We All Like a Good Listener (Especially in Brands)

We all have bad days. Unfortunately, the bad day your company’s customer service rep is having might result in a negative customer interaction, the highlights of which end up on Twitter, on Facebook, or as a recording on YouTube. Maybe it just so happens this customer is super active on social media and has thousands of followers. Maybe it was someone famous and your rep had no clue who it was. Maybe it wasn’t a bad day, but your customer care department inadvertently tweeted something insensitive in the context of another breaking news story, like what happened when Tesco tweeted a horse-related joke after million’s of burgers they stock were found to contain horse meat. The next thing you know you have a frenzy on Twitter and you need to respond to irate customers. Brands need to be listening, and most importantly responding.

Customers expect a lot from brands these days and more than anything, they expect their feedback to be answered quickly, in the social channels where they posted their complaint or praise. As demonstrated in the short hypothetical story above, one customer’s bad experience has the potential to result in some serious brand damage if it snowballs. And that’s just one example. Social channels provide an outlet for people to rave about new products, give design suggestions and other positive feedback. They’ve also become an outlet for all of the frustrated, and angry, full-of-complaints customers to feel heard.  Listening to, and monitoring social media is a necessity for companies who want to protect, maintain, and shape brand perceptions and experiences. Social data combined with internal customer data, is a powerful resource for customer analysis. We focused on the necessity of including social data in CEM, in the context of a major retailer, for a recent case study with Plugged In partner, Clarabridge.

Download the case study on social data in customer experience management! 


Quantifying Tweets: Trading on 140 Characters

Social media analysis… for traders? That statement 5 years ago elicited a much different response than it does now. The market now recognizes the importance – and the impact – of social media channels, and as such, has recognized the need to monitor and trade off the research created from that data.

One of the earliest and most important voices in this conversation was that of Joe Gits and the Social Market Analytics team. Which is why we are incredibly excited to announce that they’ve joined the Plugged In to Gnip partner program.

Social Market Analytics quantifies social data for traders, portfolio managers, hedge funds and risk managers. Their technology extracts, evaluates and calculates social data to generate directional sentiment and volatility indications on stocks, ETFs, sectors and indices – providing predictive indicators for clients. They have succeeded in turning qualitative text into quantitative indicators that can easily be incorporated into trading strategies – broadening the types of traders and firms who can now access and incorporate social signal into their decision making.

As shown in their recently announced agreement with New York Stock Exchange (allowing NYSE reseller and distribution rights to their sentiment feed), SMA is helping bring social analytics to a wider group of financial firms than has ever been possible. That client base requires the highest-level of enterprise reliability in the products they buy –  which means SMA’s product requires the strongest data foundation possible. And Gnip is honored to be the company providing the reliable and complete access to the social data that fuels this solution.

To see what their technology looks like, check out the webinar we recently held with them.

Webinar Recap: Social Resonance Analysis with mBLAST

Yesterday, we hosted a webinar with our Plugged In to Gnip partner mBLAST. The focus of the webinar was on how resonance tracking and analysis can be used to not only identify the people who create relevant content, but just as important, the people responsible for disseminating that content across the web.

  • Often the people responsible for spreading your story aren’t the people you would expect or consider to be traditional influencers.
  • Identifying the people who are the most resonant on a certain topic is crucial information for customer service and brand management to close the satisfaction loop.
  • Brands need to do more than just listen. Adding resonance gives a clearer picture of the conversations that are important. Analytics must be incorporated into a company’s social media strategy to identify the influential people, where they are, how they communicate and most importantly, the topics in which they are highly engaged. It is not just about the number of followers they have or popularity statistics.
  • Consumers are no longer going to waste time on the phone to tell customer service how terrible an experience was. They are going straight to the social platforms to wreak havoc. Brands need to be aware of the social resonance of an issue, whether it’s negative or positive, before reaching out to customers.

All and all, I was impressed to learn how resonance tracking helps put together a strategic and organized understanding of how the conversation moves from platform to platform, and how crucial it is to dig deep into the mechanics of a story’s virality. It’s a whole new ballgame for brands, PR firms, and customer service teams.

Expion Joins Plugged In to Gnip and Adds Tumblr & GetGlue as Data Sources

This week I’m on a panel at Expion’s third annual “Mission Possible” Conference in Raleigh, which makes it even more fun to announce that Expion is now a Plugged In to Gnip partner and will be adding Tumblr, Disqus and GetGlue to their social data sources. It is especially significant to be making this announcement among all of Expion’s incredible customers because, ultimately, this partnership is all about providing them with the best social data out there.

Expion’s leadership position in the social media marketing and engagement industry makes them an ideal Plugged In partner as they’re committed to providing complete, reliable and sustainable social data into their analytics products. The world’s largest brands and agencies use Expion to effectively monitor and engage with their customers in real time across multiple geographic locations and myriad digital channels. The marketplace is changing rapidly and we are seeing industry leaders like Expion marshall together the best mix of social data sources to serve their customers. By adding sources such as GetGlue, Tumblr and Disqus, Expion is creating a competitive advantage for their customers–giving them a much more complete picture for their brand.

I’ve had the pleasure of working with Expion for the past year and have been particularly impressed by their commitment to innovation. The social media landscape is constantly evolving and they have always been eager to dive in to the latest products and data sources such as Tumblr and GetGlue to ensure that their products, and their customers stay ahead of the curve.

Stay tuned for a case study demonstrating what Expion’s customers are doing with access to these data sources!

Gnip at Expion Conference


Cracking the Code to Discovering Insights in Consumer Conversations:

How Networked Insights helps brands make data-driven marketing decisions

While short-form content is good for predicting trends, long-form content carries distinctive elements that enable deeper, threaded analysis of ongoing conversations and commentary. This analysis can help marketers better understand pre- and post-sale behavior, identifying what moves consumers through the purchase funnel. No surprise that smart analytics companies are focusing on learning more about these long-form sources to complement short-form content sources, such as Twitter.

To fully serve the needs of their customers, Plugged In partner Networked Insights wanted to provide a comprehensive view of consumer conversations—which required tracking across different social media platforms, including more long-form content sources. To do this, it was important to Networked Insights to have complete access to the firehose of WordPress and IntenseDebate data from Gnip. Through their next-generation analytics platform SocialSense, Networked Insights helps brand marketers and CMOs better understand their consumers by providing insights from the social sphere—by focusing on three distinctive areas of insights: Audience, Content, and Media. These insights help the company’s clients gain a clearer picture of consumer behavior and affinities, uncover new audiences, optimize advertising spend, and inform a wide range of marketing decisions.

Audience Insight: Networked Insights collects and analyzes millions of data points a day from a myriad of sources. They understand that social data isn’t just about Twitter and Facebook, so they incorporate as much long-form content as possible from various blogs and forums. In fact, more than 20% of the long-form content Networked Insights consumes comes from WordPress— a source available through Gnip’s exclusive partnership with WordPress.

The chart below explores the classic data-mining marketing illustration of Dads shopping for beer and diapers, giving an example of how audience insights play into marketing decisions. Networked Insights looked at mentions of both diapers and beer during a nine-month period. The greatest correlation between the two topics occurred as Dads prepared for the Super Bowl. What can marketers and advertisers take away from this? It’s a great opportunity for diaper consumer packaged goods (CPG) brands to access the typically expensive to reach sports fan audience.

Beer vs Diapers on WordPress

Content Insight: Building from the audience insights they uncover, Networked Insights works with marketers to provide a 360-degree view of their brand, competitors, or ecosystem’s consumers. They accomplish this through identifying the key affinities (favorite celebrities, musicians, TV shows, etc.) within a brand’s key target audiences. This gives a huge advantage to marketers because millions of dollars are spent every year guessing on content that would resonate with their target consumers.

So how does long-form content lend a different kind of insight? One difference is the length of user engagement. The engagement that WordPress users create is more sustained than what Twitter users create, even though WordPress volume pales in comparison to Twitter volume. Here’s one way to see the difference using social mentions related to TV shows as an example. After an episode airs, the number of conversations on WordPress doesn’t decrease as quickly as it does on Twitter, as you can see in the two charts below. Since conversations are shared on WordPress longer, this results in an increased capacity for marketers to get deep, actionable insights.

Reality Programming: Twitter vs WordPress

Comedy Programming: Twitter vs WordPress

Media Insight: By leveraging audience insights with content affinities of the target consumers, marketers can now more effectively buy media and organically reach new consumers. A great example of this is work Networked Insights did with a consumer tech company to amplify the reach of their digital ads.  Through access to real-time blog data from WordPress, Networked Insights distinguished early tech trends and themes that would ultimately trickle down to the general consumer conversation. They did this by identifying a group of tech influencers—a specific blogging community that relies upon platforms including WordPress—and analyzed how these influencers engaged with tech-related products. Leveraging what they knew about the audience and their consumer behaviors and interests, Networked Insights was able to provide new insights into what content to promote and whom to target on digital, and as a result increased the effectiveness of the company’s cost per impression by over 30%.


mBLAST Helps Brands Grasp the Trajectory of a Social Conversation

Officially announcing that mBlast is now a Plugged In to Gnip partner (which we’ve just done in this sentence) is especially exciting because of a particular kind of analysis they specialize in – called resonance tracking – that they’ll be able to do on this announcement!

As a leader in the social media analytics space that is helping companies understand the trajectory of social conversations, it makes sense to include mBLAST among Gnip’s growing group of partners. Companies who are Plugged In are driving innovation in the social media ecosystem through their products and emphasis on incorporating multiple social media sources into their analysis. One of the ways mBLAST is defining social media analytics is through their development of resonance tracking, a variation on influencer tracking with some distinctly different capabilities. Effective resonance tracking necessitates the monitoring of multiple different platforms, which piqued our interest on the topic.

Wouldn’t we all like to stop a rumor in it’s tracks — or at least have a good idea of who started it? Knowing how a story perpetuates across the social sphere and who is responsible for influencing those moves is a valuable tool for companies and brands. If you can pinpoint which of your fans, or critics for that matter, is talking about you the loudest, with the most influence, and in which channels, you can directly address the message.

mBLAST has measured resonance within the analytics applied to social, blog and media data tracked in their mPACT platform for literally millions of stories. All of this tracking and measurement has lead to some pretty interesting observations which mBLAST will be releasing in a whitepaper in September titled, “Social Intelligence: The Role of Resonance”. The more we learned about resonance tracking and the many ways it can be applied to everyday customer service, marketing, and public relations scenario, the more we couldn’t wait to spread the word on just how relevant a tool it is. So we put together a short summary of their resonance tracking whitepaper to give you a sneak peek — focusing on how resonance differs from more traditional influencer tracking and why it is a key part of social media analytics.

mBlast Resonance

So, how does resonance differ from traditional influencer tracking? A couple of ways, but probably the most significant is that it allows companies to identify which individuals are the most influential in a specific channel for a specific story and how that story is jumping from platform to platform. For example, a story about a CPG brand starts on a blog post and then hops from the blog post to Twitter and then to Facebook, etc. Perhaps the conversation is false or the product contents are reflected inaccurately. Whatever the case may be, the CPG company likely wants to engage with the people, and in the channels, where it will do the most to shape the conversation and protect the company’s reputation. Both can be done using resonance tracking.

We’re psyched to have mBLAST in Plugged In and look forward to working together. And we’ll be excited to track the resonance on this announcement!

If resonance tracking gets you excited or you want to know more, check out this webinar on the topic on September 12.

Union Metrics for Tumblr Gets Even Smarter

Last year, Union Metrics for Tumblr was launched as the first Tumblr analytics product based on the full firehose of Tumblr data. Union Metrics, an A-List Tumblr partner, already counts Funny Or Die, Puma, Yale University, House of Radon, Digg, We Are Social, Rhode Island School of Design, and Hyatt among its clients.

Since that time period, Tumblr has continued to grow with more than 118 million blogs and 54 billion posts. Each day users create more than 75 million new posts. As Tumblr has grown, Union Metrics for Tumblr has grown alongside Tumblr, and today is announcing both awesome new analytics features and new pricing options.

We’re proud to call Union Metrics a Plugged In To Gnip partner, and we’re always excited to share the awesome products our customers are creating. What’s even better than us telling you about how cool some of these new features are? Hearing it straight from the source. We recently did an interview with Union Metrics founders, Jenn Deering Davis and Hayes Davis, about Union Metrics for Tumblr and what access to the full firehose of Tumblr social data means for bloggers, brands and marketers. What did they have to say? See for yourself!

Shiny New Features

Starting today, subscribers to Union Metrics for Tumblr can now track followers of their blogs in the Union Metrics interface, a highly sought after feature.The product now also provides integration with Google Analytics, giving users access to their blog’s traffic metrics alongside engagement performance of their content. These new features complement the existing detailed interaction and influencer analytics that Union Metrics for Tumblr already featured, coupled with competitor blog and keyword tracking. One of Gnip’s favorite features is the visualization tree of how content spreads on Tumblr, which is one of the most viral mediums on the planet.

Union Metrics Reblog Tree

Tumblr Analytics for the People

Union Metrics has also rounded out its subscription plan levels to meet the needs of professional bloggers and small business Tumblr users by adding a new lower ­cost tier, giving users the ability to monitor up to five of their Tumblr blogs for $25 per month.

Now that your interest is piqued, read more about the product updates and new features.

Gnip + Infomart + Infochimps: Real Returns in Real Time

If you missed last week’s webinar about how Plugged In partner Infochimps is helping companies easily develop social data analysis apps to solve key business challenges in real time, we’ve got a short recap for you!

Evaluating: In-house or Outsourcing Solutions

Infomart, an industry leader in traditional media monitoring, was struggling with its legacy technology when it came to social media monitoring. The company, which has been around as a media monitoring company since 1986, had what it refers to as “Frankenstein” technology where they were adding on hodgepodge solutions to meet current needs. Users of their system had to employ multiple tools for traditional news and social media monitoring.

Getting to the Right Product

They came to a point where they had to decide if they wanted to do social media monitoring in-house or not. Ultimately they moved towards moving it out of house and found the the perfect solution by using the Infochimps cloud paired with Gnip data, which allowed them to ramp up quickly on the front end and focus on their other strengths and consulting.

During the process, Infomart also realized that their customers had to always do custom analysis to get the data they needed, which led them to their current solution. Their current solution focuses on three aspects: portfolios, integration and collaboration. Portfolios gives customers a collection point for information, tools and work about a subject, project, crisis, department, client, issue or campaign. Tools to work with data. Integration is about the ability to work on any content piece with the same tools, regardless of source/type of content. Infomart is rare in that it has the ability to integrate with both traditional types of media, as well as social media from Gnip including Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, blogs and forums. Infomart also allows for collaboration within its platform so you can email content or assign tasks right away.

As Informart says, “Data is the shining star of the platform.”

Behind the Product

Ultimately, what made Infomart’s new solution so flawless was the ability to build on top of Infochimps solution. Infochimps is a suite of enterprise class cloud services that makes it simple and quick to deploy big data applications. Infochimps makes big data, which is traditionally slow and cumbersome, much easier and less complex. Another advantage of Infochimps is its ability to do real-time analytics, ad hoc analytics and batch analytics.

To learn more how all three organizations create returns in real time, you can see the rest of the webinar here.

Whitepaper: Why Social Data Matters to BtoB

We like to highlight the work of our Plugged In To Gnip partners and one partner had a fantastic story to share. The growing reach of social data, and the value that organizations can derive from analyzing it, continues to amaze even us – (who are obviously the most ardent supporters of this data!). A particularly fascinating use recently came from FirstRain, a Gnip customer and Plugged In partner - when they told us a story about their client, Flextronics.

While you may not fully recognize the name Flextronics, they’re one of the world’s largest electronic services manufacturers. In fact, it’s an easy bet you’ve used an electronic product that depends on a key component they’ve built. From motorcycles to LCD TV receivers or XBoxes, Flextronics has definitely entertained you at some point.

Given that unique and varied electronics product line, some people might not expect them to be at the vanguard of using social data for a very measurable return. But they have been successfully leveraging FirstRain’s ‘FirstTweet’ solution for uncovering business intelligence in social data – in a way that has been directly responsible for winning them specific sales deals.

We couldn’t pass up such a great opportunity to explore the value social data delivered to this unlikely suspect. So we worked with FirstRain and Flextronics to create a white paper bringing this story to life.

If you’d like to check out the full piece, you can download it gnip.com/firstrainwhitepaper.

FirstRain Dashbaord


Power Up Those Analytics: Alteryx Gets Plugged In

Earlier this morning, George Mathew – President & COO of Alteryx – announced during his speech at the Inspire 2013 conference that Alteryx is now a Plugged In To Gnip partner.

The journey of this partnership is one that we’ve enjoyed, and it has been a natural fit from the beginning. Alteryx is a desktop-to-cloud analytics solution widely recognized for both ease of use (even across a wide range of user skills) – as well as powerful capabilities that can handle complex problems. With those characteristics, an integration with social media data just made sense!

To top it off, Alteryx has an office and a vocal presence here in Boulder, so we’ve gotten to know many of the members of their team, and have been consistently impressed with their enthusiasm for big, social data and – most importantly – the creative and valuable insights that the right analytics tool can derive from that data.

The release of Alteryx Strategic Analytics 8.5 is a great example of what this partnership means for enterprises that need to incorporate social analysis quickly and simply. Within 8.5, users benefit from a pre-built integration with Gnip. As an Alteryx user, you enter your Gnip credentials within the Alteryx tool to access your Twitter stream. You can then plug that social analysis tool into the multi-step algorithm or joined data analytics you are creating. This type of integration enables business users from across an entire enterprise to leverage social data in their everyday decision making by simply adding this tool to their analytic workflow.

We’re very excited to have Alteryx in our Plugged In program, and look forward to working together.