RadiumOne Detects Ad Opportunity in Social Media

The hoopla over Facebook, the ongoing march of Twitter, the continuing advance of location-based services like Foursquare, and the increasing popularity of social games like FarmVille – all of these are signals that social media has essentially conquered the digital kingdom.

So it is no surprise that advertisers and media providers are now finding ways to link their world inextricably with the social media world. One interesting new player in the game is RadiumOne, just launched by Gurbaksh Chahal. Like anything else, a start-up is only as good as the entrepreneur behind it, and Chahal has credentials that makes one stand up and take notice. He started gWallet, a “next generation network” of social games and apps last year. Before that, he started and sold ClickAgents to Value Click and then started and sold the ad network BlueLithium to Yahoo.

Now Chahal is getting behind the concept of an ad network that he says will take advantage of “social retargeting” to identify the consumers that are best aligned with a brand’s customer base. He tells the Wall Street Journal,

“The big mega trend that has happened since Blue Lithium was acquired is social has become everything on the Internet. Sharing is the big phenomenon and no one has tapped into that as an enhancement of data.”

RadiumOne will use various social media sources to obtain anonymous user behavior data, but will not use data from Facebook, according to TechCrunch. The company’s ad-serving platform will offer up the right ads to the right social clusters of consumers at the right time. RadiumOne claims it can improve ad conversion rates by up to 500 percent. It is making an unusually bold guarantee: that it will “outperform any other ad network or refund the full cost of campaigns that run on the new network.”

RadiumOne’s “social retargeting” includes these key characteristics:

  • Plotting data on a social graph. As social media users share information like links, blog posts, videos and more, RadiumOne analyzes interactions and places these consumers on a social graph that classifies their behavior.
  • Forming “social clusters”. RadiumOne takes social data and segments the various interactions to form “social clusters” of people who know each other and share common interests. RadiumOne then leverages these new groups to serve ads that will generate results for brands. It also builds “lookalikes” of these users through its proprietary modeling algorithms.
  • Utilizing social interactions. RadiumOne can track consumers anonymously who share a link with the advertiser’s current customer base and serve these new prospects ads with which they are likely to engage.

There are two realities that RadiumOne faces in the marketplace, however:

  1. Quite a few companies already mine social data. The big social networks do it for their own targeting, as do other ad and game networks, so RadiumOne will have to work hard to differentiate itself and convince advertisers that it has something unique to sell. RadiumOne says its proprietary social retargeting algorithms make it unique, but that needs to be battle-tested against other networks.
  2. Perhaps an even larger issue is the possible consumer backlash against “ad stalking” that could occur as the result of advertisers using a retargeting strategy. Advertisers who don’t cap the amount of times a user will see an ad message are doing disservice rather than providing a reasonable approach to marketing. If an ad based on behavioral data “follows” a user relentlessly, it will become nuisance advertising, something the IAB and other industry groups want to minimize in the face of potential regulatory legislation.

RadiumOne claims it will use only comScore Top 500 sites, which will help its credibility. The guarantee is a smart marketing move that removes the risk of going with an unproven network. But will RadiumOne’s focus on social media be unique enough to make it radiate success?

About Barry Silverstein

Barry Silverstein is a freelance writer/marketing consultant. In addition to writing for ReveNews, he is a contributing writer to Brandchannel.com, the world’s leading online branding forum. He is the author of three marketing books, The Breakaway Brand (co-author, McGraw-Hill, 2005), Business-to-Business Internet Marketing (Maximum Press, 2003) and Internet Marketing for Technology Companies (Maximum Press, 2003). Barry ran his own Internet and direct marketing agency for twenty years. You can find Barry on Twitter @bdsilv.

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