In the not-too-distant future, marketers finally will be able to target nearly anyone they want, any time they want, anywhere they want. Though the last 20 years held out the promise of doing this, with joined cookies, e-mail addresses and optimized banner copy, the technology fell short. Today, with social platforms like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, millions of people are voluntarily (and happily) giving up millions of pieces of personal data in the form of content they create. Each post, tweet, like and pin tells the platform exactly what a consumer is thinking and what content engages him or her.
As the targeting capability improves, the question for brands will change from "How many fans or followers do you have?" to "Whom do you want to reach?" And this leads to two strategic questions: What do you want to say? And how do you sustain your messages to different segments across platforms and around the world?
If this sounds like a daunting task, it should. This kind of reach and data have never been available before. While TV has been the best option, it's always been limited by geography and language. Social platforms are the first manifestations of true global reach -- and they're only getting bigger as new members join with mobile devices.
As an active Twitter user and scanner, I’m constantly prowling for Tweet-worthy articles and insights to share with my followers. But, like every multi-tasker, over-committed, “not-enough-time-in-the-day” person I know, there are always competing demands for time that keep me from heeding the call of the little blue bird.
Thank goodness for Percolate, a small but fast-growing company that recognizes that marketing on the “social scale” requires content, content and more content, but only if it passes the relevancy test.
Traditional branding exercises often focus on questions that can seem a little silly. What color is your brand? What shape?
Percolate founder Noah Brier says his company sprang in part from the realization that “What does your brand consume?” also needs to be part of that equation. The company, which has been compared to Buddy Media, recently announced a $9 million Series A funding round led by GGV Capital. Today it has 35 marketer and agency customers, most of them working on Fortune 500 brands.
Marketers are already taught to think of brands as humans. But in an age of social media, where a brand can tweet and update dozens of times a day, the challenge is to help them come up with interesting things to say, stuff that actually sounds like it’s coming from a real person.
That’s where New York startup Percolate is making its mark.
The sad truth of covering tech is that most of the cool stuff we write about will fail. Take Loosecubes, which announced its closure yesterday after raising $7.8 million just five months prior. Most of the companies we cover don’t even make it to that large Series A round. That fact makes it all the more satisfying when you see a company you’ve been following start to spread its wings. Percolate, a social SaaS platform focused on helping brands produce better content, is one of those companies. After a year and a half, the startup has blossomed to 27 employees, with around 40 Fortune 500 clients. Today, it’s announcing a Series A round of funding worth $9 million, led by GGV Capital with participation from existing investor First Round Capital.
Change is a constant conversation in the marketing industry, but the last few years have brought two tectonic shifts: From campaign-based thinking to sustained messaging and from 21-week production schedules for television commercials to 21 minutes between tweets. Ultimately, we’re moving to a world where brands start to recognize their roles as content creators. Many argue (and we agree) that brands always were content creators. But clearly there is a difference between a 30-second spot that cost millions and a 4pm Facebook status update.
In my social feeds and yours, brands look a lot like people -- their posts occupy the same real estate as updates from my mom, they face the same blank box and photo uploader before publishing as I do. On Facebook, the biggest marketers in the world get accounts that look just like mine. On Twitter, a tweet from a company can be indistinguishable from any old guy with an internet connection.
We know social SaaS companies-- the ones that help brands navigate Facebook and Twitter-- are a hot commodity. Between Buddy Media, Vitrue, Involver, and Efficient Frontier, enterprise companies just keep snapping them up. From what I hear, Oracle and Salesforce aren't the only hungry (and possibly desperate) acquirers in this category; everyone from ad networks inside big tech conglomerates to the big four agency holding companies are sniffing around. Those SaaS companies — Buddy Media, Wildfire, Vitrue, Involver, Syncapse, Thismoment, etc — all have differentiators in how they help advertisers execute social media marketing, but there is one common thread. They all make it very, very clear that they are not competing with the ad agencies. They are platforms — they’re not doing creative work.
Percolate, a New York-based startup that helps brands sort and curate content on the social web, is taking on some investors in a $1.5 million seed round led by First Round Capital and a variety of angels including Kenneth Lerer, Sherry Redstone and Path co-founder Dave Morin.
Received $1.5M Seed Funding
Participation Lerer Ventures, First Round Capital, SV Angel, Transmedia Capital, Rick Webb, Advancit Capital, Dave Morin, Josh Spear, Neu Venture Capital