Don’t blink, or you might miss the latest trend
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Photo Credit: Taykey, screenshot of trending topics

If Taykey’s 600% growth is any indication, real-time trendspotting is the next big adtech thing

Have you noticed your advertising has gotten more targeted in recent years? For instance, I just looked on Facebook and saw ads for yoga clothing, handbags, and art walking tours of Tel Aviv. These are all things that I could potentially be interested in…well maybe someday.

It’s an open secret that the click rate of online ads is dismally low. For instance, in the third quarter of 2012, Google’s Display Ad Network served an average of 24.2 billion ads a day. But these were only clicked on 0.18% of the time. Of the people who clicked on an ad, less than 5 percent followed through. According to Matt Hrushkam author of “The Ad War,” this means the average person clicks an ad and follows through once every seven months.

With these low rates, advertisers and ad tech companies are constantly looking for the next big thing to increase their conversion rates. There are companies that compile detailed profiles of every user and target them individually (to the point of sometimes being creepy).

Others place their bets on native advertising. And then there is the approach favored by Israeli startup Taykey, which just announced it has grown 600% in the last two years.

Riding the heat wave

Taykey looks for trending topics on the Internet and places ads next to those trending topics, all in real-time, 24/7.

Here’s how it works. Let’s say a company that sells ecological clothes for children wants to advertise online. They have decided that their best customers tend to be mothers in their 30’s and 40’s with an interest in health. Taykey’s algorithm knows which discussion topics are trending among women who fit this description. Hypothetically, today at 5 pm it could be how to make kale chips, later in the day it might something Oprah Winfrey said, and still later it’s actress Brit Marling.

Taykey’s algorithms are constantly buzzing, figuring out what’s trending for various consumer segments by mining thousands of data sources, all of them public.

“We don’t buy data,” the company’s CEO, Avner Amit, told Geektime.

Nor does the company target individuals. It doesn’t need to, because you’re part of a community of like-minded people, and Taykey targets your interests and conversations. According to their web site, Taykey’s click-through rate is 50 % higher than the industry average.

Once Taykey knows what its target demographic is talking about, it bids on search keywords or buys ads that appear next to these trending topics. About half the company’s ads appear on social media, but they also buy banner ads and videos.

The purchasing is happening so quickly, in real-time and in such volume that it goes without saying that it’s done by computers and not humans.

I asked Avner if he could show me Taykey in action, for instance, by telling me what kinds of things are trending for people like me.

But Avner said that was a bit complicated. Instead, he would show me what was trending online  for the population in general. So here it is, already outdated,  a snapshot of what was burning hot at 14:00 GMT on Tuesday.


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Simona Weinglass

About Simona Weinglass

I’m an old-school journalist who recently decided to pivot into high-tech. I work in high-tech marketing as well as print and broadcast media covering politics, business culture and everything in between.

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