Ad startup 140 Proof is opening up a partner platform for companies that want to take advantage of its social ad targeting.
The company currently delivers ads to 50 social apps, including Echofon, TweetCaster, and Plume. Underlying the network is something that 140 Proof calls “Interest Graph Targeting,” where users are assigned different “personas” based on what they say and who they follow. Those personas allow advertisers to serve ads to people with specific interests, and the new platform makes this interest targeting available to other companies.
Among other things, co-founder and CTO John Manoogian III pitches this as a way for brand advertisers to extend their reach beyond traditional advertising like TV. For example, if an advertiser wanted to reach people interested in Glee, they could run an ad during the show, but they could also target social network users who have commented about Glee or follow Glee-related accounts (as illustrated in the image above). Interest-based targeting will also be key if mobile ads are going to make money, he says.
Several mobile and social ad companies have already signed up, including Jumptap, Celtra, and OneLouder.
It seems like 140 Proof might face one of the common challenges of platform companies sometimes — balancing the needs of the platform with the other parts of the business. In this case, an ad network might be a customer of the platform but also a competitor with the 140 Proof network. However Manoogian says the market dwarfs any individual company, so it will be “a long time before we run into any channel conflicts.”
And while advertising is an obvious place to start, Manoogian and his co-founder and CEO Jon Elvekrog see broader possibilities for the platform. For example, they say that an e-commerce site could use 140 Proof targeting to deliver improved recommendations.