One of the great things about covering social media and technology is the sense of continuing innovation and growth which pervades the space, providing a much-needed break from the litany of bad news in the broader economy. On that note, in coming months I will be writing about some interesting social media startups, including new social networks as well as marketing and advertising platforms.
First up is CitizenNet, a Los Angeles-based start-up with backing from America's goofiest heartthrob, Ashton Kutcher, and Silicon Valley investor Ron Conway. CitizenNet uses predictive behavioral targeting informed by sentiment analysis, language processing, and trend tracking to help advertisers target new customer segments -- essentially uncovering previously ignored audience segments. Through CitizenNet's desktop interface, even small advertisers can execute their own media buying, and the same automated tools can serve as an adjunct to established media buying agencies.
Unlike many behavioral targeting platforms, the core CitizenNet analysis engine isn't powered by cookie data, but rather an artificial intelligence algorithm crunching over a billion ad impressions and over twenty social and language features, which the company claims can predict the click-through-rate (CTR) of an ad with a margin of just 0.01%. While the platform is available to businesses of all sizes, the predictive element may be especially helpful for small advertisers which can't afford sophisticated market research.
CitizenNet CEO and founder Dan Benyamin explained: "As brands develop, they may need to boost organic growth or reach into completely new market segments. Thus we have trained our system to understand and grow audiences in the most effective way, in turn creating 'Desktop Marketing' -- which allows savvy marketers to do more in less time, with fewer additional resources."
By automating most of the research, planning, and buying steps, CitizenNet also makes it relatively easy to plug in other types of self-serve advertising tools and platforms. At launch the company is partnering with Eventbrite, allowing advertisers run a Facebook ad campaign for their event simply by typing in their Eventbrite Web address.