iCrossing Taps The 'Social Graph'

With an eye on social networks, digital agency iCrossing on Monday is expected to announce a partnership with startup Media6°, which uses "social graph" data to connect marketers to customized audiences.

Through the partnership, iCrossing is hoping to reach people who have expressed interest in a particular brand, product or service, as well as people with whom that individual is connected within social media networks.

"Traditional display media resembles a brand shouting at the crowd, the theory being if you shout loud enough and long enough then someone who is interested will hear you," said Dax Hamman, VP of display media at iCrossing. "Performance Display works more like search, responding to an individual's needs."

In addition to performance display, the deal is expected to allow iCrossing to conduct search retargeting to influence paid search ads based on expressed interest of users in the same social network.

Since launching just last year, the New York-based Media6° has grown from about 10 to 25 full-time employees, and expanded its client base to roughly 30 agency clients.

The company was founded on the belief that a consumer who is connected to a firm's existing customer (or "network neighbor") responds to advertising from that firm at rates 2X to 30X higher than consumers who are targeted using traditional demo or geotargeting techniques.

Earlier this year, Media6° secured a partnership with Havas Digital to develop ad solutions to advance the agency's development of its Virtual Brand Network for Advertisers. The Virtual Brand Network aggregates digital media inventory that meets the needs of a specific brand. In addition, Havas Digital agencies agreed to the early adoption of Media6°'s social graph targeting capabilities in order to integrate consumer insights with hypertargeting.

iCrossing has an established track record of working with innovative startups with the industry. Last year, for example, it enlisted the help of Pluck Corp. to expand its breadth of social media services. For the past several years, the company has also been prone to acquisitions, thanks to some $120 million in financing. It acquired German search and affiliate shop 3GNet in April of last year. iCrossing's existing digital marketing offerings include Web analytics and social media analyses that provide insight into what drives user attention, engagement and influence around brands online. The Scottsdale, Arizona-based agency's clients include Epson America, Toyota, Travelocity, The Coca-Cola Company and Office Depot.

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