Marketing

This marketing platform helped Samsung beat Apple … and predicts the future with 78% accuracy

Image Credit: Networked Insights

Facebook wants to be the social layer for the web. Google wants to be the discovery layer, and PayPal wants to be the financial layer.

Networked Insights, however, wants to be the consumer intent layer.

In other words, a crystal ball — that works — for marketers.

Networked Insights dashboardGoogle knows a lot about the world, and Facebook knows a lot about people. Networked Insights, however, might know the most of any company about consumers. Or at least what they want, and what they do, and what they might buy. So much so, in fact, that it can predict with better accuracy than the big G what movies will be successful, which products people want, and maybe even what’s going to be hot next season on Paris runways.

Over the last five years, Networked Insights has built a marketing platform for a limited number of massive companies like Samsung, Proctor & Gamble, AT&T, and MillerCoors. It hunts the social web, ingesting more than 560 million posts on Twitter, YouTube, Facebook, Tumblr, and other sites every day. It then classifies each of them according to more than 15,000 categories and “converts those consumer ingredients into marketing data,” CEO Dan Neely told me last week.

The ultimate goal?

A common web-wide audience for marketers. And the ability to not just know what people like, but also to predict what they will do.

“Our hope is that we can become the layer that creates the common audience — that’s the power of having this real-time data,” Neely said. “We understand pretty much all consumer data, and the platform has become predictive.”

The company takes a big step towards fulfilling that hope today, as it (finally) launches out of public beta and becomes available to any and all companies looking for social media marketing solutions..

Finding (and targeting) consumers at web-scale

Samsung, for instance, used Networked Insights over the past three years to find and target the “Android gene,” the things that Android users like and want and do. The Korean company used that data to help it beat Apple in the extremely competitive mobile device markets. And Proctor & Gamble uses it to find and target consumers for each of the companies’ many brands, calling it the “first end-to-end enterprise marketing platform we’ve seen.”


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That’s high praise, especially considering the impressive and massive marketing clouds from Salesforce, Adobe, Oracle, IBM, Sitecore, and others that also allow for listening, analytics, and targeting.

Networked Insights includes social listening technology that shows you how you compare with competitors

Above: Networked Insights includes social listening technology that shows you how you compare with competitors

Image Credit: Networked Insights

What makes it start to be understandable is that Networked Insights is not just a social listening platform like Radian6 or Viralheat or BrandChats. The difference is in the sophistication of the listening, which knows bears from the Bears and a safety from workplace safety. The company’s 15,000 classifiers, and its technology for understanding what consumers mean while hearing what they say, is a massive differentiator.

“We start by ingesting real-time social data, and then we classify it for brands and products,” Networked Insights’ VP of Product Dan Cropsey told me. “Those are the key ingredients of life. And we convert it into metrics that make sense to marketers: health metrics, advocacy metrics, forecasts, targets.”

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For example, I watched as Cropsey used his own platform to find pretty much all the conversations online in the last seven days between millennials that relate to investments or banking. It took him about five seconds to find almost 800,000 conversations in English on the major social media platforms — five seconds to create a segment, find sentiment and popular topics in it, and prepare to start advertising and reaching out to people within it.

That’s impressive.

More impressive is using the same tool to not only find conversations but also find who’s talking, and what they care about — as Samsung also did. So, for example, the top TV show for Galaxy fans is Orange is the New Black, meaning the world’s biggest Android manufacturer targeted ads on it for new phones or tablets. Samsung also used Networked Insights to find the top musicians who like its brand, such as Jay Z.

“In the old world, you couldn’t go and buy segments from Nielsen,” CEO Neely told me. “Now you can.”

Finding what you’re not looking for

The danger of not knowing something is often is that you don’t even know what problem you’re supposed to be attacking.

That’s one of the reasons Networked Insights built Doppler.

“Doppler looks for things I don’t know to look for,” Cropsey says. “It allows us to understand the context of the entire conversation — which is how Samsung discovered the weaknesses in Apple.”

Doppler by Networked Insights, showing connected conversations

Above: Doppler by Networked Insights, showing connected conversations

Image Credit: Networked Insights

For example, Doppler connects conversations like those of Android loyalists, iPhone fence-sitters, and first-time smartphone buyers, and reveals common themes pro and con. In other words, it’s a real-time, infinite-length, Internet-scale polling platform, which showed Samsung that screen size and price were the two characteristics that could put Apple on the run.

“I can now start understanding what Android loyalists and iPhone fence sitters have in common,” Cropsey says. “Then I can start marketing around that. It’s how people discover the thing they don’t know they need to look for. That’s often the big opportunity.”

Finding the future

It’s one thing to find what’s there, even if you weren’t aware of it. It’s another thing to know what’s coming. That is, however, a big part of the goal behind the Networked Insights platform.

And, the company says, it works pretty well already. Better than Google, it says.

“14 weeks before a movie comes out, as soon as the trailers come out, we know how successful it will be,” CEO Neely told me. “We’ve been able to predict open-weekend box office plus or minus $5 million.”

In fact, Networked Insights says, it’s been able to explain 78 percent of the variance in opening-weekend box office receipts, compared to Google’s 71 percent. But, it adds, Google predicts that a week out, while Networked Insights predicts it more than three months out.

Networked Insights' social data

Above: Networked Insights’ social data

Image Credit: Networked Insights

Cropsey is dismissive of Google’s 7-day predictions:

“They were one week before, we were 14 weeks. Knowing one week before, that’s nothing more than a fun fact — you can’t do anything with it anymore.”

The company has only turned on its crystal ball in certain segments, executives told me, including consumer packaged goods, consumer technology, and the entertainment business. But the company’s predictions are so reliable that companies have integrated them not only into sales projections but also into demand-planning systems that ensure they have sufficient stock on hand to fulfill expected sales.

The key is in applying immediate listening and analysis to the very earliest stages of marketing campaigns.

Networked Insights social data allows it to predict sales funnel activity and future sales.

Above: Networked Insights social data allows it to predict sales funnel activity and future sales.

Image Credit: Networked Insights

That data — like audience reactions to movie trailers — tells Networked Insights’ clients how consumers are reacting, how likely they are to buy, and in what numbers. If the results aren’t good, brands have time to adjust, refocus, and re-release. That also helps kill the old-school batch-and-release campaign mode of marketing and shifts it to a real-time reactive-and-adaptive mode, in which companies continually update and adjust products and marketing to close in on tighter and tighter alignment with their core segments.

Fierce competition

Networked Insights has an impressive vision, already-impressive scope, and impressive clients. But as the company launches out of a very long public beta into the big world of marketing platforms, it faces a long list of impressive competitors too.

Sitecore’s new “experience database” promises to unlock customer data in all its interactions with a brand. Salesforce has built a strong contender in the marketing cloud arena. IBM is trying to tie $3 billion worth of acquisitions into a single way to find, connect with, sell to, and serve customers. And Adobe has one of the strongest entrants into the field with its massive marketing cloud. Perhaps Networked Insights’ closest competitor is Vocus, which combines a strong social story with a marketing automation system.

None of them, however, treat the social web as Networked Insights does, as the new natural playing field for marketers to meet consumers, understand them, connect to them, and fulfill their desires.

“IBM and Adobe are at the forefront right now,” Neely said when I asked him who Networked Insights competes with. “But from our perspective Adobe is focused on the bottom of the funnel, and IBM is focused only on analytics; they don’t have real expertise in social data.”

Rather, the company’s key competition, Neely feels, is from complex systems with multiple components from numerous vendors that companies have knit together to make marketing decisions.

More information:

International Business Machines Corporation, abbreviated IBM and nicknamed Big Blue (for its official corporate color), is a global technology and innovation company headquartered in the Northeast US. IBM is the largest technology and ... read more »

With more than 100,000 customers, salesforce.com is the enterprise cloud computing company that is leading the shift to the social enterprise. Social enterprises leverage social, mobile and open cloud technologies to put customers at t... read more »

Whether it's a smartphone or tablet app, a game, a video, a digital magazine, a website, or an online experience, chances are that it was touched by Adobe technology. Our tools and services enable our customers to create groundbreaking... read more »

Oracle is the gold standard for database technology and applications in enterprises throughout the world?the company is the world's leading supplier of information management software and the world's second largest independent software... read more »

Google's innovative search technologies connect millions of people around the world with information every day. Founded in 1998 by Stanford Ph.D. students Larry Page and Sergey Brin, Google today is a top web property in all major glob... read more »

Sitecore is a global software company committed to helping marketers own every experience they deliver to their customers and prospects. Sitecore combines best-in-class web content management with marketing automation, email marketing,... read more »

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38 comments
James Maxx
James Maxx

Samsung needs fancy analytic software and violating Apple patents (to copy it's iPhone) to maybe beat Apple. Although it will never happen.

rboswell
rboswell

@ChuckReynolds I'm sorry you're having issues with comments/user profiles on VB. Could you send me an email: ryan@ ?

rboswell
rboswell

@ChuckReynolds I'm sorry you're having issues with comments/user profiles on VB. Could you send me an email: ryan@ ?

barclaytweets
barclaytweets

@leshughes_ "This marketing platform helped Samsung beat Apple..." - to make them really pissed, they ran it on an Apple [see image].

LivefyreSkyler
LivefyreSkyler

@ChuckReynolds Ah! Comments going through, but display/functionality issues with profiles there. Definitely not your browser (my bad!)

Rick Bakas
Rick Bakas

Beat Apple at what? The article is a great placement by Samsung's PR team.

Chuck Reynolds
Chuck Reynolds

Interesting to me that Apple wouldn't have some sort of forecasting application in their arsenal.. no data scientists there? 

For the exact reason that companies have an abundance of data yet don't know what to do with it or how to use it to find patterns and forecast marketing data is why http://leve.rs was built. It came out of doing it manually for so long we wanted an engine to crunch our numbers and simulate the data - sounds like what they did.

Also interesting: Predicting open weekend box office revenues within 90% accuracy - built in a weekend at a hackathon: 

http://leve.rs/blog/levers-hollywood-predicts-opening-weekend-box-office-revenues/


(edit really with livefyre would work w/ my profile ugh)

Zsolt Vaszary
Zsolt Vaszary

Proctor & Gamble, LOL :). Procter for Christ's sake. Do your home work or just read the back side of you bathroom products.

Tutto Bene
Tutto Bene

Call it what it is: ubiquitous domestic spying, you know, like what the NSA does and which outrages us. Equifax and Stratfor are two other domestic spy agencies. If there is by some strange miracle one place where the US Congress has placed limitations on the NSA's spying, where it can't or is not legally able to spy on us, they can use a known loophole to do so by means of simply purchasing that spy data from the corporation's big data horde.


So, what we have is collusion between the various big gov. and corporate spying by means of big data on what we do, say, and what and how we think, and accurate projections into what we will do, think, and say.


Who benefits from ubiquitous spying on submissive and complying citizens? The citizens? No. I see no benefit from being spied upon and neither do you. The only segments that benefit is big gov. and big corporation. Is this what we want? The wise mind says "no."

rafolas
rafolas

@juanmacias supongo que la cantidad de millones más que gastan en marketing también tiene que ver...

LivefyreSkyler
LivefyreSkyler

@ChuckReynolds I can't speak for both sides' integration teams, but imagine it's a known issue. Still passing along the feedback. Thanks!

Chuck Reynolds
Chuck Reynolds

and then my comment shows up again from FB... *facepalm*  @LivefyreSkyler

John Koetsier
John Koetsier

@Tutto Bene  The solution is to not publicize your social media. Make your FB postings private to only your friends, and lock down your Twitter with its approve-followers feature. And vice versa for everything else you're doing.


Or go completely hard-core and use a Tor-based privacy solution

rboswell
rboswell

@ChuckReynolds We are working on a fix for some of the bugs you experienced, and a few new additions for user profiles in the near future.

Tutto Bene
Tutto Bene

Hello @John Koetsier @Tutto Bene,

Of course, there is no solution available - including those and methods you mention -, as far as I can tell, around which the NSA, especially, is not willing to circumvent and contravene my privacy wishes in order to peruse and collect, well, anything it wants. 


And, even now, peers in my profession urgently advise me to get on the Facebook spy corporation to promote myself in the marketplace, which repels rather than attracts me. 


And, you know, the various websites offering the services you mention, including Network Insights, put on an appealing front face to its readers and business customers in this scheme while I see, correctly I think, a masticating skull lurking underneath.


One of my advisors said, "you have to play the game to be in the game." This is likely true, but I can't help thinking about the frog who kills itself while comfy in the ever-increasing water temperature in which it thinks it's bathing.

ChuckReynolds
ChuckReynolds

@rboswell roger that. sorry for the blast. LF's bugs the last year have been building up on me. Cheers man :)