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When a Mom Is More Than a Mom: People Are Complex


Loved seeing your daughter’s soccer photos on LinkedIn yesterday! And thanks for endorsing me for Project Management on Tumblr.

Wait, that’s wrong. Kid photos go on Facebook. Resume stuff goes on LinkedIn. And gifs from Sunday’s Game of Thrones go on Tumblr.

Different Social Networks for Different Things

You know instinctively to use different social networks for different things. Maybe you don’t use that many social networks (though we encourage you to try Snapchat, just once, because it’s fun), but if you’re online more than a couple hours a week you probably use more than one.

For example, most people reading this article probably rely on LinkedIn for business, Facebook for family, and Twitter for news. A scrappy few among you may also use Path for friends or Pinterest for collections or Snapchat for those random thoughts. The fact that you follow Recode on Twitter and you “like” Angry Birds on Facebook means something. It means that while you might be the same person wherever you go, you say and do different things in each place.

When a Mom Is More Than a Mom

Okay, social data company. What does this have to do with marketing? It means that researching our audiences often reveals associations that we expect and some we didn’t expect.

It means that some of the same audience members show up in different personas. Moms are not only moms. Some moms plant flowers. Some of them love TV. Some of them listen to heavy metal.

For our customers, sometimes it means we’ll suggest the most common related personas for an audience, to help broaden targeting. And it also means that the campaign wrap-up report sometimes highlights a surprising new trend for a target audience. (Hey, CPG marketer! Next time you think about including “Home Automation” in your target or your ad creative!)

People Are Jewels

When you work with interest graph targeting as opposed to demographic targeting, you quickly learn that people have many sides, like jewels have facets. Rather than let ourselves be overwhelmed by their complexity, we should appreciate all we can learn from people and their varied interests.

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April 10, 2014 - 6 months ago

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Publishers Are Feeling the Social Squeeze


Publishers who don’t have access to social data are facing a growing challenge—social squeeze. When it comes to digital advertising market share, they are losing out to the likes of Facebook and Twitter.

AOL’s acquisition of Gravity in January shows that AOL knows it needs to make its ad offering more social. Likewise, Marissa Mayer’s recent statement that the interest graph is the future of understanding what consumers want shows that Yahoo is aware it has the same problem.

With Facebook recently laying claim to the second-largest share of digital advertising dollars in the country, this is actually every publisher’s challenge today. The cash flowing into social platforms is not new money being spent in digital for the first time—these dollars are coming from the pockets of existing publishers, and few are avoiding the social squeeze.

Publishers, then, must keep Facebook and Twitter from further encroaching on their home turf. The social companies have made their presence known far and wide—so how can publishers defend and grow their revenue when media buyers are increasingly buying into the power of social?

Just playing defense won’t cut it. Publishers have to change their game plan—the only way to compete with social is social. To do so, they’ll have to make three critical adjustments:

As Mayer so accurately noted, understanding an individual’s interests allows for more personalization, which is great for consumers, and better ad targeting, which is great for advertisers.

At the confluence of these two are the publishers, who need both eyeballs and ad dollars. AOL’s intention is to use Gravity’s data as a proxy for interests, which shows effort in the right direction, and Apple may be taking a similar step with its acquisition of Topsy.

Social data gains more value the closer to the source you get—that is, to individuals and to what they express about themselves on social platforms. It can be used to make recommendations to people on content sites driving an alignment of content and advertising to make the advertising more premium—or it can be used to ensure that ads appearing in many places will be relevant to the consumer. In this way, advertising can take on aspects of CRM.

Ads must move away from the much loathed and widely ignored banner. Similarly, the word “native” is becoming one of those overused industry words that has accrued so many meanings that it’s meaningless.

We learn from social that ads in line with the content and with the same appearance and tone of the platform around it are very effective. Some publishers have dealt with dropping rates by adding more ads to each page, but that is unsustainable. Others have placed ads in whatever they can call a “stream” or a “feed,” but because there is no social targeting, they wind up with belly fat ads that are undesired by most audiences and, even worse, undermine the quality of the publisher.

Fewer ads of greater quality and relevance will drive rates back up because they are truly valuable.

Lastly, the real opportunity for publishers lies in capturing brand dollars. Action-based data and lookalike models that third party Big Data providers sell haven’t convinced brand advertisers to do their image-building work in digital—and they never will. While they may be comfortable with content alignment, that’s often difficult to scale via the Web.

Brands willing to build awareness online and in mobile will require a deep understanding of the real interests of the people on the other end of the ad server. And, interestingly enough, Twitter and Facebook don’t seem to have gone up to the plate swinging for brand dollars.

Facebook Exchange, Twitter Custom Audiences: these are retargeting techniques, and, while they are effective for driving action, they continue to leave much potential brand spending on the sidelines and keep new dollars out of digital’s reach.

If publishers can accomplish the first two points—making their data more social and their ads more appealing—then they’ve got a chance to bring in brand advertising in a much bigger way. Google’s new Custom Brand Exchanges are a step in that direction, as they’ve been reverse-engineered to capitalize on demand from brands and match them with premium inventory. Targeting audiences through social data with ads that they are interested in will expand the pool of inventory, whether served through exchanges or sold directly by publishers.

Some publishers have taken strong first steps toward understanding the competitive advantages that they should bring to the table. The social squeeze is avoidable—if you learn from social.

By 140 Proof CEO Jon Elvekrog.

This article originally appeared in Fast Company on 20 March 2014.

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March 28, 2014 - 6 months ago

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Marissa Mayer: the Interest Graph Will Replace the Social Graph for Personalization on the Web

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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:

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July 29, 2013 - 1 year ago

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Inside’s Facebook Ads Benchmark Report


Salesforce has released its Facebook Ads Benchmark Report, showing how Facebook ads perform on, 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 - 1 year ago

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Why Tumblr Is Important for Brands


Tumblr is currently the #13 website on the Internet, with over 8 billion page views per month. Last year, it gained notoriety as one of the biggest platforms in social.

But how should brands be looking at Tumblr? Is there a benefit to a paid presence there?

Tumblr Is the Home of Teens and Millennials

Tumblr’s audience is young and smart. According to Quantcast, Tumblr indexes very highly for people aged 18-24. Most of Tumblr’s visitors have been to college, too. And while most visitors currently make less than $50k, that’ll change. Any brand who wants to reach teens or Millennials should be considering how to reach them through Tumblr.

Youth-friendly brands have already started building their owned Tumblr presences. Brands from luxury and mass market verticals alike have jumped in. Kate Spade, Adidas, NBA, Spotify, Whole Foods, Audi, and Land Rover are already on Tumblr, to name a few. 

Don’t other social platforms already have plenty of young people (and great ad options)?

imageYoung people, who, by virtue of being college students, were the ONLY people on Facebook ten years ago, are too old to be teens or Millennials now. Then older folks, the moms and dads and aunts and grandpas, have joined Facebook too. No offense to moms and grandpas, but young people looking for spaces to make their own are emigrating to other platforms like Tumblr. 

There are also some signs that Millennials and teens have been slower to join Twitter than other age groups. Just this past week, Garry Tan, the co-founder of Posterous, informally surveyed over one thousand people and found that teens are using Tumblr more than Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.

Be Heard Above the Noise

Facebook is crowded. Most major brands (and their competitors) have already created Facebook Pages and tested Facebook advertising. Facebook noted in its 2012 SEC filing that over four million businesses had created Facebook Pages. And while Tumblr has many respected and forward-thinking companies on its platform, the brand adoption rate hasn’t yet exploded. Brands are likely to be heard on Tumblr simply by virtue of the higher share of voice they’ll enjoy. (Before everyone else finds out about it, that is.)

Paid Options for Tumblr

While companies are working to figure out how their own Tumblrs (or “Tumblelogs”) might look, brands can now reach teens and Millennials through more traditional means like advertising. 140 Proof offers brands the opportunity to reach this up-and-coming audience through its Native Ads for Social Sites program.

140 Proof helps brands place advertising on Tumblr sites the same way they place more traditional display or other social advertising. This paid option allows brands to test Tumblr strategies before making an investment in owned Tumblr properties. 

(We’ve always been big fans of Tumblr: it’s the backbone of the 140 Proof Blog!)

To learn more about advertising on Tumblr, contact us at

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January 24, 2013 - 1 year ago

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6 Ways Brands Can Become More “Likeable”


Matt Rosenberg, VP of marketing at Taykey, recently published a new article for businesses trying to figure out Facebook’s byzantine privacy and brand management controls.

It’s called 6 Ways Brands Can Become More Likable, and we recommend you read it. Now. It covers key principles of durable community growth, like:

  • Asking people to content rather than companies
  • Planning to listen, rather than just talking
  • Not offering coupons and deals in exchange for “Likes”
  • Targeting ads in smarter ways, e.g. using the Blended Interest Graph
  • Making creative that’s as dynamic as your fans
  • Giving up obsessing over the dollar value of a “Like”
  • Giving users more control of brand relationships
Check out the full piece here at iMedia Connection.

(And Like us on Facebook!!! Just kidding. :)

January 23, 2013 - 1 year ago

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How Big Will Social Advertising Be in 2013?


Since 2003, social advertising has grown and lately flourished, with 2012 its biggest year yet. The United States ad market overall grew by 4% in 2012, partly due to campaigns for political candidates and Olympics sponsors. And social giant Facebook recently reported a 32% increase in revenue for the third quarter of 2012. But how will social advertising shake out next year?

Experts predict that social advertising market growth will continue to climb to between $6 billion and $10 billion. In May 2012, BIA/Kelsey predicted that social ad spending in the US will top $5.9 billion for 2013, with social display taking the biggest portion. And last year, the marketing analysts at eMarketer predicted that the paid social market, including social ads, social network games, and social network applications, will earn $9.99 billion dollars in 2013.

Other signs point to a successful social ads industry for 2013, too. 

Nielsen reports that almost 172 million people in the US accessed social networks in 2012, with 20% of online time being spent on social networks (more than any other online activity).  Women spend the most time in social, up to 18 hours per month. And 30% of mobile time is now being spent on social media networks. 

Because 140 Proof offers social advertising across many social platforms and uses public social data to target ads, we’re bullish on continued growth for 2013. With over half of the US population using social networks, social advertising is increasingly the best way to reach relevant audiences at scale. And brand advertisers increasingly prefer the Blended Interest Graph to reach these audiences, because social data is public and always up-to-date.

In January, we’ll be profiling the biggest social advertising trends of 2013. Stay tuned for more insights as the social ad industry grows and evolves.

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December 4, 2012 - 1 year ago

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The Rapid Rise of Social Advertising

You knew instinctively that the breakout popularity of social networks meant that ads were close behind. Advertisers go where the crowds are. But even those of you who have been following social for years might be surprised at how quickly social advertising has grown and flourished.

Some social networks, like MySpace, Facebook, and YouTube, had advertising built-in virtually at the time they launched. Some, like Twitter, resisted the pull to monetize and moved slowly (their progress led by other players like 140 Proof). Others, like Google+, still haven’t plugged in the advertising machine. 

Social Ads: a Timeline of Events

  • September 2003: MYSPACE LAUNCHES.   MySpace reached the 1 million user mark within a month of its official launch. It was founded by employees from eUniverse, a marketing company. Basic display ads followed soon after launch.
  • February 2004: FACEBOOK LAUNCHES.  Ads were an early addition to the platform, without real targeting or quality to speak of. As Facebook’s user base grew, so did advertising demand. Facebook didn’t really turn on the revenue firehose until COO Cheryl Sandberg joined in 2007.
  • August 2007: YOUTUBE LAUNCHES VIDEO OVERLAY ADS.     YouTube chose to try out banners over its videos first, asserting that users wouldn’t like pre-roll media. YouTube later added pre-roll videos in 2010.
  • November 2007: FACEBOOK LAUNCHES ADS POWERED BY BEACON. Facebook had integrated Microsoft’s adCenter banners in 2006, but Beacon was Facebook’s first major attempt at building social features into its advertising. Beacon aimed to bring users’ browsing data from other sites into Facebook to improve ad targeting. However, the program attracted such a volume of user backlash that Facebook ultimately revised its social ad strategy.
  • February 2008: GOOGLE LAUNCHES ADSENSE for YOUTUBE.  The only social platform to give content producers a cut of ad revenue, Google integrated its popular AdSense program into YouTube to incentivize video publishers to stick around. 
  • August 2008: FACEBOOK TESTS “ENGAGEMENT ADVERTISING.”  In the great debate between the open platforms and the walled gardens, Facebook has always preferred to keep its users within Facebook. That’s why it began testing Engagement Ads, which offered advertisers anything but a click for their calls to action. Comments, virtual gifts, and likes were the first calls to action tested, with event RSVPs and other formats soon to follow. 
  • January 2010: 140 PROOF LAUNCHES TARGETED SOCIAL ADVERTISING 140 Proof was the first interest graph based social ad platform, with sharing built-in to every ad. It initially started with a self-serve advertising platform and then pivoted its offering to focus on the needs of big brands.
  • February 2010: 140 PROOF LAUNCHES  ADVERTISING A.P.I.   Developers of social apps great and small began plugging into 140 Proof’s social ads API, which uses interest graph data to match social users with brand messages that are relevant for them.
  • March 2010: TWITTER CEO EV WILLIAMS DELAYS AD LAUNCH @ SXSW. Most pundits had their fingers crossed before SXSW that @ev would announce Twitter’s long-awaited ad strategy in his keynote interview. But millions of watchers were disappointed when, instead of an ad platform, Ev announced Twitter’s so-called “at platform”, which sought to bring Twitter functionality to more users. (It had nothing to do with ads.)
  • April 2010: 140 PROOF LAUNCHES SHAREABLE ADS.  Social means connections. Why shouldn’t a social ad be social? 140 Proof’s ads launched sharing + retweet-ability in 2010 for Twitter and Facebook-powered apps. How often do people share relevant recommendations and content? A lot, it turns out.
  • July 2010: FORD REVEALS THE NEW EXPLORER EXCLUSIVELY ON FACEBOOK.   Ford was one of the first big brands to invest heavily in social, and it showed in 2010 when they eschewed all traditional channels and turned to Facebook as the exclusive medium for their big reveal of the new 2011 Ford Explorer.
  • December 2010: TWITTER FINALLY LAUNCHES UNTARGETED ADS.  After a long period of PR and limited testing, Twitter eventually coaxed a few customers into trying its ad product, roughly one year after other players in the social ecosystem had started monetizing Twitter streams with paid media.
  • January 2011: FACEBOOK LAUNCHES SPONSORED STORIES.   Considered by the press to be version 2 of the ill-fated Beacon, Sponsored Stories feature user photos in each ad, which Facebook claims brings a 60% boost in performance.
  • May 2011: 140 PROOF LAUNCHES VIDEO ADS IN SOCIAL.     Boosted by the widespread popularity of video and huge user activity around live televised events like the Super Bowl, 140 Proof began offering video ads to brand advertisers who wanted to extend their TV and pre-roll campaigns to social. 
  • June 2011: GOOGLE LAUNCHES GOOGLE+      Google+ is Google’s fourth attempt at a social network (after Orkut, Wave, and Buzz). Intent on getting the experience right, Google+ didn’t have ads at launch — and it still doesn’t. Though none of us really expects the world’s biggest online ad company to hold off on Google+ ads forever.
  • May 2012: G.M. PULLS ITS AD SPEND FROM FACEBOOK.     Just days before the Facebook IPO, the press discovered that GM was pulling its entire Facebook ad spend — about $10 million. While some opined that GM was just trying to get a better deal out of Facebook, the scars still haven’t fully healed. In spite of the GM pullout, Facebook is on track for another billion dollar year in social ads.
  • July 2012: FOURSQUARE LAUNCHES PROMOTED UPDATES.     Three years after launch, Foursquare brings paid placement to its user feeds in the Explore tab with Promoted Updates, brand recommendations based on user searches.

What was your favorite moment in the rise of social advertising? Did we miss any big achievements, milestones, or missteps? Let us know in the comments.

August 7, 2012 - 2 years ago

Posted In TechnologyTargetingTrendsInterest GraphFacebook

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