In a surprising development for the burgeoning real-time media marketplace, advertisers and agencies now have the ability to programmatically target and place ads online based on content that users tag as being most relevant to themselves and others. As part of its Programmatic Advertising Platform, ad tech developer RadiumOne is enabling “hashtag targeting.”
“Basically, we’re just intelligently going out and targeting what people are already having a conversation about,” says Gurbaksh Chahal, CEO of RadiumOne. “If McDonald’s wants they can target people who hashtag #McDonald’s, or anyone who tags #burgers or #fries. They can even target #hungry.”
Initially, Chahal says the hashtag targeting will be available via RadiumOne’s own social media platform Via.Me -- which currently reaches about 11 million users per month -- but over time, he says RadiumOne hopes to integrate with other networks that enable users to hashtag, including Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram.
Chahal says the concept makes sense for real-time media-buying, because users are hashtagging what’s relevant to them and sharing it with others in real-time. By enabling marketers to target based on hashtags, RadiumOne is effectively borrowing a page from search marketing, and RadiumOne Vice President-Marketing Doug Chavez says the advertisers and agencies will likely develop similar approaches to keyword and key term targeting, albeit via social media.
“Take a brand like Meow Mix. If users are updating pictures of their cat and hashtagging it ‘purrrr,’ they can target cat owners by targeting the hashtag ‘purrrr.”
Chahal says that based on RadiumOne’s initial user testing, “clickthrough rates go up” when brands target ads based on user hashtags, which he says makes sense, because consumers are effectively tagging what’s relevant to them by using hashtags.
He says it will likely take some time before the ad industry figures out how to apply the concept in targeting, but he believes it will ultimately expand the number of segments a brand can target, because hashtags can be both explicitly and implicitly related to brands.
“Part of our job on social is that there is a lot of noise out there, and we have to do a better job of creating better signals for targeting people. We think hashtags are one of them,” Chahal says.