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Socialbakers CEO Discusses Social Analytics And In-Feed Native Measurement

SBPlenty of companies offer social analytics, but the industry seems to lack a unified definition of what constitutes social native marketing and how best to measure sponsored content on social channels.

And according to analytics company Socialbaker's CEO and co-founder, Jan Rezab, all content is going to move to social channels one way or another.

In June, Socialbakers acquired Chicago-based startup EdgeRank Checker to help the company hone its native ad metrics and help define standardization for social measurement.

Most recently, the company unwrapped a platform for tracking and ranking brands that produce the most consistently engaging content for their audiences. Socialbakers debuted the platform, dubbed Smart Storytellers, at Social Media Week in London late last month.

Socialbakers mines data from a number of social networks to offers marketers competitively comparative intel.

“We do math around publically and privately available data and visualize it in the best possible way across multiple networks,” explained Rezab.

With 300-plus employees, Socialbakers has more than doubled in size in the past year. The company is headquartered in Prague and operates 13 offices in 11 countries. Since its launch in 2009, Socialbakers has racked up more than 2,500 clients across verticals, among them Louis Vuitton and Nestle. To date, the company has raised $34 million in total funding.

Rezab spoke to AdExchanger about best practices for monitoring and measuring data from increasing social interactions.

ADEXCHANGER: What differentiates Socialbakers from other analytics companies?

JAN REZAB: Social analytics is a fascinatingly crowded space, but not if you differentiate between two types of companies. We should subtract data agencies that take data analysis from a company like us, interpret it and call it social media analytics. That is technically a social analytics service, but that sector is a service built on top of our data.

Social listening companies also aren’t exactly social analytics companies. Google Analytics is a form of social listening, for example, but it doesn’t offer intel from other channels or competitors. You’d have to look at someone like comScore on top of Google Analytics in order to add on market research, and you’d still need media monitoring. Socialbakers does all the monitoring, listening and analytics in one place.

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Beyond The Share: Hootsuite Raises $60M As It Preps For Social Ads

MattSwitzerHootsuite, which raised $60 million in new venture financing from an unnamed Boston asset manager Thursday (it has $250 million now in total financing), is at a major crossroads. As it branches into enterprise markets, the company is also planning a bigger push into advertising.

As a consumer-facing platform, Hootsuite – a $1 billion company with its latest round of funding – has 10 million users across 200 countries. But the company’s a formidable enterprise play too, with 1,600 corporate customers. This latter focus is Hootsuite’s moneymaker, and the company has appointed dozens of execs to lead the charge – one being Rob Begg, an ex VP for Salesforce.com’s Marketing Cloud.

Over the next few quarters, Hootsuite will develop advertising products, which has been a consideration since Twitter introduced Promoted Tweets, said Matt Switzer, VP of corporate development at Hootsuite.

Although Hootsuite could foreseeably pack a punch with its own paid product, Switzer stressed the value of partnerships: "we have continued to talk to the rest of the social networks about how they’re monetizing through paid media and how we can support them."

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Digital Media Vet Russ Fradin Talks Social, Adify and M&A

RussFradinRuss Fradin’s been around the ad tech block.

He sold his self-serve ad network startup Adify, since shuttered, to Cox Enterprises back in 2008; he’s on the board at both TubeMogul and comScore; and he served as EVP of corporate development at comScore for four years, starting in 2000, when the then newly launched online measurement company didn’t even have customers.

Now he’s in his fourth year as CEO of Dynamic Signal, the “employee advocacy” company he co-founded in 2010 after staying on to run Adify for a couple of years post-acquisition. Dynamic Signal raised $12 million in Series C funding in August, part of which it used to acquire content marketing cloud company PaperShare.

Fradin agrees that the term “employee advocacy,” Dynamic Signal’s bread and butter, is “probably a bad name for what we do,” but “we haven’t come up with a better one yet.”

Simply stated, it’s about providing employees with the tools they need to talk about the brands they work for on social without any friction. It’s actually not so far off, at least philosophically, from the fundamental idea that underpinned Adify: relationship building, whether that be with target consumers online via paid media or social engagement.

“When we sold Adify, we were watching marketing evolve,” Fradin said. “Advertisers don’t just want to buy ads on niche sites, they want to build deep relationships with these segments.”

AdExchanger caught up with Fradin.

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Twitter Rolls Out Lookalike Audiences, New Mobile Ad IDs, Targeting By Phone Number

twitter-crm-usethisTwitter’s Tailored Audiences just got a little more more tailored.

Advertisers can now augment their customer data using mobile advertising IDs and mobile phone numbers as a way to reach existing customers and increase audience size. In essence, the move is an extension of Twitter’s Tailored Audiences for CRM retargeting, which allows advertisers to use hashed non-PII email address to retarget existing customers.

Twitter also rolled out the ability to target lookalike audiences, a function that seems pretty similar to Facebook’s tool of the same name. Twitter’s lookalike modeling uses a proprietary algorithm that examines modeled users looking for similarities related to behaviors, interests, location, demographic attributes and engagement patterns.

Twitter described its enhanced offerings in a blog post on Tuesday as “part of improved targeting options to help advertisers reach additional users similar to their existing audiences.”

Tailored Audiences, Twitter’s seeming answer to the Facebook Exchange (FBX), officially launched back in December after running retargeting and database matching tests in July. Twitter has appeared to follow Facebook’s lead with a number of its recent roll-outs, including site retargeting, CRM targeting and now retargeting via lookalike audiences. (Facebook also makes it possible to target users by phone numbers through Custom Audiences.)

At the time of the original launch of Tailored Audiences, Alex Andreyev, director of omnichannel marketing at Neo@Ogilvy, referred to Twitter’s Tailored Audiences as “following in the footsteps of Facebook’s audience-buying strategies. They’re taking user cookie behavior (first- and third-party) to power retargeting and audience profile opportunities within their native ad units, similar to what Facebook did with FBX.”

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What Are Pinterest's Marketing Interests?

joel meek pinterestPinterest is one of those up-and-comers in the world of social advertising.

The image-based social network doesn’t divulge audience numbers, but comScore pegs it at around 60 million monthly active users (MAUs).

Of course, that’s not quite the volume of Twitter’s 271 million MAUs or Facebook’s 1.3 billion, but it’s still nothing to sneeze at, especially as activity on branded Pinterest pages affect in-store merchandising and promotional decisions. Just ask Nordstrom or Vineyard Vines.

There’s a marked difference in how Pinterest works with marketers. Both Facebook and Twitter have invested so heavily in advertising and marketing products – CRM matching programs, retargeting, video, trusted partner programs and ecommerce tools – that it’s fair to say they’re each building internal ad and marketing tech stacks, designed to extract value from consumer activities within each social network’s walled garden.

“A lot of sites want to keep you on the service for as long as possible,” said Joel Meek, head of Pinterest’s online sales and operations. “We want to take you off of Pinterest, go on that trip, redo your living room or get the clothes for the party you’re going to. We want to see a lot of action.”

Pinterest views itself as a discovery portal, through which consumers might find inspiration to travel, create or buy products they weren’t actively considering. From there, Pinterest tries to direct those users away from its own platform to the branded sites where they can purchase.

This goal informs Pinterest’s current marketing product build-out, from an analytics and reporting dashboard released in late August to Promoted Pins, a paid media unit still in beta (there’s no timeline for a general release).

Meek spoke with AdExchanger.
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Sprinklr Acquires Social Ads Platform TBG Digital

PaidSocialSocial media management company Sprinklr has acquired Facebook and Twitter ads platform TBG Digital in a deal estimated under $50 million, the companies revealed Thursday.

Sprinklr's been busy on the acquisitions front. In February, it snapped up Razorfish cofounder Jeff Dachis's social media marketing and services firm Dachis Group. London-based TBG Digital was founded as TBG London Limited in 2001 and manages more than $100 million in ad spend annually, according to a Sprinklr spokesperson. TBG has close to 100 employees and when the acquisition closes, Sprinklr will have close to 500 employees.

In 2012, TBG had its Facebook Preferred Marketing Developer badge removed for allegedly discussing Facebook product developments with clients. The company, however, still maintained access to the Facebook ads API despite its revoked preferred developer status. A TBG spokesperson claimed it will soon regain this status.

"My personal belief is we're done with interruptive marketing," Ragy Thomas, Sprinklr's founder and CEO told AdExchanger in a recent interview. "There's this whole fuss about content marketing, but content is only one component. There's data, context, social connections and insights and I think we're getting to 'value-driven marketing' where content finds you through your network."

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LinkedIn Q2 Revenue Soars, Says Bizo Will 'Anchor' B2B Marketing Toolset

linkedinProfessional social networking platform LinkedIn on Thursday posted Q2 revenue of $534 million, a 47% YoY increase from $364 million.

Marketing Solutions revenue, now 20% of LinkedIn's total business, was $101 million for the second quarter, a 44% uptick from last year. Talent Solutions and Premium Subscriptions account for 60% and 20% of revenue, respectively.

LinkedIn is marching to better monetize its 300 million-member-strong platform. Forty-five percent of its traffic is mobile. Last week, the company acquired B2B data marketing company Bizo for $175 million and rolled out a feature dubbed "Direct Sponsored Content," allowing brands to publish, test and optimize content directly in the LinkedIn news feed as opposed to only company pages.

Specifically referencing the Bizo buy, and whether or not it is comparable to Twitter's MoPub purchase, CEO Jeff Weiner during the Q2 earnings call said the platform will "anchor our B2B marketing solutions platform. We're excited about that when you think about the nexus of B2B (marketing). I would characterize it less as an ad network play, although our customers will be able to nurture, prospect (leads) on LinkedIn and off."

Steve Sordello, LinkedIn's CFO, added that Bizo will help "create a larger B2B focused business. … [We] plan to maintain a specific portion of the business for multichannel advertising."

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For Social Media Leads, Automation Begets Automation

automationThe proliferation of customer relationship management (CRM) platforms and marketing automation platforms has allowed business-to-business (B2B) marketers to focus higher up the sales funnel and seek out vendors to automate lead gathering.

At the same time, the growth of social media has provided a wealth of data on potential customers. It’s led some marketers to look toward automating their outreach in social media as well as use newly available data to beef up their existing lead lists.

“The kinds of things we’ve automated – with marketing automation platforms like Eloqua and Marketo – are the process of engaging with prospects,” said Lori Wizdo, marketing analyst at Forrester, referring to automating activities such as email campaigns and website behavior tracking. “But I can only engage in a relevant way if I have good insight into potential buyers. There is a lot of digital information available out there but it isn’t easy for marketers to harvest it.”

That available digital information is becoming more useful as CRM tools have become capable of handling it. It’s led to what Leadspace CEO Doug Bewsher calls the “third generation of CRM,” where a company like his is able to automate what is being gathered at the top of the sales funnel.

“The first generation was about putting data into databases, and the second generation was about building automation platforms [like Salesforce or Marketo],” Bewsher said. The focus for Leadspace is to use public and proprietary social data to layer on top of a client’s existing sales platforms and find new potential clients, or add color to existing ones.
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Facebook Ad Prices And Performance Climbed In Q2

kool-aidThe cost of Facebook ads is on the rise – but advertisers don’t seem to mind because they’re seeing results. At least for now.

According to the most recent Q2 benchmark report from Facebook ad partner Nanigans, the click-through rate (CTR) on Facebook ads was up 146% year over year and rose 47% from the first quarter. Spend on unpublished page posts, mobile app install ads, and domain ads comprised 87% of Facebook spend this quarter.

Of course, there’s also CPM to match, which is at $1.95, an increase of 218% from this time last year. And cost per click is also on the upswing for Facebook. The average CPC for Facebook ads, both desktop and mobile, rose 7% from Q1 to $0.55. For those counting, that’s a 29% YoY increase.

Nanigans’ ecommerce customers, which include Rue La La and eBay, saw CTRs rise 111% since Q2 2013. On the gaming side, Nanigans clients, of which Wooga is one, saw a massive CTR uptick of 579%, a growth related to the general move from desktop to mobile in the gaming space. It's a shift Facebook has rushed to meet, with its expanding Install Ads program and the mobile ad network, launched at the f8 conference back at the end of April.  (more…)


Facebook Acquires Ad Tech To Zero In On Publishers

PubPushFacebook’s purchase of video supply-side platform (SSP) LiveRail for $500 million underpins its deeper foray into video advertising and positions the social network as a major force in premium publisher monetization.

While some experts argue the purchase is a direct response to Google’s recent launch of its programmatic video marketplace Google Partner Select, the sum of Facebook’s recent moves – including expanding its targeting mechanisms via the Facebook Audience Network (FAN) – indicates a greater strategy.

“Very quietly, Facebook has developed all these hooks into all these publishers, whether it was through Facebook comments or Facebook Connect, [but they haven’t really] marketed it as being this massive publisher network,” said Brian Shin, founder and CEO of online video company Visible Measures.

“LiveRail, as well as [Facebook-owned ad server] Atlas, really plugged a hole where Facebook was being embedded inside Web pages, primarily, and not so much mobile apps and things like that," he added, " LiveRail and Atlas combined… [will create improvements] to ad flow.”

Facebook’s technologies, in aggregate, give it access to what sources describe as one of the most robust video ad-serving technologies on the market as well as the ability to extend brand spend beyond Facebook’s walled garden. Facebook can accomplish this via premium publisher networks in the LiveRail marketplace. Adding Facebook audience data could also make these video buys much richer and more targeted.

"LiveRail is Facebook's supply side platform for ads off of Facebook -- Twitter has MoPub and now Facebook has LiveRail," as Jason Stein, founder and president of social media agency Laundry Service described it. "If you're placing a video ad on Facebook, you can simply extend this through FAN… whereas with a Facebook photo or link post, you'd need a different creative asset."

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