PATRICK SALYER: Gigya provides businesses with a complete social infrastructure – everything a site or application needs to be social. We do that through a set of front- and back-end technologies that create a Facebook-like experience on sites and applications while capturing and storing permission-based social data. On the front end, our products include Social Login, SocialPrivacy Certification, Social Plugins (like comments, share, activity feeds, ratings and reviews) and gamification. On the back end, we offer Registration-as-a-Service, Identity Storage, Identity Access and analytics to help clients take advantage of the vast amounts of social data that we capture on their behalf.
Who are some of your clients, and can you give a use case on how they might use your data?
Take the NFL, which is one of our clients. One of the ways they work with us is to leverage social login, when you log in with a Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn identity to a website. One of the things that is important to the NFL is its ecommerce business, and it likes to understand who your favorite team is, allowing the NFL to target much more carefully.
Using our social login technology, the NFL can determine if your favorite team is the San Francisco 49ers, for example, by who you like, if you grew up in a certain area, if you lived in a certain area, or if you checked in on Facebook on a particular game. Maybe you’re on the NFL site and you commented with one of our technologies on a particular page that was about the San Francisco 49ers. So the NFL will segment you in a particular favorite team category. Then three days before your birthday, it will send you an email with a picture of a 49ers jersey, with your name on it, asking if you want to buy it for your birthday. Really interesting, relevant, targeted, permission-based offerings.
How is social and login data different than other types of consumer data?
Most importantly, it’s permission-based. An individual user is opting in, giving a specific brand the use of certain data. Ultimately that’s a win for consumers because they have more control over their data. It becomes a win for brands too because they learn much more about that consumer, and it’s all true information. It’s validated and always updated. The alternative is that a brand could buy data through some data brokering services. The challenge with that is that it's not always permission-based, it's expensive and it's often inaccurate.
I looked up the data on myself in one of the more popular data brokering services and it reported that I like weight loss products, golf and fine cars. You’ve never met me, but I’m 6’5’’ and rail thin, 185 pounds soaking wet. I do not like weight loss products. I also hate golf more than any other sport, and I drive a 2003 VW, so I’m not into fine cars either. It’s actually pretty inaccurate data. But your social network information is accurate, as people consider it one of the most important things to keep updated.
Can you talk a little bit about funding?
We’re well funded, having raised $45 million to date. This comes from top-tier venture capital firms and strategic partners. Benchmark Capital is an investor, Mayfield Fund is an investor. We have multiple strategic investors, including Adobe and Advanced Publications, which owns Condé Nast.
What are your goals for the business for the next year or so?
It’s scaling dramatically. We’re making huge investments in sales and marketing, and doubling that team. We have 175 employees currently in the company, and we’re hiring like crazy. We have over 40 open positions right now and [are] adding to the team extremely quickly.
On the product side, there [are] some pretty exciting things we’re doing in terms of audience insights and usage of the data. We’ll be making some big announcements around that over the next six to seven months as well.
One trend that we’re following in the data space is the future of cookies and third-party data. What do you think will happen with that, and how will this impact or boost the social data that you guys have?
It’s an interesting trend because you are seeing pushback around some of these services that are tracking users in a non-permission-based way. Companies are going to need to seek out ways to get above-the-board, permission-based data, and that’s exclusively what we do. It will be a boon for our business.
We’re thinking a lot about privacy in general. We launched something called the Social Privacy Certification Seal. It’s a publicly facing seal that says if you go to a business that is leveraging social login, that business makes promises to you that your data will be handled in a trusted way. Your data won’t be sold, your news feed won’t be spammed, and your friends won’t be spammed. We find when we implement that certification seal, we get 18% increase in new sign-ups.
That just shows that consumers are responding well when they see business doing the right thing with data. They’re willing to provide their data in an opt-in fashion to get that return of increased customization, increased convenience and increased personalization.