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Blue Lithium Founder Launches Social Media Informed Ad Net

  |  October 18, 2010   |  Comments

Blue Lithium founder Gurbaksh Chahal will use consumers' social interactions to target display ad campaigns.

Fledgling ad network RadiumOne launched in the U.S. today, and plans to target ads to users based on their social connections as well as their online behavior, by gathering data from sources such as blogs, social networks, sharing sites, social applications, and social games.

Gurbaksh Chahal, founder and former CEO of behavioral targeting network Blue Lithium will head up the network. Its launch coincides with the expiration of a non-compete arrangement he agreed to after the sale of Blue Lithium to Yahoo in 2007. Chahal went on to form social media sales house gWallet, which will now be positioned under the RadiumOne umbrella brand.

Speaking with ClickZ, Chahal said the company hopes to add increased efficiencies to display advertising by combining social data with behavioral information to inform more targeted media buys. The platform will attempt to analyze interactions between users to help identify the types of audiences of most relevance to advertisers, and then build out look-alikes and audience models based on those factors.

"The trends of social networking and social interactions have transformed how consumers use the Web. The new data that is available will allow us to deliver ads to them that really matter," Chahal said, adding that he hopes to "pick up where Blue Lithium left off."

In order to help dictate the direction of the company, RadiumOne has also formed an advisory board with representatives from agencies and brands, including Marc Ruxin, chief innovation officer at Universal McCann, and Eric Bader, chief strategy officer at IPG-owned Initiative.

Data for the network will be gleaned from a range of social-oriented sources such as blogging platforms, URL shorteners, social networks, sharing sites, social applications, and social games. GWallet, for example, can provide information on interactions between users on its network of social games, currently live on platforms such as Facebook.

RadiumOne will then use that information to form clusters of people who know one another and share common interests, then target those users with ads, and build out "look-alike" targeting profiles in order to scale campaigns with speed. "Blue Lithium did a great job of behavioral targeting, but scale was an issue. Supply was limited based on the size of the audience," Chahal said. Modeling look-alike audiences based on social data will help deliver both scale and relevance, he suggested.

The platform will also provide "social retargeting" capabilities, through which ads will be served to users based on their social connections. For example, consumers could be targeted with an ad for a product already being used by a friend or family member - a feature reminiscent of Facebook's ability to target friends of "fans" across its own network. Data from Facebook and Twitter will not be directly available to RadiumOne, but its relationship with services such as URL shorteners could give it a glimpse into activity on those sites, too.

Inventory will come from a range of premium comScore 500 sites, Chahal said, with publisher AMI among the first, bringing to it brands including Men's Fitness, Shape, and Natural Health among others.

RadiumOne is so confident in its ability to outperform other ad networks; it's currently offering a money back guarantee to advertisers if it doesn't. The company has already conducted trial campaigns with one of the world's largest sporting and fashion brands with great success, Chamal said.


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Jack Marshall

Jack Marshall was a staff writer and stats editor for ClickZ News from 2007 until August 2011. 

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