Social Trends and Related Data Insights in Programmatic Targeting

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How to use social trends and related data insights for programmatic display targeting.

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by Ivan Roubtsov @ AdGear Technologies, Inc.

I got inspired to write this piece after reading about Volvo’s campaigns on Time Inc., where they targeted content that was trending on social media among Time readers. Any company out there would have topics, themes and keywords related to their brand and industry, so why not merge the best of two worlds? By combining keyword data with social trend insights and article page location, a brand like Volvo can build an effective targeting strategy for their programmatic display campaigns.

Imagine you have a list of keywords: AdWords, organic keywords, competitive keyword data… etc. Now what if you take the same path as Volvo – target trending articles and other web content that relates strongly to these keywords? I discovered an interesting service a few months ago called This service allows you to enter keywords

and see any related trending content, with lots of social data:

Socialtrends keywords

In the example above, I’ve used “ad server” as a keyword to generate a list of 1730 articles related to the subject – starting with the ones that have been most-shared and liked across 5 social networks. What’s interesting here is that one can re-use this tactic with multiple keywords to generate page level target lists (URLs) – it’s even better if you’re doing this via API integration. The result is greater visibility on the most trending and socially shared article locations (blog posts, videos, infographics…) that relate to your keyword list. Scaling this approach will give you tens of thousands of page level locations of targetable content. The next step is to de-dupe the list and upload it as a target list into your cross-channel marketing platform / DSP. Finally, launch a campaign targeting the new list.

There is a simple way to improve this tactic and include domain level targets. Take a similar approach with keywords running against the Buzzsumo engine, but in this case look into building a heatmap of domains. How many times does a unique domain name show up across all search results and for which keyword combinations does it appear? This investigation allows you to narrow down an additional (short-list) of domains to upload and target for your display campaign.

Social engagement measurement: I also like this approach with matching keywords to trending content because it gives me a good sense of how engaged readers are with each publisher on the list. As a marketer, I have higher hopes for publishers whose content is being actively consumed and shared by users. Let’s say you’ve collected the article and domain lists, uploaded them to your marketing platform / DSP, and launched a campaign. Apart from clicks and conversion data, you might also look into post viewability numbers. How many impressions were tracked, and of those tracked impressions, how many were visible?

How does the percentage of visible, trackable and viewable impressions relate to your new list? Higher trackability and viewability numbers could mean better success for your results-driven campaign. Going one step further, you can match your findings with analytics to determine the engagement level of the traffic generated by this new campaign. Look for signs of engaged users on your webpage, online store, landing page, or social media page.

I’ve written a couple of stories in the past year about obtaining keyword-related domain / website / page targets by using organic search engine results – see the “related links” below. Given the popularity of social networks and trending media, this new approach is definitely worth adding to your arsenal of targeting strategies.

If you have any questions about the AdGear Trader cross-channel marketing platform, other AdGear marketing solutions, or the tactic described above, don’t hesitate to contact us – or

Related links from the AdGear blog:

About the Author

Ivan Roubtsov is Director of Marketing at AdGear, an advertising technology company based in Montreal and Toronto. With over ten years’ experience in the digital marketing industry, Ivan has contributed his strong analytical background and insightful marketing strategies to many publications and companies in the Canadian marketplace.