On August 26, Kargo announced its acquisition of Rhombus, an ad platform built to embed social media content across premium publishers’ sites and apps. The Rhombus social embedding technology will be renamed Social Canvas and integrated into the Kargo platform to allow advertisers highly targeted, cookieless ad placements adjacent to relevant, newsworthy social media posts.
News of the acquisition sparked my interest in how Rhombus first built its innovative, brand safe platform with help from Kevel — and how its reach and scale will change as it joins Kargo.
"One of the surprising advantages we had was that our team didn’t have an ad tech background. It may seem counterintuitive, but having a product and engineering team without any ad tech background allowed us to take a new look at things and move faster than other companies."Abe Storey, Rhombus
I realized that the internet had fundamentally changed. We used to talk about the news on social media. Maybe a family member would read an article and share it on Facebook or Twitter. Now, social media is the news. What business leaders, celebrities, sports stars, and everyday people say on social media is what drives the news.
For example, when Kevin Durant left the Golden State Warriors, something incredible happened. And no — it wasn’t that the Nets were suddenly a good team. It was that he didn’t immediately tell management, his teammates, or the press about his departure. The first thing he did was post on Instagram. Then, sports publications scrambled to embed his Instagram post in their articles.
It isn’t just Twitter. Music websites embed Spotify and Soundcloud songs. Entertainment sites embed Instagram posts and YouTube videos. News sites embed Reddit and Facebook posts. There are over 19 social media platforms that include social embeds.
We didn’t want to recreate the wheel when it came to core advertising technology such as geotargeting, flights, and so on. This is where Kevel was a life saver. Kevel allowed us to focus on our core value — analyzing the data of social embeds — instead of getting lost in creating our own ad server.
We experienced numerous bugs in the early stages.
The depth and scale of their existing brand partnerships.
"Only about a month after the acquisition, a significant portion of S&P 500 brands are Social Canvas advertisers."Abe Storey
Kargo brings an immense list of tier one publisher partnerships that virtually expands our reach overnight.
We built Rhombus from the ground up for contextual targeting. So we are lucky that the changing regulatory and browser environment has had limited impact on us (and in fact has helped us).
They are hand picked by editors and placed inside premium publisher content, and they don’t include comments.
Lastly, Social Canvas’ proprietary brand safety technology automatically detects and blocks non brandsafe embeds.
One of the surprising advantages we had was that our team didn’t have an ad tech background. It may seem counterintuitive, but having a product and engineering team without any ad tech background allowed us to take a new look at things and move faster than other companies.
Abe Storey was the founder and CEO of Rhombus, which recently sold to Kargo Global, Inc. He enjoys working on product and go-to-market strategy for early-stage companies.
Thanks to Abe for sharing how Rhombus came to be — and what’s next as part of the Kargo team.
Jane is the Senior Marketing Manager at Kevel. She enjoys discovering user-first ad platforms and articulating the value of Kevel's ad serving APIs.