Data Story: Phil Harris of Geofeedia

Data Stories is Gnip’s ongoing series telling the stories of the people and companies that are doing groundbreaking work in social data. This week we’re interviewing Phil Harris, CEO of Geofeedia, a company that allows you to search and monitor social media by location. Geofeedia is a recent Gnip customer, and I love what they’re doing. The inherent value of Geofeedia was made clear to me when we received a media request looking for all social media that was geotagged close to the finish line of the Boston Marathon. Content + location creates powerful stories and Geofeedia is making it easier to find the right ones. 

1. What social data sources do you wish had geotagged data?
Our business is built on the fundamental premise of open source social data aggregation.  Or, I should say, every source. That said, there are currently major social data sources that provide public location data based on location identifier versus geotag. We will accommodate location id to integrate these data sources, but I strongly believe that over time, the benefits of more precise geo-location tagging on social media content will encourage these services to move towards geotagging. When they do, we’re exceptionally well positioned to translate that evolution into benefit for our clients.

2. If you’re a user, what do you think is the advantage of sharing your geodata?
We’ve barely scratched the surface of how geodata will deliver value to consumers. I believe the rapidly growing penetration of smartphones and adoption of geo-centric applications such as navigation will create a rich ecosystem of geo-data driven benefits. I am speaking with major consumer brands who believe that they will be able to create and maintain consumer relationships via location based social media in ways that will deliver significant value back to the individual user.

3. What can you find with Geofeedia that you can’t find on other platforms?
I know from analyzing our data with active customers that a significant amount of user generated content is missed by traditional keyword or hashtag centric monitoring tools. We complement these platforms to ensure relevant location based content is delivered to our customers in real-time.

4. Only a small portion of social media is geotagged, do you think this will change in the future?
I do. We’re seeing an increase every quarter, but as brands start rolling out compelling reasons for consumers to geotag their content, I believe geotagged social media will become the default.

5. How do you think Geofeedia will be used for good?
The leading businesses I’m speaking with consider Geofeedia as a tool to improve their overall customer experience. Understanding an individual social media conversation at a moment in time at a given location drastically improves the ways brands can serve their customers. Also, numerous public safety agencies are using Geofeedia to improve their ability to respond to natural disasters and other scenarios where real-time, location based social media awareness delivers great value.

6. How will real-time geo monitoring affect a brand’s ability to connect with their customers?

Like I said, the major brands with whom I’m speaking are evaluating how to improve their overall customer experience across all touch points – sales, customer service, loyalty – through real-time location based monitoring, analysis and engagement. I do believe that real-time, location based social media engagement will drastically improve a brand’s ability to have a meaningful, new type of relationship with their customers and become a de facto element of their communication mix.

Thanks to Phil for participating in Data Stories! If you have any other suggestions on a great data story candidate, please let us know in the comments! 

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