SHIFT launches Media Analyzer to help brands track and improve ad performance

By Michael Carney , written on August 21, 2013

From The News Desk

The goal of any marketing campaign should be to drive the maximum return on investment. Easier said than done. Marketers are constantly looking to better understand ad performance and what contributes to, or detracts from campaign effectiveness. But until recently, accessing such information, let alone finding it in a format that was easily interpreted, was a hit or miss proposition.

Few companies are better aware of this than SHIFT, which offers a real-time marketing platform and Open Marketing Cloud app ecosystem to brands and agencies. Today, the company is launching its SHIFT Media Analyzer app, built on top of the Facebook API, to allow marketers to track how campaigns are performing at a granular level through interactive charts, keyword analysis, and anomaly spotting.

“We’re always trying to find ways to bridge the gap between brands and agencies,” says SHIFT CEO James Borow. “Brands don’t have CMO dashboard, or any one place to go to get all the info they need. With Media Analyzer, we’ve tried to give it to them.”

Media Analyzer will give individuals outside an organization’s marketing team insight into why decisions are being made and what impact they’re having. The same is true of the otherwise opaque relationship between brands and agencies.

Media Analyzer is unique in that it provides analysis on a per-campaign, as well as per-creative basis, and allows users to create custom reports and alerts, combining an unlimited number of campaigns over any period of time. The platform can drill down into criteria related to spend, impressions, clicks, conversion, frequency, engagement, and day of the week/ time of day. It can also pinpoint which ad units are affecting each of these variables positively and negatively.

While this may sound like Greek to the average person, it’s sounds like money to a paid marketers.

SHIFT believes that Media Analyzer is the first standalone app built on the Facebook Ads API. But that doesn’t mean that the app will be exclusive to Facebook. Twitter integration is coming shortly, followed by other social and paid advertising platforms.

Media Analyzer is the second proprietary app launched by SHIFT, joining Media Manager (fka, Graph Effect) which allows marketers to build, manage, and optimize Facebook and Twitter advertising campaigns in real-time. The company has powered well into nine-figures worth of social ad-spend, according to Borow.

Both of SHIFT’s proprietary apps are paid, premium products. In the case of Media Manager, users pay a percentage of their advertising spend to SHIFT for use of the application. As Media Analyzer exits beta today, users will begin paying a fee based on the volume of advertising campaigns analyzed. The goal in both cases, according to Borow, is to align incentives between Shift and its marketer clients, by charging only where the company can increase the return brands and agencies achieve on their advertising spend.

There are other analytics tools in the marketplace that allow marketers to monitor earned and owned media. Borow calls these, “listening tools,” offering Zoom, SocialFlow, and Optimal as examples. By contrast, SHIFT is focused entirely on paid advertising and on maximizing advertiser accountability and return on investment.

Media Analyzer is aimed at the top echelon of brands and agencies, meaning those who are deploying millions of dollars per year into marketing. While the platform would add value to small- and medium-sized businesses (SMBs), it’s the complexity of big brand marketing campaigns that really demands this level of data aggregation, analysis, and visualization.

“Our goal is to ensure that from the CMO down, there is data readily available for analysis,” Borow says. “Media Analyzer is the first tool that brings the entire conversion journey into view, and allows marketers to work together with their agencies and vendors to drill down as granular as needed in order to identify the opportunities that ultimately impact their sales.”

SHIFT has raised $14 million dollars to date across two rounds of financing from backers including Rincon Venture Partners, Crosscut Ventures, Founder Collective, Lerer Ventures, Thrive Capital, Baroda Ventures, Siemer Ventures, Double M Partners, Matt Coffin, Alex Karelin, and Andy Rankin.

When the company raised its June 2012 Series B round, it projected $50 million in 2012 revenue. The company has yet to update that figure, but has since said that it is exceeding its performance goals. Media Manager is still the company’s primary revenue driver, although the addition of Media Analyzer and the increasing contributions of revenue sharing from third-party apps on its platform suggest that this ratio could soon change.

As with any adtech solution, its incredibly difficult to parse the sales pitch from the actual results delivered. With Media Analyzer entering the market today, it seems wise to reserve judgement on the app’s actual performance until more data is available. That said, Borow and co-founder and SHIFT chairman Clark Landry are performance advertising veterans, and have assembled a team that is intimately aware of the challenges facing marketers today.

If they are able to deliver on their promise, Media Analyzer has the potential to dramatically improve the efficiency of the social advertising channel.

[Image via SuasnDaley]