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Will Yahoo! Implement ‘Social Authority’ Ad Model?



yahoo-logo A report from Marketing Week brings attention to a patent that Yahoo! published yesterday (which was filed in 2011) which could be an indicator of where the web publisher / search company / ‘whatever you want to call it’ is heading in the future with its advertising products.

Essentially, advertisers would pay a rate based on a group’s ‘social authority’ if they wished to advertise to a group that is more influential. The article says

A patent published by the company details how advertisers may be able to target audiences deemed an authority on specific topic matters, as well as by region, using social media scoring APIs such as Klout.com across multiple social networks. Advertisers would then be charged more to serve ads to more influential people.

The patent reads: “The social authority score may be determined, for example, based upon the number of contacts that the user has on LinkedIn, how influential the user’s followers and/or contacts are, and/or the title of the user.”

The system may also identify products or brands that the user clicked as “Likes” within one or more social networks, according to the filing.

It’s an interesting idea that brings up the increasingly vexing concept of social scoring. Many are very hesitant to accept things such as Klout scores to measure a person’s social impact or influence. While it may be something that a social media purist bristles at it could be a valuable market segmentation tool for companies like Yahoo! which could set their offerings apart from the competition. Of course, until it is being used and results can be watched it will be difficult to say just how powerful this model can be.

The article gives some insight about other potential uses by Yahoo!

Although the patent was filed in 2011, Yahoo published it yesterday (June 13) with the document further suggesting advertisers may be able to serve ads to their desired social media audiences after a bidding process, similar to a Google AdWords auction or an online ad exchange.

Yahoo also proposes advertisers may be able to specify the number of impressions they want for their particular advertisement, plus the demographic characteristics of their desired audience, as well as a “range of acceptable social authority scores” in order to target their messaging.

If you would like to view the patent you can here.

Would this kind of definition of a potential market be of interest to you in your marketing campaigns? Would you pay more to reach a supposed social influencer?