CEO Schigel Says ShareThis Leveraging Data For Publishers, Advertisers And Consumers

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Tim Schigel of ShareThisTim Schigel is CEO of ShareThis, makers of web content sharing solutions.

AdExchanger.com: What problem is ShareThis solving?

Reaching over 400 million consumers and helping them share their favorite content on 800,000 sites, ShareThis helps publishers and marketers to understand and tap into the real value of sharing. Critical to this value is the idea that everyone who shares is an influencer.  We recently debuted a complete segmentation methodology that helps advertisers and publishers reach and identify their social influencers – those who are sharing about millions of topics they care about most.

When is a user cookied by ShareThis?   Is it anytime a ShareThis button is present? Or does there need to be interaction?

Users are cookied by ShareThis anytime there is a ShareThis button present on the page. ShareThis values the privacy of our users first and foremost, so all data we keep is anonymous and identifiable only by the cookie and not any of our users’ personal information.

Please provide a use case for ShareThis data in a typical media campaign.

ShareThis influence segments can be used by either a publisher or a marketer. Here’s an example of a campaign we recently worked on with an agency partner, Empower MediaMarketing. Empower was searching for new ways to connect their clients’ brands with social behavior online. They partnered with us to create an influencer campaign for their client Mederma, a leading U.S. scar management brand. Empower and Mederma selected targeted, custom topics that would appeal to women with scars and stretch marks. ShareThis then used our segmentation methodology to create custom groups of Mederma “Influencers” (the people who share), as well as the “Listeners” (the people who respond). The results showed that the Influencers and Listeners had a higher intent to redeem a coupon than similar search and contextual display campaigns done by Empower for the client.  You can see complete results here.

Does ShareThis have a media business in addition to the data business?  Any plans here? After all, no one may know how to use your data better than ShareThis.

We’re definitely charting new territory here, and we absolutely see the value of a direct media business.  The reason ties directly to your comment about the best usage of the data.  Unlike many data aggregators, we have a direct social signal from the consumer: a share. But this business comes down to more than just data.  For media to work well, it’s about insights and a delivery capability that lets marketers engage consumers in the right way, then adjust based on what is working best. We feel that our quality advertising results will come through working directly with brands, agencies and publishers.

What type of client is most appropriate for ShareThis?

We currently work within all key verticals (finance, auto, entertainment, CPG, etc) across 800,000 sites so we are able to find influencers at scale regardless of a client’s industry. Our ideal client probably depends more on the type of marketing goal than anything else.  We believe social data, such as sharing, is well positioned at the top of the marketing funnel, as marketers try to reach social audiences at scale. In addition, we are working on more “mid funnel” campaigns where we can tie sharing to intent, as we did with the Mederma campaign with Empower MediaMarketing.  Finally, since we can start a campaign using a list of 25-50 keywords, it’s easy for any marketer to get started with no creative barriers and very little setup time.

Is there any difference between how demand-side platforms and ad networks use your data?

We are being cautious and deliberate about working with partners who appreciate the unique nature of our sharing data, and generally we favor more direct opportunities with publishers and advertisers so we can optimize our own data for higher results.  That being said, it’s easy for us to buy media ourselves and create segments, or, with the right partner, allow our segments to be consumed within a larger demand-side platform.

Do you compensate publishers for data that is collected and used for targeting?

ShareThis works directly with our publisher partners to help them identify and segment their audiences based on sharing data to help them monetize their content and increase advertising revenue. We believe sharing will help them either lift CPMs or add new types of inventory to their existing advertising deals. If publishers are interested in segmenting their audience, they can sign up for our closed beta for this service.

Where in the purchase funnel do you see ShareThis having the most benefit?

ShareThis has a range of advertising products that touch all parts of the funnel, from the top, where it’s important to reach influencers in the awareness phase, to the mid-funnel, where intent becomes important, and eventually to the bottom of the funnel, where conversion metrics are proven. We’re actively working with several brands to tie campaigns to their ideal metrics.

How does pricing work?

Pricing depends on the campaign details such as audience size and targeting that advertisers or publishers would like.

How many employees are you today? And are you near profitability? Any plans for more financing?

We are 25 employees, most of them in Mountain View, CA and a few sales and business development team members now in New York. We can’t comment on financing or profitability but we’re encouraged by the strong demand for sharing-based campaigns from both advertisers and publishers.

A year from now, what milestones would you like ShareThis to have accomplished?

For publishers, we hope to be delivering revenue, engagement, traffic and analytics, probably in that order. We want publishers to know that ShareThis is their best partner for really understanding the social behavior of their audience and the impact of their content. For brands, we hope to be one of the main standards for tapping into influence on the web – at scale. For users, we will continue to focus on simple, seamless sharing.

Follow Tim Schigel (@schigel), ShareThis (@sharethis) and AdExchanger.com (@adexchanger) on Twitter.

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