Buddy Media’s Brand Platform Grows with Facebook, Goes Global

Buddy Media is a New York-based company that’s been helping brands take advantage of their social media presence since Facebook opened the platform in 2007.

The idea was to assist companies with establishing themselves on Facebook. “We didn’t know how we were going to do it, but we wanted to participate,” founder and chief executive Mike Lazerow tells us. “You basically could build on top of Facebook and reach consumers directly, rather than dealing with the traditional gatekeepers of the web.”

At the time, Facebook had about 30 million monthly active users — 470 million or so later, Buddy Media has a solid and growing business. Check out our interview with Lazerow, below, for lots of key details on its experiences to date, and its plans for the future.

Note that the company also does work on Twitter, MySpace and iPhone platforms, but has focused its energies on Facebook by offering primarily larger companies, brands and agencies a content management system that includes an application library, as well as publishing and analytics tools. Some notable clients include Anheuser Busch, Southwest Airlines, the NHL, L’Oreal and TJ Maxx.

It has raised $10 million from a variety of investors, including Peter Thiel, Ron Conway, Mark Pincus, Softbank Capital and the European Founders Fund, among several others.

Inside Facebook: What products and services does your company provide to clients using Facebook? What types of clients are you aiming to reach?

Mike Lazerow: The business is a software as a service platform, any company can subscribe or license it to help them manage their Facebook presence. Buddy Media is more of an enterprise player, versus custom app shops or the small business players. Our strongest categories are CPG (consumer packaged goods), travel (Four Seasons, Starwood Hotels & Resorts, Delta Airlines, Southwest Airlines), tech (Samsung) and fashion (L’Oreal, Diane Von Furstenberg, TJ Maxx, Marshall’s).

IFB: Can you share some highlights of how your company has helped clients meet their goals using Facebook?

ML: Summit Entertainment (“Twilight”) is a company that we started with that had very few fans. Through Wall posts and managing of very creative ad promotions on our platform they’ve gone from 4.5 milllion to about 7 million Likes since January — which has been one of our biggest fan growths. On the retail side, Redbox, we started working with them in January and they had about 400,000 Likes, or fans. They are now one of the largest in their space with 1.1 million Likes without a lot of marketing, mostly just content management. +Global (more here) lets companies scale their Facebook presence by geo-targeting by language or country, whether it’s one Page in one country or 1,000 Pages in 100 countries. According to our clients we’ve cut over 80% of the cost out of the equation.

IFB: Overall, can you share metrics on the scope of your business?

ML: Across the platform we have 80-90 million total connections, fans, Likers. It’s not unusual for our clients to have 10% of all their Facebook fans engage them on a monthly basis. We now have 75 agencies, primarily advertising agencies and public relations firms, that actually use a white label version of our platform; we let (them) do most of the creative work. Buddy Media is growing by over 50% quarter-by-quarter in terms of revenue. We’re on track to do probably over $20 million this year. We have 85 employees in New York, New York.

IFB: What metrics do you use to determine the success of a given campaign?

ML: Typically we look at client success through APIs that we can set up on our platform, which lets you track fan growth, user engagement and activation. It’s very hard ROI metrics tied to their campaign: How many people signed up for a sweepstakes, we got 300,000 people to redeem the coupons, how many people bought from a retailer, how many people signed up for a test drive? So, if you set up the dashboard correctly, everyone can be on the same page in terms of what they’re trying to accomplish.