Big data. We love it. We’re all talking about it.

As Patrick Tucker notes in his book, The Naked Future, “the number of queries related to the term ‘big data’ jumped by a factor of twenty‑nine. That means that if big data were a country that grew every time someone searched for it on Google, it would be the size of the United Kingdom in 2010, and the size of Australia just three years later.”

Unfortunately, very few of us really understand big data, and even fewer know what to do with it.

Today, Networked Insights has launched Pinpoint — a new analytics capability that integrates with its Kairos platform — in an attempt to help marketers make sense of big data, without having to understand anything about data science or predictive analytics.

In short, Pinpoint tells you when people are talking about something out of the ordinary so that you can leverage that trend using content, conversation, and context.

In other words, with a little ‘planned spontaneity,’ everyone can have their Oreo moment.

“It evaluates all trends happening in a given audience,” Dan Neely, founder and CEO at Networked Insights told me. “Pinpoint allows brands to be proactive in understanding why your opportunity audience is talking about a topic.”

Here how it works.



Kairos constantly analyzes and compares billions of social data points, and makes sense of them through its algorithms and semantic language processing.

This then provides the foundation for Pinpoint, which organizes and categorizes more than 15,000 linguistic signals to understand why consumers are engaging across social media.

Then, when an unexpected signal occurs on any given interest, brand or topic, Pinpoint analyzes the spike to instantly reveal why the spike is happening. New and emerging sub-themes are highlighted and quantified to illustrate the reasons behind the spike.

“Pinpoint allows brands to identify the reasons behind a trend or spike,” Neely said. “Too often a brand only knows that the trend is up or down but not why.  When brands spot emerging topics in their opportunity audience, they have the ability to assess whether or not those topics are something they should latch on to and create content to capture their customers. Pinpoint isn’t limited to people talking about a given brand.”

The beauty of Pinpoint is that it spots trends, and understands them, within your target audience — or a ‘lookalike’ segment based on your competitors’ customers, if you prefer. Which is handy for avoiding the 24/7 stream of One Direction trends if your business targets 30-50 year-old men.

Of course, the platform behind Pinpoint — Kairos — doesn’t just look at Twitter data.

“It pulls data from Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, blogs, forums, YouTube, and over 30 million other sites,” Neely said.

Big data, indeed.

The results are delivered in real-time, and determining the reasons for a spike is an efficient process for Pinpoint users.

“If a brand sees a spike in conversation, they can drill down into the spike, and Kairos will identify sub-themes that would not be expected based on the last two weeks of social conversation around that topic,” Neely said. “Pinpoint also determines what percentage of the conversation those sub-themes are responsible for.”


While Pinpoint helps to dig through the world of big data, and identify spikes, trends, and activities that are important to brands, it occurs to me that it could help with a wider social media problem.

In my most recent study on social media marketing, I monitored 250,000 tweets from 1,600 top brands. Most of these use Twitter as a broadcast channel, and while that’s fine for some (news organizations like VentureBeat or The New York Times, for example), it flies in the face of social media marketing advice. Pinpoint, and tools like it, are in a position to help brands listen, engage, and respond.

“Social media has given brands a great opportunity to engage with their opportunity audiences,” Neely said. “Ignoring that option is a waste of the medium’s true potential. Brands need to create new dialogues by connecting with customers.  When brands can listen to their fans and engage authentically in conversation, they build this relationship, and create an emotional experience that makes an opportunity audience choose one brand over another.”

Pinpoint is available now for all Kairos customers. Some features of Pinpoint are also accessible at, a curated collection of trending topics identified by Pinpoint in real-time.