ShareThis, the purveyor of a social share button spanning a wide swath of publisher sites and channels, on Tuesday appointed Wade Rifkin as its VP of Programmatic Partnerships. Rifkin came from agency DigitasLBI, where he was VP of Programmatic. (See the Q&A on his transition).
Rifkin’s relationships with trading desks and agencies should come in handy, particularly since ShareThis has a longstanding partnership with Publicis agency Starcom MediaVest, which augments ShareThis’ Social Quality Index metric (a measure of clicks and shares across ShareThis publisher sites) in its ad buys.
When asked what programmatic entity would immediately benefit from ShareThis’s data, Abrahamson said exchanges and supply-side platforms are all options.
“Using the data to inform ad buys and ad targeting is certainly one option, but so is figuring out how to take [some of the internal the insights] and marketing them to agencies and brands,” he said. “We haven’t committed to a specific action plan yet on the programmatic side, but Wade will help us evaluate the landscape.”
ShareThis sees consumer intent signals across a network of almost 3 million publisher sites, which is a 15-20% increase from one year ago. The company generally sees about one billion to one and a half billion sharing events per month.
Although the company is just now appointing a programmatic head, ShareThis had explored the possibilities for sharing data and segments with demand-side platforms since 2010.
Another big initiative for the company is its “real-time marketing platform,” leveraging its social data asset and hooks to 100 social sharing services – Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn being the most popular.
This particular platform is in private beta with a few clients, but will be more widely available next year. While ShareThis had already developed tools for direct response advertisers, the new platform is designed to enable marketers to be more proactive around big events like the Oscars, World Cup or Olympics, and target relevant audiences around a developing trend, product or topic as opposed to “passively dropping Tweets in-stream,” claimed Abrahamson. “We’re taking our audience data and turning it into interesting products for agencies and brands.”
Abrahamson also credited the March 2013 acquisition of social app developer platform Socialize as forming the basis of ShareThis’ developing cross-device solution. As a result of the acquisition, Socialize extended ShareThis’ online social data measurement to 67 million iOS and Android devices, which let publishers close the loop between desktop-to-mobile shares from a common platform.
“A lot of companies are doing a nice job building out algorithmic models for cross-device tracking, but what’s different about what we do is we have this social signal of interest and intent,” Abrahamson claimed.
Of course, so does Facebook – though unlike Facebook, Abrahamson said, ShareThis doesn’t confine its partners in its own ecosystem.
“We see this as an alternative because we see intent across all different services,” he said.
ShareThis competes with platforms like AddThis and Bit.ly, which have also beefed up their offerings in the last year to include publisher content and analytics, as well as paid, earned and owned media tools for marketers.