It's party time, ladies and gentlemen. Exactly one month after announcing the move, Google has updated its terms of service, allowing the company to use your profile information in ads. That means your face, name and personal details will start popping up all over your network. Yay!
140 Proof, a startup that says it delivers targeted ads to more than 50 social apps, is adding a video ad unit to its lineup.
Like the company’s existing 140-character text units, the videos can show up in the social stream of any app running 140 Proof ads (and yes, they should work on mobile). Users should be able to click and watch the video without leaving the page, rate it, and bring up a feed of all the tweets mentioning the advertiser’s hashtag.
Co-founder and CTO John Manoogian III told me via email that 140 Proof’s biggest advertisers have been asking for video ads “for a long time.” He pointed to several things that make this a good move for the company. For one, it allows brands to deliver video ads targeted at people with a specific interest, and to deliver those ads in a social stream. For another, it places the videos in the perfect context for further sharing. Manoogian even pitches this as a way to help your standard TV commercial stay relevant.
“The new video ad unit lets brands get more value out of that expensive 30-second TV commercial that lots of viewers aren’t seeing, since they’re now watching shows on Tivo or Hulu or (ahem) BitTorrent,” Manoogian says. “The social video ad unit lets brands reach those users in a context where they are already looking for ‘the next big thing’.”
The company is also sharing some numbers about its recent progress. In 2011, 140 Proof says that it increased revenue by 700 percent, that the average media buy across all customers doubled, and that it tripled its headcount. During that time, the company also raised a $2.5 million Series B from BlueRun Ventures and others. Advertisers include UPS, Nike, Victoria’s Secret, and many others.
Startup XA.net has been offering its technology to Facebook advertisers for several years, but this week, with the launch of optimalKeyWord, it’s trying to reach new customers who need help finding the right keywords for their campaigns.
CEO Rob Leathern demonstrated the service for me last week. He said XA’s current clients are big social network advertisers, normally spending at least $10,000 on Facebook ads each month. With optimalKeyword, Leathern said he can help smaller advertisers address a common question: What are the most effective keywords for reaching the audience that I want?
There are two main pieces to the optimalKeyword service. First, there’s the Expander, where advertisers can build enter a keyword and get a list of other keywords that reach similar audiences. For example, if TechCrunch wanted to launch a Facebook advertising campaign (I’m not sure why we’d want to do that, but go with it), obviously we could advertise to Facebook users based on the keyword “TechCrunch,” but optimalKeyword says that we could reach a similar audience by advertising to Facebook users who are interested in Klout, Esquire (?), and Yelp. It also tells us the reach of each term and the male-female breakdown.
The other product, which hasn’t launched yet, is called Explore. In some ways, it’s similar to Expand — you type in a keyword and find out about related keywords. However, instead of just getting a list, Explore visualizes the relationship between different keywords. You can enter multiple keywords and see what terms they have in common (for example, you could reach fans of Breaking Bad, The New Yorker, and Mad Men by targeting “louis ck”), and also click on individual terms to find new relationships.
This is all built on XA’s existing analytics technology, Leathern said, and it also integrates with XA’s other services (so you could export the keywords into the company’s optim.al campaign manager for example) — but it’s much more affordable. Pricing for optimalKeyword Expand starts at $25 per 10 credits, and each credit gets you one keyword search.
What’s Tynt? Well, if you’ve ever tried to copy-and-paste a quote from an article and discovered that there was suddenly some extra text and a link attached (for example, “Read more: http://techcrunch.com/2010/04/16/borthwick-twitter-thanks-bit-ly/#ixzz0lIiy3q6f”), you have Tynt to thank for that. Not only does it add attribution to copied text, it also uses copy-and-paste data to make larger recommendations about a publisher’s search engine optimization and social networking lift.
33Across CEO Eric Wheeler describes the deal as helping his company reach “both sides of the ecosystem” — where 33Across wants to help advertisers understand their social reach, Tynt is doing the same for publishers. He says 33Across will continue to offer publisher tools under the Tynt name. At the same time, the 500,000 publishers who work with Tynt will now have access to 33Across’ “Brand Graph“, which identifies people who are likely to become loyal to a specific brand, based on their social connections and interests.
The acquisition price was not disclosed, but Wheeler says the entire Tynt team will be joining 33Across. The company also says that post-acquisition, it now has “the largest social and interest graph across in the world,” with 1.25 billion “users.” The comparison to companies like Google and Facebook seems a little odd, since 33Across doesn’t have users in the same way those other companies do, but maybe I’m just quibbling with the wording. Anyway, the point is clear — 33Across and Tynt have data about a lot of people.