The social Web analytics (SWA) field is buzzing, and I'm being contacted by companies in the sector that I didn't know about when I published The Social Web Analytics eBook 2008 on the 1st July. They're keen to make the 2009 update, and at this rate that will have to come earlier than later next year. The 2008 eBook has already been downloaded over five thousands of times, which I'm sure is more reflective of the heat in the market than the quality of my prose!
I define SWA as the application of search, indexing, semantic analysis and business intelligence technologies to the task of identifying, tracking, listening to and participating in the distributed conversations about a particular brand, product or issue, with emphasis on quantifying the trend in each conversation's sentiment and influence. Here's a quick look at some of the vendors reaching out to me, then rounding off with a bit of gratuitous data visualisation of the blogosphere (you know how I get my kicks).
Techrigy describes itself as enabling "organizations to know what's being said about their brands, products and people across the social media eco-system. Techrigy's SM2 solution enables organizations to monitor and analyze conversations, including sentiment, across blogs, social networks, wikis, online video and other user-generated content on the web. Ultimately, Techrigy helps organizations embrace social media, manage risk and identify market trends in real time."
The founders have interesting credentials. President and CEO Aaron Newman is also CTO of Application Security, the experts in database security, and co-author of "Enterprise 2.0 Implementation" (McGraw-Hill September 2008).
The service features:
- Expansive and real-time monitoring: over 100 million blogs, Twitter, YouTube, Flickr and Wikipedia are all monitored
- Sentiment analysis: SM2 determines sentiment using natural-language processing and Bayesian analysis, and aggregates these to provide a top-level view of social media
- Discussion clustering: provides a graphical analysis and classification of all discussions occurring around your products
- Customized reporting: display recent discussions, as well as analysis and discussion trends that enable evaluation of marketing or public relations effectiveness... can be scheduled automatically and delivered to anyone
Techrigy offers a "freemium" service at no cost which you might like to try.
CIC claims to be "the first Internet Word of Mouth (IWOM) research and consulting firm in China". They have offices in Shanghai, but also Birmingham, AL, interestingly.
CIC describes its framework as L-K-P, namely:
- Listen: listening to netizens' voices about your brand, product, or service
- Know: understanding the communities and cultures that provide the context for the talk
- Participate: meaningfully interact, inspire and/or contribute to netizens’ world.
So, to the tech. How do they describe the way in which they gather up everything and analyse it? CIC employs a "proprietary natural language text mining technology" but doesn't reference its basis. Could be entirely proprietary of course. And I can't really determine much more from the website at the moment, but rest assured I'll be working with CIC to extract the relevant information for the 2009 eBook update.
Island Data takes a different perspective on the source of information to be analysed. Island Data specialises in analysing the communications your stakeholders have with you via emails, comment cards, surveys, blogs, voicemails and call logs. Does this qualify as social media?
This emphasises the dialogue between the organisation and stakeholders rather than between the stakeholders / customers themselves. If they extend out to the comments on their clients' blogs, and the customer forums they might host, then that gets a bit more social.
Otherwise, Island Data appears to be at the leading edge of the so-called customer relationship management (CRM) field rather than social Web analytics. Equally valid. Highly pertinent, insightful and valuable. But not quite as "social". I'll investigate further and get back to you.
I said I'd finish with some lovely data visualisation of the blogosphere (and you might like my post on the impact of data visualisation on public relations).
Matthew Hurst of Microsoft Live Labs presented at the Personal Democracy Forum in June this year. Take a look at the work his team has undertaken on visualising the blogosphere and the way memes spread through it. The demo is better than the camera work!