Imitation has long been called the highest form of flattery. But without receiving credit, it can be a frustrating way for innovators to see their ideas spread. And when publishers don’t know whether or not people are sharing their site’s content, it can be hard to keep advertisers funneling dollars into their businesses.
Unless a link is included, creators of that lifted material usually have no idea where duplicators post their text. A new, free publishing tool helping publishers track and monetize this practice could help break this cycle.
Share Text is a free feature from RadiumOne, the San Francisco advertising company boasting 700 million active users, 10 billion monthly shares, and a portfolio of Fortune 100 brands. Share Text lets readers share snippets of text on social networks — and allows publishers to monitor shares and click-backs, get attribution and serve readers targeted ads.
It’s an inference-based targeting approach, wherein customized ads are served to readers based on their web browsing. Here’s how it works: when users highlight at least eight words, sharing options appear on screen. Once the share is completed, the ad is served. RadiumOne gets paid from the ads, using anonymous web cookies to track user web history. But don’t worry, this isn’t a nefarious spying tool — it’s clearly laid out in the company’s terms and conditions.
Founded in 2009 by online entrepreneur Gurbaksh Chahal, RadiumOne is venture backed to the tune of $33.5 million, projecting 2013 revenue to exceed $100 million.
Without definitive metrics to link copy-and-paste with shares, standards for successful social and click-through rates have been a murky proposition. Sites like Bitly and Topsy let publishers track shares, but they don’t offer options to monetize those shares. That leaves room for debate on whether there’s a significant return on investment in social, especially in the drag-and-drop text department. RadiumOne thinks that untapped sector, and the new revenue created by its custom ad ecosystem, is where its new tool can shine.
“Anything a publisher can do to increase visibility for free is a plus,” says Rebecca Watson, vice president of business development at RadiumOne. She says sites are losing out when their content is copied and pasted without their knowledge. And the addition of attribution and link-backs is driving up site visitors.
“Here’s a way for the publisher to have brand new ad impressions, and it doesn’t cannibalize their existing inventory of ads. Some publications see 40 to 50% more traffic just by having users link back and post to social networks as opposed to sending text through instant message or email to one person.”
Philly.com and Business 2 Community are among a handful of sites already using the feature. Brian Rice, the co-founder of Business 2 Community, says the new tool provides “valuable insights into their behavior and content interests which will help inform our decisions about future content to produce.”
Helping brands get true social ROI is the holy grail advertisers are looking for, says Michael Daugherty, a Chicago-based sales planner for Electronic Arts Global Media Solutions. He calls this the hurdle preventing advertisers from spending more on social. If this, or similar tools, can translate into dollars, it will be a win for the industry.
“Uncovering the true value of shared and socially influenced content will only continue to snowball the resources migrating from traditional media to that of shared, social, and crowd-cultivated narratives of brands,” Daugherty says.
Read more: http://mashable.com/2013/07/11/share-text/