Doing good customer research is like flossing. Everyone knows they should do it, but something gets lost between intent and execution.
Mining social media and other unstructured content is emerging as a faster and lower-cost alternative to doing custom research projects or in-person focus groups. I've written about text mining vendors like Attensity and Clarabridge before, and social media monitoring vendors like Techrigy (Alterian) and Visible. Even big analytics vendors are getting in the game, like SAS.
This week Infegy announced Social Radar 3, which it claims is the industry's "fastest and most comprehensive social media monitoring and analytics platform." Well, I don't know about that, but I was impressed with what I learned in a brief demo and discussion with CEO and Founder Justin Graves.
The roots of the software came from Graves' work at an ad agency where he worked on analyzing massive amounts of web data quickly. Then he launched Infegy in 2007, and has to this point mainly sold the Social Radar solution to agencies to help them:
Research whether a client's marketing message is "sticking" with consumers
Advise clients on how to refine messages to make them more effective
Find problems/gaps in competitor offerings, so strategies can be developed to target those opportunities
Starting with about 60K blogs, Infegy now has accumulated over 40M sources it can use for sentiment analysis. Infegy has its own web crawler to continue to add sources, and clients can manually add relevant sources, too. Social Radar uses NLP to analyze over 9 billion conversions, and counting...
Here's a simple example of a query on "android" which I'm sure is great interest to those trying to make a dent in iPhone's market share. In the past year Android has been mentioned nearly 9 million times -- an average of once every 3.6 seconds. You can see the overall sentiment is positive and that the microblogging (Twitter, mostly) is the big source. You can use Social Radar to find the most influential sources (sites like Engadget and TechCrunch in this example) but it won't tell you about specific individuals.
Source: Infegy. Other screen shots available here.
Graves says Social Radar 3 is easier and faster to work with to set up reports and do drill-down analysis. Spam detection has been improved to avoid mining questionable content, much like Google's recent algorithm update to weed out drivel. And, a new API enables integration into other web applications.
Infegy is a small firm that to this point has been flying under the radar (sorry), mainly providing its service to agencies. With no outside investors and less than 100 customers, it's not really a threat (yet) to the big guns of the SMM or text mining industry.
And it should be noted that Social Radar is mainly a tool for research, not engagement. I wouldn't be surprised (thanks to the API) to see it become embedded in other systems that need a stronger text-mining engine to complement social media engagement solutions like contacting a consumer after a negative Tweet or blog post.
Still, from a first look Graves and team appear to created an innovative service that can help big brands (and their agencies) find golden nuggets of consumer insights to improve products and tune marketing messages.
Bob Thompson is CEO of CustomerThink Corp., an independent research and publishing firm focused on customer-centric business management, and Founder/Editor-in-Chief of CustomerThink.com, the world's largest community dedicated to customer-centric business. Thompson is a popular international keynote speaker, blogger and author of numerous reports, articles and papers. He also serves on the Board of Directors of the Customer Experience Professionals Association.
[Recorded Sept 26] Traditional Voice of Customer surveys have a blind spot to real-time feedback on social media and call center interactions. Learn how progressive companies are mining Big Data to improve the customer experience, reduce churn and even boost agent selling.