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You Can’t Like What You Can’t See

you can't like what you can't see

It’s a nutty world, isn’t it?  One of the hot conversations in the media industry is around the fact that a lot of digital ads are invisible.  We’re not talking about fraud, although there’s plenty of that.  It’s that many publishers load up their pages with ads below the point at which people stop scrolling.  

The fact that there’s debate about this is silly.  On one side you have advertisers who rightly feel that if they’re paying for pixels that never meet an eyeball they are wasting their money, on another you have publishers who say that the probability that certain ad placements won’t be seen is factored into the pricing already so advertisers shouldn’t be too concerned, and in the middle of it all you have the IAB trying to promote a set of standard viewability metrics to bring some order to the chaos.

But there’s a simple solution.  Quit it with the invisible ads.  End the debate by solving the problem.

The ads you see from 140 Proof are all visible.  The majority appear in mobile apps, top or bottom of the screen.  They stay there, regardless of how you scroll around.  The ones that appear in Tumblr, whether on a desktop or mobile browser, are always in the second content position.  Unless you leave the page before looking at the page, you’ll see our ads.

There’s nothing complicated about ensuring that you only place ads where the eyes are.  Our feeling is that since we match an ad with a person who is interested in the theme of the ad, the least we can do is show it to them.

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March 7, 2014 - 1 month ago

Posted In technology

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Bringing #MySocialPortrait to Social Media Week

People gravitate to what they love in social, so their social data reflects their passions and aspirations. And while people have many interests and use social in many ways, for most there are one or two interests that stand out.

140 Proof visited Social Media Week in New York last week to show people what their social selves looked like. We analyzed attendees’ public social data and created their social portraits based on their interests.

See how it worked: 

140 Proof technology pegged SMW attendee @jessica_ as a fashion enthusiast, and @lebaronsims as a news junkie:


And we discovered through @moxioustim’s social data that he’s a techno fan, while @fooditka is a food blogger.


See all the #MySocialPortrait drawings on FacebookInstagram, or Twitter. Special thanks to our portrait artists Dan Springer and John Sprague.

Look for 140 Proof at your next industry event for a chance to create your own social portrait.

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February 27, 2014 - 1 month ago

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We’ve Hit Another Milestone: 600 Million Profiles Indexed


If you’re a regular reader of our blog, you’ve probably noticed that we’ve grown a lot since we launched the Blended Interest Graph in 2011. We’ve grown in every way that matters: people, revenue, clients, products, and the number of people we see in our audience every month (62 million unique people per month at last count).

The amazing thing about our technology is that it learns from the massive amount of social data we see every day.

We’re pleased to announce that we’ve just crossed another milestone: our technology has indexed the profiles of more than 600 million people. We are the largest cross-platform index of interest connections in the world and the more profiles we index, the more our technology understands the relationships between social activity and interests, the better we can serve our advertisers.

“The social analytics market has continued its impressive growth with Apple’s recent acquisition of Topsy and DataSift’s Series C financing,” said our CEO, Jon Elvekrog. “Brands understand the value of using social data to monitor their reputations, measure earned media, and generally answer the ‘how are we doing in social’ question. Our technology makes social data particularly actionable by understanding users’ interests on an individual level and serving an ad that is particularly relevant to them.”

If you’re just getting to know us, here’s our quick story: 140 Proof’s patented Blended Interest Graph technology maps the interests of people across numerous social networks — including Twitter, Foursquare, and Tumblr — to enable fine-grain targeting at scale for leading brand advertisers. The technology tracks who people follow, what they like and share, where they check in, what types of things they pin, and more. This allows us to build detailed personas used to target large, desirable audiences with ads, more than half of which appear on mobile and tablet devices. We’ve run recent campaigns designed to speak to personas including “Sustainability Moms,” “Car Customizers,” “College Football Fans,” “Gear Heads,” and “Music Festival Fans.”

“No single social platform has a monopoly on interests. The most robust way to create audience personas in social is to take a blended approach to gain a holistic view across social channels. The interest signal from social is as strong as the intent signal from search and more versatile by far,” said John Manoogian III, our CTO.

In addition to profiling 600 million users, we’ve compiled more than 20 billion “interest connections,” which are links between people and the things they love. We’re developing additional tools to leverage this data beyond serving interest-targeted ads. Upcoming offerings will give marketers a richer understanding of their audience’s complex and interwoven psychographics.

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February 11, 2014 - 2 months ago

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Super Bowl XLVIII: “Real Time Marketing” vs. Real Marketing

real-time marketing vs real marketing

What was the best brand tweet of the Super Bowl?  Was it JCPenney making the world think their social media manager was PUI (posting under the influence) while in fact selling mittens?  Was it Priceline, with their Vine campaign?  Was it Newcastle with its “not really doing the Super Bowl” thing while doing the Super Bowl thing?  Could it have been Hillary Clinton with her 3rd Quarter swipe at Fox?

Or could it have been none of the above and no one instead?

Last year, Oreo opened the world of “Real Time Marketing” with its tweet during the blackout.  Since then, brands have opened newsrooms and empowered their social teams to participate in every cultural moment, reacting to events as quickly as they happen.  In almost every case since then, nothing has come of it.  Perhaps it took last night’s entirely uneventful game (at least after the safety :12 in) to make the point that if you prep and prep and put a staff in a “newsroom” expecting them to tweet up a real time storm, they will do exactly that… and it will mean nothing.

Tweeting to your fans during the game – and, perhaps as importantly, to the trade journalists on Real Time Watch™ – may be real time, but it isn’t real marketing.  What does Coors Lite get out of these tweets?  Do their fans think of them as more clever than previously?  

Instead, shouldn’t these brands be advertising?  That is: buying the opportunity to communicate with people who might consider buying a Coors Lite but who are not already following them?  It’s the difference between social media and social advertising, and it’s a distinction that can get lost as you move upward in a client organization.  If you’re just speaking to the same people over and over – at the considerable cost of running a big team on Super Bowl Sunday – there is little to be gained, especially now that everyone is doing it.  (Recognizing the diminishing, or vanished, returns, Oreo sat this one out.)  But if you take advantage of the massive attention focused on the Super Bowl inside social platforms – Facebook reported 50 million Super Bowl related conversations during the broadcast – by advertising to  the people who care about the game and your associated message, you are really marketing.  And, if you care to, you can use your “real time” content, introducing it to that new audience and perhaps appealing to them in a way you had not previously. articles:

February 3, 2014 - 2 months ago

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Infographic: Social Takes Sides for the Super Bowl


Wondering where Broncos and Seahawks fans are concentrated? We looked across the social world and put together this convenient state-by-state map.

Click the image above for a larger size.

Data source: public comments posted by social users in 140 Proof apps and sites from 1/24/2014 to 1/27/2014. 140 Proof semantically analyzed posts for fan sentiments like “Go Denver” and “I love the Seahawks.” “Toss-up” states were statistically too close to call.

This map was featured in Business Insider on January 30, 2014.

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January 30, 2014 - 2 months ago

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Reaching America’s #1 Most In-Demand Persona: Auto Enthusiasts


Given the huge chunk of advertising that auto brands claim every year, we weren’t surprised to find in a recent study that auto enthusiasts are the most in-demand audience persona for social ad campaigns.

In this article, we’ll go into what exactly an “Auto Enthusiast” is and how we target it.

View the report on Slideshare: Top Personas in Social Advertising

Why Automakers Love Social Advertising

In 2012, automakers made up 20% of the top 25 advertisers by spend, with a combined spend of $3.9 billion. Why are automakers among the biggest spenders in advertising?

For one thing, cars are among the biggest purchases the average person will ever make (along with a home and children’s educations). And people buy, on average, 9 cars over their lifetimes. So each buyer’s loyalty is valuable.

Then there’s the time involved. Big purchases like cars require longer consideration time (one to three months, according to Lab 42) than little purchases like sandwiches, so automakers also benefit from making an impression at multiple places in the decision process.

Social is one of those places. Because people use their favorite social platforms to discover new things, social presents rich opportunities for raising brand awareness. From sport and muscle cars, tuner imports, safe and secure family cars, luxury vehicles, down to more niche products like hybrid luxury vehicles, people are sharing and discovering information about cars.

140 Proof social ads not only allow auto brands to zero in on just the people who’ve demonstrated interest in cars, but they also target many different types of auto enthusiasts, from “NASCAR Conservatives” to “Eco-moms.”

Under the Hood: Reaching the Auto Enthusiast in Social

We do this using our proprietary Blended Interest Graph technology, which filters the social spectrum of interests signals like posts, check-ins, pins, likes, etc. to offer meaningful content recommendations to targeted audiences.

As the only company to target social ads based on interest signals from multiple social networks, 140 Proof has the unique ability to identify large, desirable audiences like “Sustainability Moms” or “Car Customizers” and deliver ads to these audiences at scale.

To date, we’ve worked with top car brands such as Chevrolet and Infiniti to create high-impact campaigns, and over the years we’ve learned a lot about what makes the auto enthusiast audience tick.

Here’s a look into this highly desirable social audience.


“Auto enthusiasts” is the largest and most general auto-related persona. This persona includes people who are generally interested in auto topics and products and people who are currently in the market for a new or used car. In social, they ask for or offer opinions on car brands, models, and financing. The more they enjoy driving or working with cars and the deeper they are into the shopping process, the more auto-related influencers they follow and like.

Who targets them:
Automakers, Parts Retailers (ie, Pep Boys), Road Services (ie, Meineke)

How they identify themselves:
They follow or like: Jalopnik, Scott Monty, Google Auto, Car and Driver, Chrysler, Edmunds…
They check in at: car shows, auto parts stores, car dealerships…
They see and say words like: test drive, Chevy, Ford, dealership, lease…

Popular Sub-Personas:
In-Market Auto Shoppers, Tuners, Sport and Muscle Car Lovers, Family Drivers, Luxury Car Shoppers

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January 15, 2014 - 3 months ago

Posted In Targeting interest graph

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Ten tech trends that will change advertising in 2014


Every January we share the hottest ad-related tech trends for the year. And the watchwords for 2014 are programmatic, mobile, transparency, and social.

Check out our top ten and let us know if you agree.

1. Programmatic kills the IO.

Programmatic is big and about to get bigger. Its scale and ease of buying has hooked media planners, and soon programmatic will start crowding out the traditional IO — at least for digital media. Because hey — why are we still emailing around Excel spreadsheets for signatures? In 2014?

2. The third wave of social platform monetization begins.

Tumblr, Pinterest, and possibly even Snapchat will all introduce or solidify their advertising offerings, drawing attention from Twitter and Facebook (as well as capitalizing on their previous education of the market).

3. Mobile: the choice of a new generation.

You’ve probably met a few already: the “mobile natives.” Non-mobile-natives will soon be the exception, not the rule.

We in digital advertising used to talk about “digital natives” — the generation that grew up with the internet. Today’s young generation is growing up with mobile (not to mention that mobile is the #1 way people in developing countries are getting online). Soon most people in the world will have primarily accessed the internet through mobile devices.

4. Broken mobile cookie solutions force a migration to interest-based targeting.

Fragmentation across mobile tracking won’t be resolved any time soon. What advertisers need is a universal customer ID — and the social ID transcends hardware and software platforms. Enter interest graph targeting based on public social data. Interest targeting allows brands to build mobile audiences based on what people really think and like, not derivative demographic profiles or blunt retargeting cookies. And mobile can become the demand generation platform it should be.

5. Brands demand greater ad network transparency and accountability.

As part of the industry shift to programmatic media, advertisers will more and more want to cut out middlemen and access their data and tools directly. It’s time for us and other ad tech vendors to commit to reducing overall waste and increasing efficiency in the name of brand advertisers.

6. Clients demand financial transparency.

Clients are getting wise about the need to clean up agency financial misconduct and kickbacks. Oh, you didn’t hear about the funds being kicked back in the ad industry? Or about firms’ trouble with regulators and other firms off-shoring buying to avoid regulators in the US? You will…

7. The war room becomes the news room.

Realtime marketing goes from reactive to proactive. Brands who’ve been playing the social game for a while wised up in 2013 and grasped the cyclical nature of social. While world events will always add some uncertainty, marketers can depend on their calendar. Mistakes will sometimes be made (see #10 on our list of 2013 Social Media Moments), but brand etiquette in social will grow into a strong set of best practices.

8. Social hubs and publishers go to war.

Social sites have been gradually assuming the privilege of monetizing publishers’ audiences. How many readers visit a publisher’s home page anymore? Now, many of us turn to social to discover what’s worth reading. Do you think publishers will stand for the attrition of their revenue streams? Nuh uh.

9. The web concentrates into the hands of a few major (social) players.

Link referral tracking and SEO is suffering at the hands of social. If you’re a site owner these days, you may have noticed you know less and less about your visitors, because you don’t have as much referral data as you used to. That trend will continue, as consumers make social sites their home base (and social companies continue to parcel out only morsels of data to brands).

10. Programmatic goes social.

It’s not just for display anymore. Facebook media is already available from firms like Criteo, and more social players will soon follow.

How’d we do? Any trends you’d strike from the list, or any you’d add? Let us know in the comments.

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January 1, 2014 - 3 months ago

Posted In trends

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The Top 10 Social Moments of 2013

1 note


Brands are getting the hang of this social media thing. They’ve figured out where the conversations are happening, how to act, and what to say.* Case in point: Oreo’s tweet from the Super Bowl. We’re going to spoil it for you now: in our book, it’s the #1 social media event of the year. (If that’s all you were looking for, feel free to go back to Imgur.) Not only did peole think Oreo’s response to the blackout was funny and surprising, but since it happened at the Super Bowl it gets a10x bonus.

Now that you know who the winner is, let’s explore the other top moments of the year.

*Not all brands have perfected the art of saying the right thing in social. For example:

10. Twitter users lash back at brands on 9/11


Weird Twitter’s mockery of brand behavior in social is an extreme example of what most of us feel: that brands, while we accept them as part of our cultural landscape and sometimes like them, shouldn’t try too hard to be human in their quest to engage. And the sheer number of brands that have set up a social presence means that on 9/11 there were many examples of tone-deaf reverence to mock. The most famous was AT&T’s twin towers smartphone tweet, which scored thousands of ironic retweets and favorites before it was eventually removed. 

The message that Twitter users send to brands on memorial holidays is, essentially, that it’s not necessary for a brand to acknowledge every calendar holiday. Stick to the ones that are relevant for that brand.

PR Daily: Brands’ commemorations of 9/11 meet varied reactions

9. M.I.A. launches a new album via GIF


2013 was the year social advertising extended to Tumblr. While Tumblr as a place for brands to advertise is still largely early-adopter territory (the boldest brands are going in, and more conservative verticals are waiting and seeing), there’s a ton of potential on this platform. We’re proud to have supported M.I.A. in our first animated gif campaign promoting her new album Matangi.

8. Major League Soccer triumphs in social advertising


Major League Soccer got a huge response from sports fans in social to its ad campaign promoting the 2013 season. Instead of pre-approved creative running all season, MLS adjusted its messaging after every game, calling out who was in the hunt and highlighting upcoming rivalry games. In return, fans rewarded MLS ads with performance double and sometimes quadruple the 140 Proof average. Relevance: it works. 

7. Richard the Cat gets grumpy on Tumblr for Home Depot


Capitalizing on the success of Grumpy Cat on Reddit, Tumblr, and related sites, Home Depot launched a campaign with their own mascot, Richard. Home Depot ran Lolcat-style creative across select Tumblr blogs, and audiences were invited to create their own Richard the Cat memes. It bears recognizing that Home Depot ran this campaign in April, well before many brands even thought about advertising on Tumblr, let alone how to do it. Richard the Cat campaign performance stood out for the exceptional number of shares it won in social, acrcoss Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and of course Tumblr. Wow. So successful. Such meme. Many shares.

6. Twitter launches its IPO


It’s a dream milestone for every VC-funded company. About a year and a half after Facebook went public, Twitter followed suit with its own IPO. Founders Ev Williams, Biz Stone, and Jack Dorsey, plus Dick Costolo all will cash in. Which makes us wonder — will they be cutting a check to the guy who invented the retweet?

5. Jell-O rewards the losers of the Super Bowl


It’s great to be number one, but it’s tough to lose the biggest game of the year. So Jell-O decided that for this year’s Super Bowl, the loser needed a consolation prize. The Jell-O Pudding Drop was born: the team that lost the Super Bowl would win for its city a day of unlimited Jell-O pudding. When Baltimore finally won, the Jell-O team sprang into action and headed to San Francisco to console 49ers fans with free pudding. 

4. Beyonce surprises Instagram fans with new album


In a first for the music industry, Beyoncé kept a record release completely secret and then sprang it on Instagram fans. The shocking announcement inspired over one million purchases in the first week of its release (a new record for iTunes).

3. Instagram introduces ads


Instagram finally introduced its own native advertising, via sponsored posts, in user streams in early November. Have you seen them yet? Better yet, have you Liked or Commented on any Sponsored Instagram posts?

2. Batkid saves the day — and everyone watches in social


We thought we were biased because 140 Proof is headquartered in San Francisco, but it turns out Twitter users everywhere were tuned into the #SFBatKid action last month. The Make-a-Wish honoree Miles Scott, 5, spent a sunny morning fighting crime and saving the day, winning himself a key to the city of SF and write ups in USA Today.

1. Oreo makes the most of a dark situation at the Super Bowl


Why was the Oreo cookie tweet so relevant? Much like Major League Soccer, the Oreo team (with agency 360i) focused on relevance and timeliness. They delivered a fun, brand-appropriate message at an unexpected moment, in a coup the WSJ dubbed “culture-jacking.” Well done, Oreo.

Were there any amazing social media moments that you think should have been on our list?

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December 19, 2013 - 4 months ago

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