Friday, September 23, 2011

Start-Up Watch COD: RadiumOne delivers precise targeting and scale by comprehensively analyzing social sharing

Chances are, people connected to you are pretty aware of what interests you. Chances are people connected to you know what you are thinking about buying. Naturally there are more than a few reasons for this – not least that we share our interests through our daily usage of social media. I am looking for a new fridge, so I ask people about their fridges.
I am seriously thinking about buying a Lincoln MKZ (that’s actually true in my case…) so I ask people what they think of them. With so much research showing us how much MORE we value other people’s opinions than we do marketing messages, it should surprise no one that we actively discuss products and services online that reveal our interests and purchase intent.
Interestingly, few targeting methodologies have capitalized on this. It follows that there’s real business opportunity in leveraging this insight in a big way.
Enter RadiumOne. RadiumOne is an SF-based start-up focused on collecting as much information as it can that relates to what we share online, and using that to deliver passionate and engaged audiences.
While they also leverage the basic “behavioral targeting” data and approaches as a supplement, their “secret sauce” comes from their ShareGraph platform that analyzes enormous amounts of social sharing activity across the open web’s many different platforms to identify audiences that are clearly interested in categories, brands, and products.
It’s not just FB or Twitter data. Rather, their goal is to capture the preponderance of social sharing wherever and how it occurs. Access to many different sources of data can be really beneficial because it means they can identify multiple types of social interactions reflecting an interest, as well as better gauge depth of interest. Intuitively, I think it’s also likely that we may talk about different kinds of products in different places. More access = more insight. Says Doug Chavez, VP Marketing,
“When it comes to social sharing data, more is better. That’s why our focus is on capturing the broadest possible range of social sharing data sources. We were delighted to hear Mark Zukerberg say that the key metric Facebook is focused on over the next five years is sharing. It lends even more credence to our strategy. But our approach is to reach beyond a single community to encompass as much as possible of the exponential social sharing happening on the open web.”
An important aspect of ShareGraph is that it operates in near real time. Social sharing taking place today is reflected in its methodology and targeting today. That’s a big advantage because if you think about most “behavioral” data takes significant time to get gathered, parsed, bundled, packaged and sold to brands. While our interests and intended purchases may be noodled over for much longer than a day, it’s clear that the more recent the data, the more relevant it may be. A month from now I may have purchased my MKZ, or indeed a Cadillac CTS. Whereas an hour from now it’s pretty likely that I won’t have yet, so there’s still time to influence my purchase.
Now consider this. With auto, the decision process takes months. For your decision on where to go for dinner tonight, the process can only take so long. When a tool gets insights in near real time, far more purchases are effectable.
RadiumOne is focused on using a different data set to identify ideal media opportunities. That’s important because with so many other media solutions providers focusing on the same data sets, many brands have long passed the point of diminishing returns using conventional approaches.
While much of the data used by Radium One is social in origin, the media aren’t, or at least aren’t necessarily. This may help some brands be more comfortable because they can define and refine a white list against which Radium One will buy.
I like unique approaches that try to identify a different path to results. Innovation is far more likely to change the game than making minute variations on the same theme. RadiumOne strikes me as an important new direction for targeting, and perhaps even more importantly a more mature approach to leveraging social in service of brand objectives.

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