audiences in social.
The annual Red Herring Top 100 North America Awards is one of the most acclaimed distinctions in the technology industry. The awards honor the region’s top entrepreneurs and innovative private companies that are anticipated to experience extensive rapid growth based on their current accomplishments to date. Red Herring editors analyze hundreds of organizations and choose the best of the best that epitomize successful growing companies with unique vision and drive.
“Choosing the best out of the previous two years was by no means a small feat,” said Alex Vieux, Chairman of Red Herring. Red Herring Top 100 award winners undergo a comprehensive assessment by Red Herring’s editorial staff based on both quantitative and qualitative criteria, such as technological advantage, disruptiveness, financial performance, management quality, overall business strategy and market maturity.
“Native advertising and interest graph technology are widely recognized as must-have strategies for social ad campaigns,” said Jon Elvekrog, co-founder and CEO of 140 Proof. “Winning the Red Herring award is great recognition of our technology and market momentum. We owe this award to our many customers and partners.”
This evaluation is complemented by a review of the track record and standing of the organization relative to sector peers, allowing Red Herring to see past the “hype” and make the list a valuable instrument of discovery and advocacy for the most promising new business models in North America.
June 11, 2013 - 5 months ago