When someone claims a digital network of 400 “friends,” undoubtedly including everyone from middle school girlfriends to office acquaintances, it’s not easy to tell who the real buddies are.
With this in mind, the founders of Media6degrees two years ago set out to build an ad platform that could trace an individual’s real circle of friends. It did so by engineering a combination of cookies and ad server logs to pinpoint a person’s interests and generate anonymous profiles of his or her real friends. The resulting ad network, which entered trial-mode back in May, has now been commercially released.
According to the company, any individual connected to an advertiser’s existing customer respond to ads two to thirty times more often than consumers targeted with simple demographic and geographic targeting.
Media6degrees chalks up the propensity of these individuals to buy similar products to the psychographic likenesses that naturally exist between friends. While that may be so, I’m more inclined to credit simple word of mouth. Whatever. If the company’s internal research is to be trusted, it would appear Media6degrees offers a compelling fusion of behavioral targeting and social marketing.
As CEO Joe Doran, an ex-Microsoftie, put it to me last spring, “The most important thing is not to look at the content but to look at the interactions between individuals. I’m defined not by my interactions on MySpace or on Facebook. I’m defined by my interactions with my friends.”