A new startup, 140 Proof, is emerging from development mode today with a Twitter-only advertising service that could change the way advertisers think about social media. While online advertising itself is nothing new, new ad solutions for Twitter that perform better are interesting both to Twitter client developers (who need to monetize their free apps) and to Twitter itself, who has expressed interest in advertising solutions but has yet to reveal its plans. 140 Proof’s method of targeting and matching ads delivers clickthrough rates 8 to 12 times higher than the current, un-targeted industry average, says the team, and although still in beta, can serve over 10 million ads a day reaching over half a million uniques through the Twitter client ecosystem.
The service calculates a person’s Twitter “persona” based on public tweets and who they follow and serves ads to users via a patent-pending matching algorithm. Having spent three months fine-tuning algorithms and signing up advertisers, is the first Twitter advertising solution that is both self-service and optimized for individual users’ interests. 140 Proof believes that targeted, unobtrusive advertising is the answer to Twitter’s monetization quandaries (discussed frequently on TechCrunch).
The ads can be targeted to a custom audience based on keywords in tweets, demographic group, or influence size. “Mass-market, untargeted advertising is a waste of consumers’ time and advertisers’ money,” said Co-Founder John Manoogian III. “140 Proof asks advertisers to rethink their ads as tweets, which, surprisingly, works.”
The ads appear in third-party Twitter clients who use 140 Proof’s API to serve and measure their ads. By signing up Twitter app developers, 140 Proof hopes to be the go-to solution for Twitter clients to monetize their apps. After signing several up several smaller Twitter clients and growing its network to over half a million users, 140 Proof recently added a major Twitter client to its network and is in discussions with several others.
The ads behave just like tweets: each ad must have a real tweet associated with it so users can reply, and if desired, share the ad. The service operates like Google AdWords in that advertisers can create their own ad tweets through a self-service interface, define a specific Twitter persona to target, and then measure the effectiveness of their ad campaigns.
“Tweets, which are transparent, pocket-sized, and incredibly brief, force advertisers to get serious about reaching the right customers,” said Manoogian. “140 Proof lets small and large advertisers build custom audiences, just like keyword advertising, but it all happens through the lens of Twitter. Brands who embrace Twitter and open conversations will be successful with this. Brands who hide behind mass-market, ‘spray-and-pray’ media campaigns will struggle — but those brands will struggle on any level playing field.”
“We’ve seen that scalable, targeted advertising is the holy grail for brand advertisers because it gives them measurable results and real ROI. What big advertisers have been missing was a way to connect with the Twitter community in ways that users don’t find obtrusive. We think we’ve cracked that code with 140 Proof,” offered CEO Jon Elvekrog.
“As Twitter developers, we created the ad service that we wanted to use ourselves. We’re sharing it with the Twitter developer ecosystem because we want Twitter’s ads to be better than anything else online.” said engineer Erik Michaels-Ober.
The 140 Proof team is unusual in the startup space for being a hybrid of both advertisers and technologists; the UX co-founder spent eight years at digital advertising agency Organic, while the engineering co-founder worked on the scaling architecture for email shop Vertical Response.
140 Proof is backed by a 2 million dollar venture investment from Blue Run Ventures and Founders Fund raised in the summer of 2009.
We created two ads for our intern position and ran them on both the Facebook ad platform and the 140 Proof network. The ads had the same copy and graphic, the same targeting, and the same landing page. Except for the different format requirements of the two platforms, the ads appeared identically to the end user.
We ran the ads for roughly the same number of impressions and compared the results.
Note: 140 Proof does not display an average CPC or CPM because 140 Proof charges a flat rate as opposed to an auction-based fee.
We encourage you to conduct your own test and compare.
I wrote a couple pieces recently for social media focused publications.They ended up really long because, uh, they wanted it that way.I said the same thing in 10 straight paragraphs.Mark Twain rolled over in his grave.
Now, here, in my own sandbox, let me be brief and to the point and not hide the self-promoting nature of this post in some sort of advertorial-cloaked hoo-hah.The point is this: Users consume their Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Foursquare, etc. feeds – the “social stream”, looking to discover what is new, cool and interesting from the peeps with whom they are connected (aka their social graph).The stream update is short, and links to deeper content.People click/engage to that deeper content.
140 Proof matches social ads to users pinned above their feed.The ads tease/promote compelling campaigns.Peeps engage the ad.The shot goes in, the crowd goes wild (I stole usage of that riff from JM3 ;-)That is the power of context.We deliver the right ad to the right audience at the right time (when they are primed to discover and share).Not rocket science, just a better rocket.
As always chat us up for more. Will call back. Will show up. Will not make you fill out a large form with data we will never use. Hit us at firstname.lastname@example.org or via our simple contact form.
How do you capitalize on one of the biggest live events in sports? You harness the power of social display to spread your message across the social stream.
P&G/Gillette’s long time spokesperson, Derek Jeter, attained one of baseball’s greatest accomplishments this month: 3,000 lifetime hits. To celebrate this historic milestone, Gillette devised a fantastic tribute to their spokesperson … allowing his fans to use Facebook and Twitter to put their message on a giant congratulations card on display in New York’s Grand Central Station. The Grand Central Station card would itself get a lot of foot traffic, but the Yankees and Jeter have a lot of fans across the country who also wanted to participate by digitally signing the card.
Leveraging Gillette’s considerable Facebook and Twitter presence was a great start to engage their existing followers and fans, but advertising is about engaging potential new customers, and that is where social display advertising steps in. Employing 140 Proof’s patented audience cluster matching system, Gillette was able to deliver their message about Jeter’s amazing milestone to millions of fans in the social stream … fans who are looking for the latest information in the perfect discovery platform … the real time stream.
Needless to say, the engagement was outstanding. Fans were responding at a rate, orders of magnitude higher than typical digital media platforms.
If you want to find out more or to create your own real time phenomena, please give us a call or a tweet!
Static case studies are so last year. Check out 140 Proof’s newest success story in a great new video!
140 Proof teamed up with a tech news team to build buzz around their latest announcement. What resulted from the campaign was engagement rates above and beyond their wildest expectations! Check out the video and contact us to find out how we can do the same thing for your brand.
“Designers and art directors often talk about how imposing limits on their work sets their creativity free. Confining yourself to just a few colors, working in a smaller space, or simply restricting the amount of materials available can often help a creative type achieve results they hadn’t thought possible before.
AMC Achieves Spine-Tingling Performance for Walking Dead Premiere
Walkers are back. The AMC zombie TV series “The Walking Dead” debuted its second season to critical and fan acclaim in October, ravaging basic cable records and biting off a third season commitment from AMC. TargetCast and 140 Proof partnered to promote the show in the social stream, achieving performance twice the network average.
140 Proof Engages Zombie-Focused Personas
AMC and its agency of record, TargetCast, sought to target the 18-34 demographic to grow awareness around the season premiere. 140 Proof took the plan a step further, adding interest-based targeting to reach AMC fans, zombie fans, and Halloween fanatics in the social stream.
The campaign drove social stream users to watch a 30 second trailer for the premiere, and users on smartphones were treated to a fast, native video experience within their social apps.
140 Proof and TargetCast have teamed up to promote three other winning dramas for AMC: Breaking Bad, The Killing, and the newly-launched Hell on Wheels. Since AMC began investing in original programming in 2006, net ad sales revenue has grown 76% and affiliate revenue has increased 49% (Adweek).
Ten campaigns of 2011 raised the bar for social stream initiatives, by virtue of their unique adaptation to the social stream, specialized targeting, or creative approach. So study up on the cream of the crop, know what works, and prepare to innovate once again in 2012.
Riding the fan response to an historic event
For New York Yankees star Derek Jeter’s anticipated 3,000th hit, Gillette made a big social push to harvest the fan response. Across Twitter, social apps, and Facebook, Gillette collected well-wishes and congratulations from fans around the world. Thousands of fans participated and passed along the #GilletteJeterCard message, and after Jeter finally connected bat to ball for the 3,000th time, Gillette presented him with a huge greeting card and $50,000 for Jeter’s Turn 2 Foundation.
9. Vitaminwater Color Collection
Crowdsourced design from social stream users
Kickstarter, Etsy, and Threadless all broke out in 2011 by tapping into the hot trend of crowdsourced creative, which connects budding creative directors with eager markets halfway around the globe. Vitaminwater, a young brand pursuing a fashionable market, capitalized on the trend in an innovative way.
Vitaminwater invited young fashion designers from across the country to try for a chance at a jump start to their careers. Fashion designers were invited to submit a t-shirt design for Vitaminwater, for the chance to be sold alongside exclusive T-shirts designed by CFDA designers like Vena Cava and Rag & Bone. 140 Proof helped them reach Fashion Design Students and Shopping Influencers by targeting the followers of accounts like @CathyHorynNYT and @rag_bone.
8. Mercedes-Benz Tweet Rally
A social scavenger hunt
A contest campaign takes advantage of the inherent virality of Twitter and Facebook and accelerates buzz around a brand’s profile. Audience members can tweet a hashtag, retweet a message, or follow the brand to enter to win. It’s a surefire way to gain followers quickly.
Mercedes-Benz hosted their annual Tweet Rally for the 2011 US Open, an all-out push to attract tennis fans and luxury lovers (and showcase the new M Class in the meantime). Anyone who followed @MBUSA in the days leading up to the US Open could win tickets for the best seats at the tournament — delivered by Roger Federer. The Tweet Rally reached 1 million people across the social app ecosystem in the space of less than a week.
7. Sony Pictures Moneyball
A blockbuster movie launch driven by the social stream
Moneyball grossed a staggering $19.5 million its opening weekend and $104 worldwide so far, making it the #3 baseball movie of all time.
To wind up entertainment lovers, Sony Pictures and 140 Proof teamed up to reach Movie Fans, Connected Millennials, and Baseball Fans. Followers and friends of followers of accounts like @TMZ, @MLB, and @jimmyfallon saw the Moneyball message in their favorite social apps during the week-long run-up to the premiere.
6. UFC Personal Trainer Fitness Video Game Launch
Testable targeting and optimization
In 2011, THQ launched UFC Personal Trainer, a fitness game for Ultimate Fighting Championship fans and fitness buffs. Taking a page from Wii Fit, the cross-platform UFC Personal Trainer coaches and conditions aspirational fighters at home.
140 Proof targeted 3 distinct personas with separate sets of creative: Male Fitness Fans, Female Fitness Fans, and UFC Fans by reaching followers of top UFC fighter @UrijahFaber and The Biggest Loser trainer @JillianMichaels. The surprising result? Female fitness fans responded more strongly to the campaign than any other targeted persona.
5. Microsoft Office 365 Launch
Bringing the cloud to the social stream
When Microsoft was ready to unleash its new cloud offering Office 365 on the world, they turned to influencers in the social stream. Microsoft used 140 Proof’s interest graph targeting to reach Small Business Owners and Technology Influencers, who follow accounts like @FedEx and @cdixon.
Cloud computing services is one of the fastest growing segments for 140 Proof, as businesses race to outsource their architecture. 2012 will see bigger initiatives from all players around increasing cloud services adoption.
4. Glee “Sing the USA” by Chevrolet
Leveraging the combined power of Gleeks nationwide
Chevrolet went the extra mile in 2011 with nimble cross-media strategy, and to promote their new Cruze compact car, they went to bat with the fans of prime time TV hit Glee.
To support a TV collaboration that debuted at the Super Bowl, Chevrolet tapped the social stream to find the most fanatical Gleeks, who submitted their own versions of the classic Chevrolet song “See the USA.” 140 Proof helped Chevrolet target TV Fans and Glee Fans by reaching the audiences of accounts like @gleeonfox and @ConanOBrien.
3. Burger King Chicken Tenders
Connecting to busy moms via their smartphones
2011 for Burger King was a momentous year: agency upheavals, new menu launches, and mascot regicide all contributed to a frenetic marketing calendar.
Burger King was re-launching its famous Chicken Tenders, and they needed to reach busy moms — the top US purchaser of crispy, tender, chicken tidbits (averaging 200 tenders and/or nuggets per mom).*
140 Proof helped reach the millions of U.S. Moms and Family Decision Makers on their smartphone by targeting the followers of the 100 best family influencers in social, such as @thepioneerwoman and @Oprah.
AMC and its agency of record, TargetCast, sought to target the 18-34 demographic to grow awareness around the season premiere. 140 Proof took the plan a step further, adding interest-based targeting to reach AMC fans, Zombie Thriller Fans, and Halloween Celebrants in the social stream by reaching the fans of accounts like zombie apocalypse blogger @manvszombies, @BreakingBad_AMC, and @DAVID_LYNCH.
1. Victoria’s Secret Gorgeous: Fall TV Continuity
Syncing Fall TV buys with social
Fall premiere week is a highly anticipated time for network TV, and likewise it’s an important time for advertisers. Victoria’s Secret was banking on the fall premieres of popular shows like Glee and Gossip Girl to find young, fashion-loving women to show its new Gorgeous fashion line.
To supplement the huge TV spend, Victoria’s Secret took advantage of social as a second screen and coordinated the social campaign timing with the TV spots, targeting fans of show-related accounts like Glee star @jennaushkowitz and Glee fan club @OMGlee_.
The social stream as second screen strategy delivered over 75,000 fans to Victoria’s Secret to check out the Gorgeous line.
Next: The Top Trends of 2012
2011 was a fantastic year for 140 Proof. We offer congratulations to all of our customers, and to everyone who’s pushing the envelope and innovating in the social stream. Look for most posts to come about the upcoming challenges and opportunities to innovate in 2012.