Buddy Media, a New York-based developer of social media applications for advertisers, has built tools that speed up the deployment of application-based campaigns across social networks. Using the system, clients like Anheuser-Busch and Reebok can rapidly create and manage apps on Facebook, MySpace, and other platforms.
Buddy Media built approximately 80 programs last year, and that was its limit due to staff and technology constraints. With the help of its new “Builder” tool, which can simultaneously administer applications on numerous platforms, CEO Mike Lazerow said the firm can handle up to 500.
“We need to be able to do apps in pretty much the same amount of time it takes to do banners,” he said.
In addition to accelerating its development process, Buddy Media can now recognize users as they interact with its applications across sites. Previously it had to maintain individual databases for each application on its own platform, which made it hard to scale or share data from one program with another. Now, using cookies and a centralized database, those limitations are gone.
The mingling of data from different applications creates opportunities to measure behaviors and customize future applications. While Buddy Media sits on all that data, Lazerow emphasized clients have exclusive rights to use it.
“Anything we build custom for clients, they own that data,” he said. “We can take someone who used an app for one client and retarget that user.”
The improved data capabilities are of most interest to return clients, of which Buddy Media has several. The company has built approximately eight apps for Anheuser-Busch, three for Reebok, and approximately four for Time Inc. For A-B, its deployments have included a VIP community for Bud Light Party cruise winners, and a “Check Your Dudeness” app tied to the brand’s TV campaign.
Buddy Media’s new tools can support integrations with Facebook Connect. For marketers, this could mean including a social media app on a branded Web site or other Web property. It can also handle integrations with small networks like Bebo and Hi5. For now, marketers have shown no interest in such opportunities.
“We’ve experienced no demand from brand advertisers for other platforms,” said Lazerow. “People are completely interested in Facebook and MySpace.”
Buddy Media isn’t the only app developer to ramp up its offerings this month. Living Social — a DC-based app firm that’s largely responsible for the current Facebook craze of list-sharing — recently bought another social networking tool, Buy Your Friend a Drink. The acquired company has established ties with point-of-sale systems in bars.
Lazerow believes Living Social and Buddy Media are members of a club of East Coast app companies that, while they don’t get as much attention as Bay Area start-ups, have a more practical bent than their rivals. He said another club member is New York-based Snap Interactive, developer of the “Are You Interested?” dating application. The East Coast app-vertising clique maintain lower profiles than Bay Area star-ups like Slide and RockYou, but Lazerow said its members are proud of their business sense.
“We set these up as businesses and we think of them as businesses,” he said.
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