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140 Proof: Targeted Ads Distilled from Real Tweets

Relevant 140 Proof ads distilled from real Tweets

A new startup, 140 Proof, is emerging from development mode today with a social advertising service that will change the way advertisers think about advertising on social networks. While online advertising itself is nothing new, new ad solutions that perform better are interesting both to mobile app developers (who need to monetize their free apps) and to networks like Twitter, 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 app ecosystem.

The service calculates a person’s “interest persona” based on public social data, and serves relevant 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 and CTO John Manoogian III. “140 Proof asks advertisers to rethink their ads as tweets, which, surprisingly, works.”

The ads appear in third-party apps that 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 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.

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January 20, 2010 - 4 years ago

Posted In EventsTargetingInterest Graph

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The Interest Graph Advantage: What Amazon and Apple Must Learn

Amazon and Apple are massively successful retailers, the envy of digital and brick-and-mortar businesses alike. Currently, the two tech retailers enjoy a place among the biggest, most successful companies in the world. But they have a blind spot. The premises on which they’ve built their market advantage are now no longer the most important things in digital. They’re missing a data asset that would allow them to understand their customers better: the interest graph.

What is the interest graph?

Not to be confused with the social graph, which describes who you know, the interest graph describes what you like. On Facebook, the difference between the social graph and the interest graph is easily understood as the difference between a friend request and a Like. On Twitter, the social graph and the interest graph is mapped via only one vector — the follow — but in this case, following influencers is what signifies interest. If you follow an influential account like @David_Lynch on Twitter, it’s safe to assume you probably like indie films. 

The interest graph attracted significant interest from technologists in 2011. Read Write Web said the interest graph is part of “the future of the social web,” while PayPal founder Max Levchin boldly predicted success for companies that capture the interest graph. So far, all Amazon sees is your shopping cart; companies leveraging the interest graph see your hopes and dreams.

What must Amazon learn from the interest graph?

Amazon could detect purchase intent earlier and identify under-served customers

What Amazon already knows about its customers:

  • products purchase data (backward looking)
  • wishlist data (sparse)

What Amazon could discover from the interest graph:

  • our favorite brands (aspirational)
  • new purchases shared by our friends (social proof)

(Amazon attempted in 2010 to expand its recommendations engine with a still-in-beta program that taps into the social graph, but the app’s intelligence is currently limited to Facebook friends’ Likes.)

What must Apple learn from the interest graph?

Apple could recommend songs and apps with greater accuracy

What Apple already knows about its customers:

  • songs and apps purchased (backward-looking)
  • location (and possibly what sites you visit, though it would cause a privacy uproar)

What Apple could discover from the interest graph:

  • musicians who we follow but haven’t purchased yet (forward-looking)
  • our friends’ apps

Ramifications of the interest graph for e-commerce

In a surprise upset, Apple and Amazon, with their massive product catalogs, cash hoards, and fulfillment channels, could potentially lap Twitter and Facebook in the race to monetize social. The e-commerce giants could create a much richer portrait of their customers – and better predict their behavior — by leveraging the interest graph. However, if they snooze on the opportunity (or waste valuable time building “abandoned garden” social networks like Ping), someone else could develop interest graph technology for e-tailers first and gain the advantage.

Interest graph technology has powerful ramifications for e-commerce as a whole. Information in the interest graph (which is public, by the way), can clue retailers into the aspirations of their customers — at the brand awareness stage. 

January 24, 2012 - 2 years ago

Posted In InsightsInterest GraphTargeting

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M.A.S.S. - Toward A Modern Media Framework

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February 6, 2012

by jm3.

TL;DR If you’re not thinking about your media buys in terms of quantified M.A.S.S. — Measurable, Authentic, Scalable, and Social — then you’re wasting money.

MASS: Measurable, Authentic, Scalable, and Social

Hello again. P.O.E.M., or Paid (vs) Owned (vs) Earned Media, is a strategic framework that buyers and planners use to segment campaigns and channels. Paid / Owned / Earned gave us a common lingua franca to organize our conversations and separate the big buys from the experimental backwaters. But in 2012, standing on the banks of the social stream, thinking in terms of Paid / Owned / Earned will break the back of your media team and send money leaking out of your strategy. Here’s why: the world has changed.

We Must Go Deeper

Looking back to its inception, Paid  / Owned / Earned is really two things: 1. a classification system for media types, and 2. a relational model, describing how those media types affected each other. The relational model is actually the more valuable, less commonly seen version. Here’s a version of how they can be visualized:


(Credit to Karen Untereker and Steve Goldner for the visual organization)

POEM envisioned Paid, Owned, and Earned channels as discrete entities: either you bought massive reach in a channel you controlled (paid), or you had the intern send out some tweets to your followers (earned), and these two initiatives had very different resource structures and, yes, budgets. But thinking of Paid vs Earned as unrelated in 2012 will get you booted back into the traffic department.

POEM assumed that each digital channel fit into a neat bucket. The new ad formats springing forth almost weekly from Twitter + Facebook blend paid and earned media opportunities, creating new ways to spend money and annihilate POEM’s neat “is it paid or earned?” distinction in a single stroke. Is a Facebook Sponsored Story from Nike featuring my friend who recently bought shoes considered paid or earned? How about a social stream ad with a funny tagline that I retweet to my friends? Or a rich media banner with a viral video and a share button? Paid / Owned / Earned distinctions don’t make room for these new ad experiences that are becoming the leading edge of digital brand campaigns.

So as Twitter and Facebook become a much larger share of digital ad spend (which now exceeds 20% of media spend [1,2]), the old POEM no longer fits. It’s time for digital advertisers to create some new media classifications and relational models that can evaluate new hybrid models. Creating new vocabularies for this stuff enables more productive conversations about the value of advertising channels like Twitter and Facebook, and helps us sort out the wheat from the chaff.

Here then, is my humble proposal for a NEW framework for our new hybrid universe. It’s an updated set of guidelines I’ve dubbed, “MASS," and it just might help us hold new hybrid paid/earned platforms accountable to a higher set of standards that end up making things more valuable for everyone. Here it is:



  • Can you track activity and engagement in the channel using trusted third-party verified tools?


  • Does the message rest comfortably in the customer’s world, representing a clear and valuable position the brand stands for?


  • "I need 2 million mommy-bloggers tomorrow." Can this channel deliver that kind of reach without sacrificing targeting specificity?


  • Our world has become the web, and the web has become social. Ad solutions without social actions are just customer budget stolen.

The MASS framework is something we’re trying internally at 140 Proof to help customers evaluate their branded digital and retool media plans to scale social. Is it perfect? Hardly. Does it shine a bright light into the most relevant bits of the most innovative ad formats on the market today? We are beginning to think it does.

I welcome questions, comments, slings, arrows, and remixes in the comments section.



February 6, 2012 - 2 years ago

Posted In TargetingTrends

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How Will Social Ads Shape the 2012 Election?

The first paid social ad campaigns for GOP presidential candidates are have already launched, and campaign teams are already betting big on earned social channels. We know how widespread social media is in general (78% of Americans are active on social platforms), but how important is social to political campaigns? How big will social be in the 2012 election?

Watch the video

Stay tuned for more from 140 Proof on the pivotal role that paid social will play in the 2012 presidential election. Any predictions? Let us know in the comments.

February 13, 2012 - 2 years ago

Posted In PoliticsTargeting

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5 Tips for Reaching Voters in the Social Stream

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Every election year breaks records for ad spending. The total spend leading up to the 2008 election in TV alone was over $450 million. But in 2012, where does social advertising fit in to the political advertising landscape, and how does it work?

140 Proof CTO John Manoogian III (@jm3) reveals the secrets that political campaign managers use to supercharge their messages with the voting public. Campaign teams should be quick on the draw and use social to power campaigns with influencers and crowds.

With two-thirds of online U.S. adults using social feeds, campaign managers can use paid social advertising to reach large numbers of voters. And they can also zero in on influencers by targeting people with a high number of followers or users who demonstrate thought leadership on key issues.

The biggest revelation, however, is that there’s a marketable message in every story:

Campaign managers create messages tailored for their key audiences. And smart players will even capitalize on blunders. For example, the recent fracas between Arizona Governor Jan Brewer and President Barack Obama made headlines nationwide. Jan Brewer’s supporters in Arizona will be sure to spin the incident during her reelection bid. (To reach this audience, Brewer’s PAC should target Arizona residents following GOP accounts like @SenJohnMcCain and @JeffFlake.)

And, on the flip side, Obama’s team could use the story to craft a message alleging Republicans are refusing to reach across the aisle. To reach audiences of moderates and independent voters with this message, I’d recommend reaching beyond the already-outsized and committed following of @BarackObama, instead focusing on the audiences of more independent influencers like @fivethirtyeight and The Washington Post’s @mentionmachine.

Get the details on Mashable: 5 Tips for Reaching Voters in the Social Stream

February 21, 2012 - 2 years ago

Posted In 140 proofPoliticselectionmashablesocialsocial streamtargetingvotersInsights

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How to Reach Sports Fans on Twitter - Live

Live sports events are one of the fastest-growing areas in social — all major US sports leagues (plus the worldwide soccer community) are doubling down on social. And with evidence building that social media drives TV watching, sports marketers that depend on TV viewership have even more incentive to reach Twitter users. 

But how can a sports marketer expand reach in social to stay competitive? John Manoogian III explored three game-changing Twitter tactics and drilled down to the basics of the paid social campaign for sports marketers.

Says Manoogian:

Here are three ways to use paid media to reach engaged fans on Twitter during a sporting event:  

1. Target connected fans. Make sure your paid media campaigns during a real-time sporting event targets the super-fans who actively tweet and retweet and have thousands of followers. By targeting your campaigns to these fans, they will in turn share with their followers — spreading your campaign for you.

2.  Link to the ‘second screen.’  Extend TV commercials and paid video campaigns to Twitter by launching a social ad campaign targeting viewers of a particular sporting event. Ensure a continuous message from screen to screen, so paid Twitter ads reflect and extend on the commercials and video you run before and during the game.

3.  Own an event. Go all out and target your campaign to a mega-audience during a key event. For example, Chevrolet spent big to target all Twitter users following @superbowl and @nfl for 48 hours. As a result of this “play big” strategy, Chevrolet emerged as the Social Media Brand Champion of the 2012 Super Bowl, attaining the highest mindshare on social media of all the brands that advertised during the game.

Live sporting events are a unique opportunity for brand marketers to engage directly with core demographics while they’re excited, amped up, and plugged into one of their favorite activities. And Twitter is the perfect social stream to connect with fans in real-time. With a little ingenuity and some strategic paid advertising, marketers can connect with fans on Twitter during the game to build long-lasting brand recall and affinity.

Read more on Mediapost: How To Reach Sports Fans On Twitter - Live

March 6, 2012 - 2 years ago

Posted In InsightsTargetingSecond Screen

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Facebook Rolls Out Interest Lists

Facebook is diving into the interest graph with Interest Lists, a Twitter-like tool that Facebook says can help users “turn Facebook into your own personalized newspaper.”

Says the Huffington Post:

"Interest Lists" …allow users to make mini-newsfeeds that include the status updates, posts, pictures and stories only from the people and pages a user has added to a certain topical or "interest" list.

The trend among social platforms to adopt interest graph features is most valuable to marketers, even more so  than the social graph. Here, Facebook is taking after Twitter and 140 Proof as it starts to emphasize interests over connections.

March 14, 2012 - 2 years ago

Posted In Interest GraphTargetingFacebook

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140 Proof and the Social Ads Revolution @ OMMA Global 2012

OMMA Global SF 2012 140 Proof

SAN FRANCISCO — 140 Proof co-founder John Manoogian III (@jm3) took to the stage yesterday with Intel, Starcom, Ogilvy, Brightroll, and others to bring the gospel of social ad innovation to the people.

Panel: Social Ads: Did Anyone See the Revolution Coming?

A lot has changed in social advertising, to the point where many best practices from less than five years ago are at best irrelevant and at worst detrimental to smart businesses. Social’s sphere of influence is no longer confined to social networks, and the big data generated by sites like Twitter and Facebook influences countless business and branding decisions. Application-based ads are still in play, but they’ve been surpassed by data-driven units influenced by the interest graph (140 Proof) and the social graph (Facebook). Social advertising vendors, analytics companies, and data experts will be asked to share their thoughts on social advertising, discuss how it has evolved, what it means, and how we can look at this evolution to predict where it’s going.

OMMA Global SF 2012 - 140 Proof panel

Tweet highlights from panel attendees:

Thanks very much to all who attended, commented, asked questions, and helped spread the world!

March 21, 2012 - 2 years ago

Posted In EventsInterest GraphTargeting

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