Compass Labs Relaunches Behavior-Based Social Ad Targeting Platform


ADOTAS – Social media advertising company Compass Labs recently launched (without much fanfare, until right now) notable updates to its CLIQ platform, which targets ads to social media users based on behavior and social sharing, rather than through simple profile information and status updates. CLIQ launched relatively quietly back in September, 2011, and the new updates take advantage of the months spent analyzing the performance of campaigns that used CLIQ. During a conversation earlier today, Compass Labs CEO Dilip Venkatachari (pictured) explained the difference from the earlier release was “predominantly the insights.” While the first version was about advertising, “this version does the measurement of the advertising,” he said.

The updates allow brands to reach a target audience using a broader range of phrases, and they offer fan page analytics to better gauge sentiment toward and engagement with a brand, but Venkatachari and Compass Labs vice president of marketing Molly Glover Gallatin pointed out agencies really stand to benefit now from CLIQ’s insights. Via alerts and email notifications, agencies can set campaign rules, and they can create thousands of ads with different creative content, and designed with different audiences in mind, which CLIQ optimizes automatically. “We’ve done a lot with the [user interface] to make it more intuitive,” Gallatin said. “It’s Facebook — it’s 24-seven, right? If you’re an agency, you can’t go out for dinner” monitoring such a campaign. But with CLIQ’s automated functions, “it’s a huge stress reliever to know it’s not going to run out of control.” And, with CLIQ, Venkatachari points out, it’s possible to “do engagement measurement in real time. From a brand standpoint, that’s a key metric.”

According to Venkatachari, the thing that makes CLIQ distinct is the way it contextualizes social data. With many other companies looking to advertise across social media, “what they’re talking about is ‘liking,’ not what [users] are like,” he explained. He laid out the challenges presented by social media:  Over the rest of the web, to target an audience, “you need to know who it is and what they’re doing,” he explained. “Who it is comes from cookie-based data. You can’t do that on social media,” because it’s either technically impossible or somewhere on the spectrum of unsound ethics or illegality. And while targeting audiences across the web normally deals with “reading of the static content,”  that tactic doesn’t work so well in social media, he asserted. “It’s dynamic and it’s not grammatical,” he said of social data.

The solution, as far as Compass Labs is concerned, is to look at publicly available social data, interactions, Tweets, check-ins and the like, and users’ relationship graphs. The technology takes into account data from Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn — but, as Venkatachari explained, even if a user has one or more accounts with each of those networks, it evaluates and targets to each separately. “We don’t connect the dots,” he said, “for privacy reasons, [and] for the reason that you have given us a very different persona.” CLIQ then targets ads based on users’ specific interests, across a number of product/service categories. Venkatachari explained the goal is to seek out characteristics of audiences brands would want to reach. “Who are the best customers?” he said. “What are the characteristics of the most engaged audience?” To figure this out, the technology has to look at behavior and not just affinity toward a brand. Venkatachari pointed out how, with a particular high-end fashion brand, “80 percent of the people who ‘like’ it don’t have remotely the household income to afford it.” The whole process, Venkatachari said, “brings together marketing and advertising in an integrative manner.”



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