Ad targeting company Media6Degrees mines online social connections to deliver advertising to customers as well as the people that are connected to them. Media6Degrees' concept of social ad targeting is different than common per

ceptions, President and CEO Tom Phillips told eMarketer's senior analyst Debra Aho Williamson today. While not literally social media data, the Web data used to construct custom audiences for brands does come from the social Web.

Instead of constructing audiences based on demographics, Media6Degrees uses "data that comes from connections between prospects and customers." The brand loyalists are seeds that Phillips gets directly from the client. The company technology and algorithms identify an audience based on the connections between the sites that the seeds visit and the sites that other Web browsers visit.

While there is not an explicit connection between two specific people on Facebook, for example, person A may look at content (images, blog posts, etc) from person B, and we may assume there is a connection based on this. "But it could be someone I don’t know; we both end up at the same obscure food blog or political blog or sports blog—or whatever it may be," Phillip clarifies. The data is empirical, and the connections are measured so that the most productive are valued higher in a campaign.

The business functions as a performance ad network, taking advantage of these connections for major marketers' campaigns. "The two metrics we measure our performance by are view-throughs to site visits and view-throughs to conversions." These metrics are what clients are looking at when they quantify performance.

Media6Connect does not believe they are making demographics obsolete, but that this approach is more important. "If all the trends are in our favor, then we’ll do a better job finding audiences for marketers than the conventional way," Phillips predicts. If Facebook moves beyond demographics to abstracted data, "it would be huge for us."