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Stephen Tarleton

AffinityAnswers Partners with LiveRamp to Expand Distribution of its “Mutual Affinity” Social Media Audience Data

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AUSTIN, TX (March 7 , 2017) AffinityAnswers, a platform for predictive branding powered by affinity algorithms that measure social data across 60,000 brands and 400 million people worldwide, today announced a partnership with LiveRamp™ a leading provider of omnichannel identity resolution. Through the partnership, AffinityAnswers will make its social media audience data actionable across the digital ecosystem including in premium and mobile publishers, demand-side platforms (DSPs), and other media platforms.

AffinityAnswers gauges the level of reciprocal, highly interactive social media activities (e.g., commenting, posting photos and videos, etc.) between brand audiences showing which fans of one brand have the highest affinity for another brand. By scoring audiences according to social engagement (i.e., “act-alike” modeling) the company can predict which audiences will be receptive to any particular brand and are therefore more likely to respond favorably.  Key use cases include gaining incremental insight to current customers and their brand affinities, and identifying target audiences with affinities to competitive brands.

LiveRamp’s IdentityLink™ resolves this data to a privacy-compliant consumer identifier leveraged by hundreds of brands and technology platforms for people-based marketing. In so doing, LiveRamp allows AffinityAnswers to connect their data to brands’ people-based marketing initiatives and extend the reach of the data across channels, maximizing the potential for monetization.

“AffinityAnswers approaches social affinity by recognizing that mutual affinity – a brand’s fans liking a TV show, for example, and in turn that TV show’s fans liking your brand – is key to identifying a brand’s most qualified addressable audiences,” says Sree Nagarajan, AffinityAnswers’ CEO. “This is actionable data that goes beyond demographic targeting and positively impacts branding KPIs, such as video completion rates at twice the industry norm. We are pleased to offer this capability to marketers through our partnership with LiveRamp.”

“AffinityAnswers provides a data set that helps brands find qualified addressable audiences with significant reach,” says Luke McGuinness, head of data partnerships at LiveRamp. “LiveRamp’s IdentityLink data store and identity resolution capabilities help marketers employ AffinityAnswers’ data to gain new insights about customers, build loyalty, and reach new prospects.”

LiveRamp, an  Acxiom® company (NASDAQ: ACXM), offers brands and the companies they work with identity resolution that is integrated throughout the digital ecosystem, and provides the foundation for omnichannel marketing. Our services transform the technology platforms used by our clients into people-based marketing channels that improve the relevancy of marketing, and ultimately allow consumers to better connect with the brands and products they love. LiveRamp is an Acxiom company, delivering privacy-safe solutions to market and honoring the best practices of leading associations including the Digital Advertising Alliance’s (DAA) ICON and App Choices programs.

AffinityAnswers Used by brands, agencies and ad tech companies for activation, planning (media, creative, sponsorships), measurement, and strategic insights, AffinityAnswers measures across 60,000 brands and 400 million users worldwide the level of reciprocal, highly interactive social media activities to go beyond standard “look-alike” audiences to discover and activate higher performing “act-alike” segments for programmatic, social, or TV advertising. Its advanced machine learning technology is an unprecedented 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.

Founded in 2005 and headquartered in Austin TX, AffinityAnswers has offices in New York City, Chicago, Los Angeles and Bangalore. 

Extending Reach with Grammy Winning Musicians – Without Sacrificing Relevance

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This Sunday is one of the biggest nights of the year for music – the 59th Annual Grammy Awards.  Not only will the show feature live performances by many of today’s biggest artists, but it will crown the top of the top in popular music.

Even before awards are given, the number of nominations per artist give a good indication of who will have a big night Sunday.  Beyoncé leads all artists with a whooping nine nominations.  Close behind are Rihanna, Kanye West, and Drake each with a total of eight nominations.  Adele came in a bit lower with five total nominations, but as with Beyoncé, she was nominated for the “big 3” – Album of the Year, Record of the Year, and Song of the Year.

Whoever ends up winning the major – and most – awards will have obvious implications within the music industry, but also provides opportunities for marketers.  Certainly having a Grammy-winner as a spokesperson can be a benefit for a brand, but for all but a few large brands it is not necessarily possible.

But there are other ways to access the audience of a musician.  For example, here at AffinityAnswers, we build audiences (available as ODC / BlueKai segments through most buying platforms) based on the social affinities of 400 million consumers.  So, not only can we build an audience for Grammy nominees like Beyoncé and Adele, but we can also determine what other musicians, celebrities, TV shows, movies, and even brands to which these audience would be receptive.

Let’s take a look at five of the top Grammy nominated performers.  For these artists (along with 60,000 other entities such as brands, TV shows, movies, athletes, franchises, etc.) we track the active social interactions of their audience.  We also track other entities that this audiences interact with, and then measure the social affinities between the two entities using our TrueAffinity™ algorithm and 0-to-10 scoring process. Below is a table showing three of the top brand affinities for Beyoncé, Adele, Rihanna, Kanye West (finally – a last name!), and Drake.

Each of these brands has a high TrueAffinity™ score with the associated music audience.  This means that the audience of the musician is statistically more likely to be receptive to messages from the brand.  And the beauty of TrueAffinity™ is that it captures organic relationships, as well as paid ones; Puma is an additional high affinity brand for Rihanna (as well as Drake and Beyoncé).

Want to learn about the audience segments currently available via ODC that would be best to extend your brand’s reach, while maintaining relevance?  Check out our ActivationPlanner app.  Or just send us an email at hello@affinityanswers.com, and we can create a custom audience segment for you.

Digging Deeper: Discovering How Ads Perform Across Social Media

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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  Adotas sat down with him to find out more.

Read the full article

Think You’ll Get the Biggest Bang for Your Super Bowl Spend? Think Again

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With a price tag of $5.5 million for a 30-second spot in the upcoming Super Bowl, agencies and brands try to do everything possible to amplify the brand messages before, during and after those precious 30 ticks. But not all of them have access to the tools that would maximize their reach on social media platforms.

For example, if they missed how brands relate to one another through the interaction of their respective social audiences, they might have learned that some brands are not even a good fit for the Super Bowl.

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Social Affinities of Alexa and Yui – Two Standouts from CES

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I know what you’re thinking – not another blog post about the top products at CES. Well, this one is a bit different than others posted this week. No, not because I did not actually attend CES, but because it is the only one to examine the social affinities of a couple of the top products at CES this year, and how consumer preferences (measured via our mutual affinity metric) can be used to help bring these products to market.

Almost every CES recap I’ve read has referenced Amazon Echo’s voice assistance, Alexa. Amazon was not even an official CES attendee, but Alexa showed up in products from cars, phones, refrigerators, washing machines, lamps, and robots made by manufacturers such as Lenovo, LG, Ford and GE.  By creating a device-agnostic operating system, Amazon is leading the AI in the home movement, while building out even more pathways into their commerce engine.

As manufacturers in Amazon’s ecosystem look to launch Alexa-embedded products, they will need to discover the right audiences for their marketing campaigns.  This is an area where the social affinities discovered by AffinityAnswers’ TrueAffinity™ (TA) metric can help.  TrueAffinity™ is the first brand interaction metric that indicates the strength of active, mutual engagement between brands’ audiences over time. The higher the score, measured on scale of 0.00 to 10.00, the more receptive one brand’s’ audience is to messaging and content from another brand.  All TrueAffinity scores represent statistically significant, positive, mutual affinity and are designed to be actionable.

We can look at the existing Amazon Echo audience, and discover other audiences with high mutual affinities, which are perfect for Alexa-powered product campaigns as they are by definition likely to engage with Alexa content.  As you may expect, some of the top affinities with Amazon Alexa are tech gadgets, but what you may not expect are the top two non-Amazon tech brands are Apple Watch (TA = 8.63) and iPad Mini (TA = 8.57).  And though Amazon will not be replacing Siri anytime soon, their audiences could be great targets for Alexa products.  Other brands, movies and musicians with high affinities are not as obvious:  Ryan Bingham = 8.80, Patron Tequila = 8.53, Kwik Trip = 8.51, Capital One = 8.33, and The Daily Show = 7.66.  Again, these are great audiences for programmatic advertising, and some even partner opportunities (I’m thinking Capital One more so than Patron – I’m not sure the frictionless commerce of Alexa and tequila are a good match).

Alexa affinities

Another Standout product of this year’s CES came from Toyota, though it will be years before the product hits the market.  Toyota introduced a concept car, called Concept-i.  Like Amazon Echo, it too is embedded with a digital assistant, named Yui in Toyota’s case.  While other manufacturers are going straight towards driverless “pod” seating, Toyota designed the Concept-I with an emphasis on the steering wheel and driver.  The steering wheel is also the central location of their AI, which will learn driver preferences and proactively assist or take over driving as needed.

Cocept-i

As Toyota builds out their ecosystem around the car, social affinities can be used to help determine partnerships that will resonate with the Toyota audience, such as:

  • Financial institution HSBC (TA = 8.07)
  • Consumer electronics manufacturer Alpine (TA = 7.98)
  • The Samsung Galaxy smart phone (TA = 7.98)
  • Communications service provider AT&T (TA = 7.93)
  • Nespresso coffee (TA = 7.74)
  • McDonald’s restaurant (TA = 7.69)
  • Apple Watch (TA = 7.65)
  • Xbox gaming system (TA = 7.64)

As these machine-learning powered AI products enter the market, it only make sense that marketers use more sophisticated method to brand and market them.  TrueAffinity, AffinityAnswers’ branding metric, is one such method.  Contact us to learn more.

AffinityAnswers welcomes Scott Turner as our new CRO

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AffinityAnswers is excited to announce that Scott Turner has joined the team as our new (and first) Chief Revenue Officer.  In this role, Scott will be leading our Sales, Marketing, Business Development and Client Service teams, with responsibility for our go-to-market strategies and revenue growth.

Scott joins us from GfK-MRI where he led the Agency / Advertiser team for the past 13 years.  He joined MRI as VP/Regional Sales in the Chicago office in 1991 and during his 25-year tenure at MRI, he worked closely with agencies and brands, helping clients leverage consumer insights to inform and measure traditional and digital media plans.

As a member of the MRI executive committee, Scott played an important role in product development, overall data strategy, and helping MRI diversify and grow their revenue from non-traditional sectors. Additionally, Scott spent 9 years with Arbitron (Nielsen Audio), working in the Radio and TV divisions, primarily serving the top 50 agencies and advertisers throughout the central and southwest regions.

Scott is a graduate Southern Illinois University @ Carbondale and the Second City Players Workshop in Chicago.  A past president of the Media Research Club of Chicago, Scott has done postgraduate work at the University of Chicago’s/Booth School of Business.  He is also a husband and proud father of two daughters and one son, all of whom live and work in the greater Chicago area, where Scott resides.

“I look forward to leading the Affinity Answers sales and client-service teams and helping our clients obtain maximum value from their media investments, as branding becomes more and more addressable.  Our unique approach to leveraging social affinities will help provide key inputs and signals to investments around programmatic branding and help integrate media efforts, rather than building new silos.”

Scott’s experience supporting National and Local campaigns via TV, Print, Radio, Direct Marketing, and Digital channels will be key to helping AffinityAnswers fulfill our mission of making branding more effective.

Yes, Virginia, there is a Black Friday programmatic segment

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New 3rd-party Holiday segments available via ODC

Here at AffinityAnswers, we specialize in creating audience segments. But not just any audiences – these are audiences with a predicted high likelihood to engage with a brand, event, show, team or celebrity. We do this by collecting billions of active, social engagements, then use this data to discover audience affinities. The result is predictive branding, the latest evolution of programmatic advertising.

Ready or not (professionally and personally), the holiday season begins in earnest next week. We know you’ve “been good” and completed your holiday campaign planning, but even the best media plans sometimes have scaling or pacing issues. To help you reach the right audience, AffinityAnswers has created seven holiday segments: Thanksgiving, Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, Cyber Monday, Christmas, New Years, and Hanukkah to complement our 1,500 other segments covering many categories: auto, CPG, retail, finance, travel, TV, radio, print, music, movies, sports, games, celebrities, etc.

To sculpt these holiday segments, we aggregated the social affinity audiences of dozens of brands relating to each of the specific holidays. For instance, the Thanksgiving segment contains brand audiences such as Butterball and Macy’s, where Christmas segment is made up of audiences of Christmas movies, TV shows and Christmas-related brands.

All the above 3rd-party audiences are available via our partner, Oracle Data Cloud, and can be purchased directly from your DSP or digital buying platform; just search “Affinity Answers” to find our branded segments. Additionally, we can tailor bespoke audiences for you for any future programmatic campaigns.

If you would like help strategizing which affinity segments will work best for your next campaign, including your holiday efforts, simply email us at hello@affinityanswers.com.  We’ll help you select the best segments for your campaign goals.