Marketers value location for targeting their social ads. But identifying where people are isn’t as simple as it seems. Users’ locations are more nuanced than simply “where are they now?” Social ad firms discussing location often leave this out, for simplicity. We don’t blame them: with billions of interest connections being generated every day, social offers a lot of data for analysts to crawl.
Public social data can show us the difference between where people say they are and where they’re actually spending time. For example, you might have added “Austin” to your social profile, but all your latest check-ins and geo-tagged posts are in Louisiana.
This article is part one of a two-part series on understanding location in social.
What is Geographic Drift?
So you may state you’re somewhere but be observed somewhere else. The difference between your stated location and your observed location is your geographic drift.
It’s tempting to think of geographic drift as a measure of honesty: why would people say they’re somewhere they actually aren’t? But people’s conception of location doesn’t stop at cartographic borders.
In fact, stated location can illustrate how people imagine a geographic area. We’ll explore geographic drift and the reasons behind it with a few visualizations.
When a City Is Bigger Than a City
The map above marks out six different metro areas. The circles around each city is a hint at how how widely (or tightly) people conceive of the city.
Take Chicago, for example. Of all social users who say they’re in Chicago, more people were observed outside of Chicago’s blue circle than inside it. Put another way, people who say they’re from Chicago are often not even near Chicago.
By stark contrast, the geographic drift for most who state their location as Jackson, Mississippi is much more tightly confined. The same principle applies to this part of the chart — more people who say they’re in Jackson are observed outside the circle — but the drift is much less.
Measuring Drift: Defining Location in Social
The idea that people aren’t where they say they are is huge. Let’s back up and talk about how we measure geographic drift. How do we know to attach locations to people?
Contrary to what many people might think, there’s no single way that people record and report their locations. In social platforms, it happens a number of ways:
- People on all social platforms add real or vanity locations to social profile bios
- Foursquare and Facebook users check in at locations on platforms
- Twitter users elect to attach GPS location data to their posts
- Apps use IP addresses to distinguish their users
Stated vs Observed Locations: What’s the difference between where I am and where I say I am?
The 140 Proof Labs team differentiated between stated locations (“I’m from Chicago!”) and observed locations (You’re actually in Indiana!) by starting with a few assumptions. One assumption, for example, is that automated location tagging is less likely to be affected by user bias and thus can be an observed characteristic. So observed location data includes GPS tagging and IP addresses. If it happened without much help from you, you were observed. And stated location data includes profile-reported locations and check-ins. If you clicked or tapped it, you stated it.
Why Do People Drift?
Major factors affecting drift can include: commuting, clarity, credibility, and social graph distribution.
The map below (right) hows how commuting can increase geographic drift for a population in Los Angeles, a city known for its freeway traffic.
It’s the same story for New York (left): wide availability of transit makes it easy for self-proclaimed New Yorkers to show up well outside of Manhattan.
The chart on the left is mapping people who say they’re in New York (defined with a yellow border as Manhattan). All the colored shapes outside Manhattan show where those “New Yorkers” actually are. Same for Los Angeles: people who say they’re in Los Angeles are actually observed in a wide distribution across Southern California.
Another explanation for drift around very large cities could also be that people understand that names like “Los Angeles” and “New York” are more recognizable than “Bridgeport” and “Santa Ana”, so people in social are more likely to just say they’re in LA or NY. It’s simpler that way.
Why DON’T People Drift?
Here is an example of two cities that, by contrast, show little geographic drift.
People who say they’re in Napa tend to be observed in Napa. Why? You might already know that Napa, California is famous for its wines and attracts tourists year-round. But what about the residents? They’re largely retirees, families, and local business owners. So they don’t have as much reason to leave Napa as a high-octane Manhattan resident or an LA road warrior.
And Irvine, California? It’s another suburban town of about 215,000 people — most of whom are families and over 10% of which are college students. While Irvine-dwellers get around a bit more than the Napalese, they generally stick closely to Irvine.
Stay tuned for part two, in which we examine how diverse interests (defined as personas) are represented regionally.
This study was authored by @williamcotton, @jm3, @NotoriousKRD, and @vnaylon of the 140 Proof Labs team.
September 16, 2013 - 2 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
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
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
Anonymous hater “Retail Exec D” told Digiday this week that Pinterest is “just people playing around.” Is that what you believe? If you’re a marketer, is Pinterest on your to-do list or your block list?
Anecdotally, my acquaintances have sometimes joked about Pinterest as if it’s all cupcakes and weddings. They imply that a platform that’s home to such mundane conversation couldn’t be important to anyone important. But haters often find themselves on the wrong side of history.
Haters Gonna Hate, Pinners Gonna Pin
The vaguely sexist “no one cares about cupcakes” prejudice against Pinterest brings another social platform to mind. The chart below will roughly illustrate my thinking:
Twitter, now considered by some a $10 billion company, was dogged by perception problems as it grew. Five years ago, many pundits couldn’t look beyond their MySpace-shaped world to see the potential in lightweight and fast-traveling tweets, dismissing them as insignificant chatter about what people ate for breakfast.
2012 happened for Pinterest, too. On an Internet-wide scale, Pinterest now has almost as many users as Twitter. 15% of people on the internet use Pinterest, compared to 16% who use Twitter (Pew, 2012).
It’s tempting to dismiss Pinterest as trivial and leave these cupcake enthusiasts in peace. But we’d be missing something.
Could the U.S. Economy Be Built on Cupcake Enthusiasts?
A big chunk of those Pinterest users, the ones pinning cupcakes and weddings, are women in their 20s and 30s. These Cupcake Enthusiasts…could they actually be…Moms??
(Brand marketers everywhere instinctively freeze and perk up their ears)
Moms wield financial power — and not just when it comes to the grocery list. Moms are the reason automotive designers and marketers consider the “wife acceptance factor.” Moms account for more than half of household consumer electronics purchases (Consumer Electronics Association, 2010). Moms are more likely to shop online for clothes, toys, and music than the average Internet user (Nielsen, 2012).
But maybe you don’t believe me. Maybe jumping from “women” to “Moms” is too big of an assumption when it comes to the purchasing power of Pinterest users. Hmm, but then there’s this:
Pinterest Users Spend More Money Online Than Other Social Users
Those cupcake-and-wedding people like buying things. Shoppers referred by Pinterest are 10% more likely to make a purchase than visitors who arrive from other social networks, including Facebook and Twitter (Wayfair, 2012). Turns out they spend more too: Pinterest shoppers spend $170 per session on average, significantly more than Facebook at $95 (Reuters).
$170 per e-commerce purchase surely isn’t “just playing around.”
Excellent. Now What to Do?
Crack your knuckles. Many savvy brand managers for fashion, home, consumer packaged, goods, travel, and retail have already created owned brand presences on Pinterest. And there’s something all of them want from Pinterest users:
Brands want re-pins of their content.
Fortunately, according to RJ Metrics, 80% of Pinterest pins are re-pins. This means the user base is already sharing and engaging with content on a high level.
Make Pinning Brand Content a Cakewalk
140 Proof is going to be announcing some exciting new Pinterest capabilities next week – stay tuned for more.
P.S. to be fair to the Moms and all Pinterest users, Pinterest actually ISN’T all cupcakes and weddings. Pinerly reports that Weddings and Cupcakes (Food category) comprise no more than 15% of pins. Gotcha.
By John Manoogian III (@jm3), 140 Proof Co-Founder and CTO
March 19, 2013 - 8 months ago
Tumblr Inc doesn’t have a well-developed advertising offering yet, but that doesn’t mean that brands can’t reach Tumblr’s valuable audiences. Offerings like 140 Proof’s Native Ads for Social Sites offer brands the chance to run campaigns on popular blogging platforms like Tumblr.
Even though Tumblr’s fast-paced growth eclipsing other social platforms, many brand marketers are asking what Tumblr can offer them. Here are five reasons that brands should jump into a paid campaign on Tumblr with both feet:
1. An Audience of Tastemakers
Millennials make up one of the biggest demographic audiences on Tumblr. And they exert considerable buying power, not just on their own but also as influencers of those around them. A new study from the Consumer Electronics Association concludes that “Millennials have the highest purchase intent of all demographics” and they give purchase advice to friends and other family members.
Reaching them in their most-frequented spaces is a big opportunity for not just consumer electronics brands but other verticals like CPG, entertainment, and retail.
2. The Reblog Is King
Sharing is widespread on Tumblr, rivaling or surpassing other social platforms. Tumblr reblogs are fast coming into their own: Buzzfeed earned over 50,000 reblogs for just one of its Grammy night Tumblr posts. There’s even a Tumblr blog dedicated to highlighting highly-shared posts.
Likes on Tumblr are as seamless and fast as Likes on Facebook, and Shares (known as “Reblogs”) on Tumblr are even faster than a Facebook Share. A greater percentage of Tumblr users click Like on Tumblr posts than Twitter users click Favorite on Twitter posts.
3. Tumblr Job #1: Discovery
Discovery is key for brand marketers. And that’s a perfect fit for Tumblr. Tumblr’s young audience visits Tumblr to have fun and discover new things, much like they did when Facebook was a network of age-mates and not yet a family photo-sharing site. And because discovery and sharing are valued so highly (see #2), by many users above content creation, many people on Tumblr are looking for great things to share.
4. Flexible Creative Formats
Content from all other platforms — video, pictures, text — is compatible with Tumblr. Native social ad units for Tumblr are among the richest available, with generous visual space for well-designed creative as well as the traditional text and link. Brands who want to have an earned presence on Tumblr can easily tweak and repurpose their content from other networks, though beware — Tumblr users are more discerning (they see hundreds of great images and stories on Tumblr every day), so they’ll reward only the very best of your creative.
5. Brands Enjoy Greater Share of Voice
As we noted in Why Tumblr Is Important for Brands, other social networks like Facebook are crowded with brand promotions. Most brands’ paid social strategies focus on Facebook and Twitter, because of the broad, sizeable audiences that can be targeted plus relatively easy on-boarding processes for advertisers.
Although many brands have already claimed their Tumblr namespace and started creating content, most people haven’t encountered brand messaging on Tumblr yet. This is partly because brands aren’t yet aware that they can pay to reach Tumblr users beyond existing followers. With no official ad solution forthcoming, paid Tumblr campaigns are still the well-kept secret weapon of a few brand marketers. Paid campaigns on Tumblr from companies like 140 Proof, therefore, offer new reach into the Tumblr audience.
February 12, 2013 - 9 months ago
140 Proof is proud to sponsor this week’s cover of Ad Age’s print magazine as part of our effort to get out the message about Blended Interest Graph targeting technology for brand advertising.
The sponsorship kicks off 140 Proof’s campaign in 2013 to help marketers and media planners everywhere understand what the Blended Interest Graph can do for brands.
B.I.G. = Blended Interest Graph
The Blended Interest Graph unites audience data from social platforms like Facebook, Pinterest, Tumblr, Twitter, and the next generation of digital communities.
Our customers call it B.I.G.
Because it maps over 20 billion connections between people and the things they love, the Blended Interest Graph is the perfect targeting technology for brands. And it’s exclusively available from 140 Proof.
Learn more about the Blended Interest Graph by downloading our Special Report: Inside the Interest Graph
“Think B.I.G.”: About the Cover Image
For the cover, 140 Proof Creative Director Lau Ardelean (@lauardelean) built a virtual city using Cinema 4D and Illustrator to help show the scale of data included in the Blended Interest Graph. Much like the crowded borough of Manhattan, the Blended Interest Graph is bursting with interest data from social platforms, and 2 billion new data points are created daily. Ardelean collaborated with Creative Strategist Vanessa Naylon (@vnaylon) to explain how 140 Proof helps ambitious brands create winning social advertising campaigns. Moral support and backseat design-driving by John Manoogian III (@jm3).
Think B.I.G. Wallpapers for Desktop and iPhone
Think B.I.G. even when on a small screen. Download the cover image as a wallpaper:
[ B.I.G. City Desktop ] [ Just plain B.I.G. Desktop ] [ iPhone ]
January 28, 2013 - 10 months ago
How would you navigate a city of 20 billion?
Tokyo, the world’s largest metropolitan area, hosts almost 36 million people. Its rail system, also the largest in the world, transports 40 million passengers daily. But even Tokyo’s efficient, modern infrastructure wouldn’t be prepared to deal with a population of 20 billion.
That’s the engineering challenge that 140 Proof Labs developers faced when they set out to create the Blended Interest Graph. The B.I.G. unites audience data from social platforms like Facebook, Pinterest, Tumblr, and Twitter. This data includes Likes, follows, pins, check-ins, and other public social signals like hashtags and keywords.
It’s the biggest map of audience interest data in social, bigger than any one platform. It’s a massive virtual city built from the connections between people and the things they love. And with over two billion new public data points created every day, the Blended Interest Graph is not just big but constantly growing.
140 Proof architected the Blended Interest Graph to help brands navigate the sprawling world of social. Brand advertisers and media planners use 140 Proof’s B.I.G. targeting technology to power their social advertising campaigns. B.I.G. targeting helps ad campaigns reach target audiences at scale based on who people follow, what they like, and other social signals that indicate interests.
140 Proof builds custom audience segments that include fans and followers of influencers, related brands, check-ins, pins, trends, and more. For example, to promote their recent sponsorship of the U.S. Open, IBM reached people publicly checking in at the event with Foursquare with custom creative designed for event attendees. And family-friendly brands can reach family decision makers by targeting people who pin baby photos, clothing, and furniture on Pinterest.
What’s the point of building this virtual city of interests? Relevance is the key to why we do what we do. When messages between people (or between brands and people) are more relevant, life gets better. Decisions are more efficient, and people are happier. The trains run on time, and the city keeps on moving.
To talk to us about using Blended Interest Graph targeting technology for your brand campaign, contact us at email@example.com.
January 28, 2013 - 10 months ago