Case studies / Affinio
In 2013, Tim Burke and Stephen Hankinson saw an opportunity to use the Twitter platform as a way to seek out new customers and clients for their growing app business. “As we dug deeper, we began to realize that there was a massive amount of intel in a company’s follower graph on Twitter,” notes Burke. “In particular, there were naturally forming communities, and even smaller affinity groups within that set.”
Their observation led them to invest a year analyzing Twitter follow graph data (via the public APIs) and building out core technology to quickly identify and segment these groups. From this work, Affinio was born, and their first tools — Twitter user analysis and segmentation — found early success, placing them third in the Strata Conference Startup Showcase in 2013 and helping them win early customers including Universal McCann and BBC Worldwide. “Our early product had immediate uptake, helping our customers develop a far richer persona of their target audience than they ever had before,” says Hankinson.
Listening closely to their customers, Burke and Hankinson also realized that there were opportunities to make their product even more actionable by integrating the Twitter Ads platform. “Given our core competencies, it was a natural next step to help our customers broaden their reach across the Twitter platform by expanding their customer base and performing highly-targeted direct response campaigns. We witnessed the power of this strategy ourselves, growing our Affinio customer base using our own Twitter tailored audience targeting,” says Burke.
Burke and Hankinson leveraged their existing work to build a collection of content insights and targeting tools to meet the needs of their customers. This required leveraging a combination of the Twitter platform, including Gnip, Tailored Audiences, and the Twitter Public and Ads APIs. In particular, they focused on:
Our access to Twitter Data along with our integration with Twitter Ads API has enabled Affinio to translate rich content insights into direct activations through targeted ads.”
From early results with beta partners, Burke and Hankinson have seen strong performance from their new product suite. In particular, a small B2B software firm generated 25% more high quality sales opportunities with lower acquisition costs using Affinio’s Twitter-based targeting and DR solutions compared to previous Adword campaigns. “Our proprietary Affinity Maps serve as a ‘fingerprint’ of a brand’s user tribes,” notes Burke. “And Gnip helps us go a step further, to reach similar users that may never have thought to engage with their brand before.”
Affinio’s content recommendation and Ads API integrations also fit well in the narrative of the company’s product strategy. “Customers are coming to us asking how to deliver ads that look and feel as native as possible.” says Hankinson. “Our tribe insights and content recommendations give them the ‘secret handshake’ to enter their most influential communities to drive deeper trust and engagement. The Ads API allows them to deliver authentic Tweet content directly into the timeline of new users who are perfect for their product, but might not have otherwise engaged with their brand before.”
Working with the varied Twitter APIs, including the Ads, REST, and GNIP APIs has been simple. They are all well documented and provide easy to work with output data formats making application development easy.”
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