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.