5 Questions for Andy Monfried

Founder and CEO, Lotame

Andy Monfried is perfectly aware that the name of his company is often unintentionally mangled when people say it aloud. “They mispronounce it 99.9 percent of the time,” Monfried says. “It’s pronounced low-tah-me. It’s a combination of locate, target and message.” The name certainly generates more conversation than that of Monfried’s previous company, Advertising.com, where he served as CEO.

Nowadays, as CEO of Lotame, which he founded in 2006, Monfried is immersed in social media, which he says will pretty soon encompass the entirety of the Internet. “I believe that ‘social media’ as a term will disappear and that the Web in general is becoming social,” he explains.

Though he has accounts with six social networks, Monfried’s current favorites are Facebook and Twitter. When we asked Monfried what the “favorite quotations” section of his Facebook profile says, he did need to check his profile to remind himself. “I never update my profile. People target profiles, but no one changes them. It’s more about what you do on social networks.”  (For the record, his choice quotes are “The journey is the prize” and “Winners never quit and quitters never win.”)

Where is social media headed in the next six months?
The days when people went to a specific community to interact with other people are coming to a close, evidenced by ESPN and CNN having Twitter feeds, Skittles having a Facebook page, etc. Additionally, I think social data will become the currency of online marketers and advertisers. It’s the way someone interacts within a community. Knowing that someone is writing on someone else’s wall, updating his or her status — that’s more revealing than anything, and the data is of huge currency. Frequency of use, how you communicate with others, what you produce — all those things are individual data points. There are literally hundreds.

What do you think of Facebook’s latest redesign?
Facebook is one of the leading innovators in the social space and for the most part they listen to their consumers. Some of the bigger brands can take a lesson from them. The new redesign works for me, but I still have to get used to it. The really cool thing is that if I disagree with the design or express an opinion on what they should do differently, Facebook is listening.

How did Lotame choose its 11 specific attributes to gauge campaign success?
Users within a social community do not like to leave the page they are interacting with. We had to provide a robust amount of data so that the advertiser could see what else they could learn from running a campaign through Lotame. Marketers are realizing that the “click” isn’t the only gauge of success and that campaigns should not be measured solely on one metric. This is why we came up with various performance results — for example, buzz, favorability, intent and time spent with the ads. We think our Time Spent technology is extremely important to an advertiser so that they can see how much time a given user spends with the ad; thus, providing a cost efficient ad buy and no dollars wasted.

Do you comment on your favorite blogs?
Among the dozens I read, some of my favorites are Fred Wilson’s blog, AVC, as well as industry standards like Silicon Alley Insider, Mashable, PaidContent, Howard Lindzon, Seth Godin’s blog, Darren Herman’s blog and CenterNetworks. I always leave a ton of comments. I help influence the conversation of the blogs. Commenters, bloggers, uploaders, sharers, streamers — those are all [nouns from] verbs, and all ways people interact in the community. That was not happening when it was a one-way conversation.

If you weren’t working at Lotame, what would you do instead?
I would most likely be on the production side of music.  I have been highly influenced by the Grateful Dead, The Rolling Stones, the Beatles and Jimi Hendrix. Previously, I did some production work for an unbelievable guitarist by the name of Steve Kimock. Some of my best memories have been hanging in the parking lots of stadiums all over this great nation, following around the band — Grateful Dead — that I love, and interacting with other people who were as passionate about the music as I am.  Some people call the Grateful Dead the first true, “social network” around music and music sharing.

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