33Across Acquires Publishing Data Gold Mine Tynt

Acquisition expands buyer’s user footprint

Facebook may be the biggest social network on the planet, but social ad targeting firm 33Across says it now has the distinction of managing the world’s largest social and interest graph.

The company was set to announce today that it has acquired San Francisco-based publishing sharing tool Tynt, which says it reaches more than 1 billion global users monthly. Ostensibly, the acquisition expands 33Across’ data footprint to more than 1.25 billion people worldwide (which the companies say eclipses Facebook’s 800 million, although comparing Facebook's network to 33Across' isn't exactly an apples to apples comparison).

Tynt, which tracks when readers cut and paste content for sharing via email and other social channels, has more than 500,000 publisher clients, including NBCUniversal, Sports Illustrated and MarthaStewart.com. 33Across will maintain the Tynt brand but take ownership of all of the company’s assets, including technology, patents, filings, analytics and tool sets, as well as its roughly 17 employees, including senior leadership.

33Across declined to reveal the purchase amount but said it was an equity transaction.

Most importantly, the companies said, the acquisition expands 33Across’ social targeting platform and gives publishers and marketers tools to predict new users.

“As social continues to transform the world we live in, publishers really need to go further and create real, actionable value from the big data graph that surrounds their brand," said Eric Wheeler, CEO of 33Across. "It’s understanding the social and interest graph around your readers and how you can accelerate that and [discover] who are those people. The technology that we bring to brands, we’re bringing to the biggest publisher brands.”

Since launching in 2007, 33Across has used proprietary technology to build what it calls a “brand graph” for its clients. By analyzing the anonymous social habits and characteristics of a brand’s customers within its social graph (which encompassed 220 million+ users before the Tynt acquisition), 33Across uncovers high-potential prospects who are socially connected to a brand’s customers and fans. Tynt CEO David Mandelbrot said the company expects to roll out new features in the coming months.

As for the terms of use agreements Tynt has with some publishers who don't want to have their data included in other targeting efforts, 33Across' Wheeler said the acquisition won't affect those pacts. 

Commenting on 33Across’ foray into the sell side of the business, Joanna O’Connell, senior analyst at Forrester Research, said the acquisition raised the question of whether it’s better to represent both sides of the business instead of just one.

“Lots of companies will say that being focused on one side or the other gives you a distinct advantage versus Google, which plays across the ecosystem,” she said. “No great answer yet, but it’s something I’m thinking about.”

Regardless, she said, the expanded data set would presumably strengthen the brand graph for marketers.

“They’re making a long-term bet on the value of social," O’Connell said, "and I think that’s a fair bet to make."

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