Digging Deeper: Discovering How Ads Perform Across Social Media


As story after story tries to assess how Super Bowl ads performed across social media, one company says that just measuring who got the most tweets or retweets or Facebook likes doesn’t surface the true value of social interaction for brands. To understand who among all of those Super Bowl social users has any real affinity towards the brands they talked about on Sunday night, you need to look at much deeper and more complex data sets, says Sree Nagarajan, the CEO of Affinity Answers (pictured below left). Adotas sat down with him to find out more.

Q: One of the biggest issues brands and their agencies they face in making their advertising effective is how to find their most qualified addressable audiences with significant reach. How can you help them?

Nagarajan: That is true. We do this by measuring across 60,000 brands and 400 million users worldwide the level of reciprocal, highly interactive social media activities (such as commenting, posting photos, retweeting, hashtagging or replying) between two brand audiences showing which fans of one brand have the highest affinity for the other brand. By scoring any cookie- or device ID-based audience according to social engagement (aka “react-a-like” modeling) we can predict which audiences will be receptive to your brand and are therefore more likely to respond favorably than the average consumer. True Answers enables branding at scale through these high-performing “react-alike” segments for programmatic video and display, social, or TV advertising.

Q: So you are not just adding up the social mentions as a measure of brand performance?

Nagarajan: No, in fact Affinity Answers pioneered TrueAffinity,™ a brand interaction metric that indicates the strength of active, mutual engagement between two brands’ audiences over time and approaches the concept of social-affinity uniquely, recognizing that only mutual affinity – your brand’s fans liking a TV show, for example, and in turn enough of that TV show’s fans liking your brand – is the correct key identifying a brand’s most qualified addressable audiences.

Mutual affinity is what many of us were missing in high-school when you had a crush on that girl/guy, but had no idea if they had a crush on you in return. That is what mutual affinity provides. Moreover, our dataset is a cross-channel recommendation engine that informs marketers about their audiences’ preference for thousands of TV shows, websites, apps, movies, music artists, and other consumer brands. This is actionable data that goes well beyond demographic targeting. This positively impacts branding KPIs, such as Audio/Video On Completion rates at close to 70% vs. 40% or about 2x the industry norm.

Q: Once you establish mutual affinity, how can that data be used?

Nagarajan: It can be used for activation, planning and measurement applications. Activation provides addressable, brand-specific audience data in programmatic platforms. Planning enables the matching of contextually relevant media with brands, as well as insight-driven strategies based on brand affinities. Our BrandPlanner™ app allows users to observe changes in brand affinities and gain a quick understanding of the strongest and weakest affinities across all 60,000 brands. For example, brands will spend close to $70B on sponsorships in 2017. Using TrueAffinity™, brands can clearly identify which social influencer or music performer has the strongest relationship with their brand. Measurement provides the industry’s first measure of the mid-funnel branding impact based on user affinities.

Q: Other companies measure social media and try to match look-alike audiences. What makes you different?

We do not buy media, nor do we hold any media inventory. This is to ensure that we remain a truly impartial arbiter in determining brands’ most qualified audiences and in what context they should be reached. We are also one of only a few companies to offer a complete suite of activation, planning and measurement applications.


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