Social Climbers

AdParlor Strutta Syncapse Majestic Media Hootsuite Sysomos Pinpoint Social 3 Tier Logic We want you to meet the small shops with big ideas that are making a living (and sometimes a killing) helping marketers win on Facebook. They’re young (the oldest company here was formed in 2007), smart and ready to serve. To learn more […]
Majestic Media
Pinpoint Social
3 Tier Logic

We want you to meet the small shops with big ideas that are making a living (and sometimes a killing) helping marketers win on Facebook. They’re young (the oldest company here was formed in 2007), smart and ready to serve. To learn more about each, click on their names to visit their websites.


AdParlor co-founders Kristaps Ronka and Hussein Fazal

TOP CLIENTS: Groupon, Audi, ZenithOptimedia, OMD, Starcom, Ubisoft, Sega, American Express, LG Canada

SPECIALTY Optimizing right-hand ad column spending

BIO In the fast-moving world of online ad serving, Toronto-based AdParlor has latched on to Facebook’s right-hand column ad space and promises to optimize your advertising effectiveness.

The company was launched in 2008 by programmer/developers Hussein Fazal, then working full-time at Bell Canada, and student/intern Kristaps Ronka. Both were building Facebook games on the side and together began developing an ad network to serve ads to their games and other Facebook apps. Two years ago they realized they really wanted a piece of Facebook’s display ad business and today they serve more than a billion impressions per day on Facebook.

ACTIVITIES They operate a real-time ad creation and optimization system that allows large-scale advertisers to take advantage of the vast Facebook marketplace. Basically, AdParlor built technology on top of Facebook’s ad interface allowing them to effectively monitor and manage ad placements to improve their return.

INTERESTS Generating hundreds of iterations of ads at once and in real time analyze and identify which ads deliver the highest click-through rates and highest conversion rates, and therefore optimize ad delivery for clients.

FRIENDS With a staff of around 35 employees AdParlor works only with advertisers seeking to spend over US$25,000 per month. “We can’t take on every client that wanted to come to us, it’s just not possible,” says CEO Fazal. “We want to give our clients the focus and attention they deserve.” Success has come fast and keeps ramping up. AdParlor’s client list includes top brands, agencies, gaming companies, and more. Last October the company was acquired by Kansas City-based AdKnowledge.


Strutta CEO Ben Pickering

HOMETOWN: Vancouver
TOP CLIENTS: Crate and Barrel, Johnson & Johnson, Comcast, Hilton Hotels, Maple Leaf Foods, The Hudson Bay Co., Vancouver Canucks

SPECIALTY Facebook contest specialists

BIO Who doesn’t like a deal or winning a prize? For do-it-yourself marketers seeking to launch their own Facebook contests or promotions, Strutta is the place to go. One of only three Facebook Preferred Developers in Canada (the others are HootSuite and Syncapse), Strutta is the only one focused on developing apps for brand pages.

HISTORY After launching in 2007 Strutta turned its focus to the development of its DIY contest builder two years later, hiring Ben Pickering from Silicon Valley to become CEO and provide strategic direction for the business. Formerly with Yahoo, Pickering brought years of online experience and has grown the company without any outside investment. “We are profitable and have been growing rapidly, with revenue more than doubling year-over-year,” says Pickering.

ACTIVITIES Building platforms for marketers to run competitions and contests without starting from scratch; fully branded social promotions, with an emphasis on user-generated content such as photo and video contests. Strutta also offers an analytics package to measure reach and engagement.

FRIENDS The company has hosted and supported campaigns for major brands including Crate and Barrel, Adidas and Land Rover. It’s set to release a new suite of applications for Facebook marketing by the end of the first quarter this year.

FAV QUOTATION “Promotions are a tried and true marketing tool to increase brand equity and they are even more powerful thanks to social sharing, which provides significant amplification to your marketing message,” says Pickering.


Michael Scissons, Syncapse CEO

TOP CLIENTS Blackberry, Disney, Unilever, Edelman, Anheuser-Busch InBev, Pepsi, Walmart, Vodafone, L’Oréal Canada

SPECIALTY Managing brand engagement across social media channels

BIO There’s nothing small about the scope or ambition of Syncapse, developer of social media management technologies and digital strategy consultants. Company founder and CEO Michael Scissons oversaw Facebook media sales within the Interpublic Network until leaving in 2007 to start Syncapse as a service provider, helping organizations get set up with social and Facebook marketing. Scissons saw opportunities to use technology to automate social media activity and Syncapse has since evolved equally into a technology systems developer and service provider for social media management, catering exclusively to large enterprises.

ACTIVITIES Since launching its cloud-based Syncapse Platform in 2010, a system offering social media activation, management and measurement on a global scale, the company has been growing fast and attracting investment capital. Today it has 170 employees across five offices (Toronto, London, New York, San Francisco and Portland, Ore.) and investors have put just over $33 million into the business.

INTERESTS Staying focused on Facebook, but with an eye on the evolving world of social media marketing. “Google+ is coming up—less at this point from a social perspective, although it’s making progress,” says Scissons. “Understanding Google+ in relationship to search is pretty key.”

FRIENDS In addition to Canadian clients like Blackberry and Tim Hortons, top tier clients now include Disney, Sony, JP Morgan and Walmart.

FAVOURITE QUOTATION “Analytics is our fastest-growing business and helping organizations understand their social marketing performance. We’re not in the creative and campaign game. We’re trying to help agencies be successful as part of our relationship with our customers,” says Scissons.

Majestic Media

Mario Zelaya, Majestic founder

TOP CLIENTS TBWA, MacLaren, JWT, Red Urban (Toronto & Dallas), Tribal DDB (NY), Zulu Alpha Kilo

SPECIALTY App and campaign developers from around the world

BIO Majestic Media’s founder Mario Zelaya left a senior position with an international bank to start up Majestic Media in 2008. Armed with a Masters in finance and economics, he turned his attention to disruptive digital technology, focusing on Facebook and mobile app development. The company’s first client was Loblaw, followed by a deal with Mac’s Convenience Stores.

PHILOSOPHY “We have development offices in Bulgaria and Argentina,” says Zelaya. “When we’re sleeping in Toronto, our guys in Bulgaria are working, so when we’re up in the morning they’re finishing up their workday.”
This works well for Zelaya, as he deplores overtime. “I don’t believe in it,” he says, “We rarely, if ever, do overtime. Because of this, my guys are happy, engaged and it also allows me to retain great staff rather than burning them out.”

FRIENDS Majestic operates primarily as a Facebook development arm for many top-tier agencies (TBWA, MacLaren, JWT, Red Urban, Tribal DDB (NY), Zulu Alpha Kilo, Rocket XL and Innocean) leading to work on major brands including Exxon Mobil, Visa, Nissan, Sears, The Source, Chevrolet, and Volkswagen.

ACTIVITIES Implementing projects with short timelines and high-levels of complexity. The company offers app development or full solutions including campaign direction, wireframes, designs, development and analytics.

INTERESTS Producing new solutions for marketers that take advantage of recent changes to Facebook. “The potential reach and long-term benefits are phenomenal,” says Zelaya. “With Facebook’s new Open Graph and Timeline, we’ll see a new wave of super apps and marketing approaches.”


Greg Gunn, VP business development

HOMETOWN Vancouver
TOP CLIENTS Pepsico, NBA, Time, Martha Stewart, The White House

SPECIALTY Intuitive social media dashboard

PROFILE How fast is HootSuite growing? The social media management system reached three million sign-ups on January 17. It took the company 24 months to reach its first million, eight months to reach two million and six months to reach three million.

ACTIVITIES HootSuite helps brands and agencies spread messages, monitor conversations and track results across multiple social media networks (including Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Google+) from one centralized web-based dashboard. “We facilitate organic social engagement from an organization,” says Greg Gunn, vice-president of business development. The company offers three product levels: basic, pro and enterprise. The free basic model explains the high number of users, but it’s also been responsible for the company’s entry into multiple Fortune 500 companies, says Gunn.

INTERESTS The company was lauded for creating a tool to help businesses that were high-volume Twitter users and needed more functionality than Twitter alone could offer. Facebook was soon integrated into the network, followed by other social platforms. The company also likes to educate customers on best practices in social media through HootSuite University.

FAVOURITE QUOTATION “Treat your Facebook page as a subscription, and not as a destination. What are the results of the messaging that you’re sending? What’s working and what’s not?” Gunn’s advice to organizations seeking to build their brand on Facebook is to “focus on developing systems that are continuously learning, iterating, adaptable and following a variety of metrics. That’s really important.”


Nick Koudas, president

TOP CLIENTS Microsoft, Coca-cola, Nike, Publicis, Hill & Knowlton, McDonald’s

SPECIALTY Business intelligence for the social web

BIO Born from a research project started in 2005 at the University of Toronto, Sysomos is a globally adopted social media analytics platform that gives corporations, marketers and agencies insight into what’s happening, why it’s happening and who’s driving the conversations. From the labs, Sysomos morphed into a company in 2007 and launched its first product, Media Analysis Platform (MAP), an enterprise-level tool that analyzes the social web. It followed with Heartbeat, a real-time monitoring and measurement tool focused on social media conversations. With the comprehensive MAP product they’ve essentially developed a massive searchable database of the entire social web.

ACTIVITIES In November 2010, Sysomos launched Facebook Page Central, a professional tool to manage Facebook Fan Pages. “A lot of companies are using our analytics to understand their fans better and create insights around the types of discussions happening on their Wall,” says company president and co-founder Nick Koudas. From those insights brands are better able to tailor relevant content for their fans, then analyze those results and keep improving their messaging.

FRIENDS The Sysomos client base is di-verse with a global footprint. Their system is multilingual and able to provide a contextual sentiment analysis in multiple languages, setting it apart from competitors in the field. In July 2010 Sysomos was acquired by newswire service Marketwire of Toronto.

Pinpoint Social

Daniel Patricio, founder

TOP CLIENTS Thomas Cook, Putting Edge, Jackson-Triggs

SPECIALTY Quick turnaround Facebook promotions

PROFILE Daniel Patricio, founder of start-up Pinpoint Social, believes in the keep-it-simple strategy when it comes to Facebook campaigns. Through the company’s easy-to-manage promotional apps, even small businesses are able to boost their social media impact. “I wanted to make Facebook marketing simple,” explains Patricio. While running a small digital strategy agency for three years prior to starting Pinpoint Social, he was challenged to find simple Facebook applications for clients.

ACTIVITIES Pinpoint offers four simple promotional apps (sweepstakes, coupons, polls and a question/comment) on a self-service platform with customizable templates. “We think 90% of businesses out there can do these things and it will impact their business,” says Patricio.

INTERESTS Ensuring client Facebook programs become part of the marketing mix, mirroring their in-store, e-mail and print marketing. “And that’s when it works,” says Patricio “It’s not when they’re trying to come up with a viral video… The things that really matter on Facebook are speed and the creativity of your ideas and not the technical complexity.”

FRIENDS In an early test with the Putting Edge franchise chain, a simple promotion built with Pinpoint Social’s app drove $15,000 in sales during the mini-golfer company’s slowest time of the year. Other clients include winemaker Jackson-Triggs (through its agency Narrative) and travel chain Thomas Cook.

3 Tier Logic

Robb Craig, CEO

HOMETOWN Vancouver
TOP CLIENTS GM, Acura, AMC Theatres, McDonald’s, Red Bull, Starbucks, Los Angeles Times, Cossette, Newad

SPECIALTY Specialists in multi-channel deployment and tracking

PROFILE Connecting activities across multiple communication channels—websites, e-mail, mobile and social—is what 3 Tier Logic is all about. Founded by serial entrepreneurs who started a web design business back in the dot-com era, 3 Tier Logic builds applications that focus on content presentation, interaction and data capture—the three layers of logic.

ACTIVITIES Once the company’s strategy and platform were developed, it was sink or swim. “We took it to large brands in a hyper-competitive market—Southern California,” explains company CEO Rob Craig. “We knew that if we were able to sign big brands in this market then we had a company. If not, then we would go back to Vancouver with our tails between our legs and rethink and rebuild our strategy.” The result: since their launch in 2008 they’ve won business with multinationals, leading to a growing list of clients from sectors including automotive, retail and entertainment.

INTERESTS Initially the company focused on enabling brands to engage consumers via the web, e-mail and mobile channels. Facebook integration was added in 2010. “Today the Facebook channel is the most active,” says Craig. 3 Tier Logic offers a suite of Facebook apps that can be purchased as licensed product—self-serve tools, or as a turnkey, customized solution.

FRIENDS Today the 17-employee company is 25% owned by myGuide search engine of Zurich.

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