I recently had the good fortune to sit down and chat with Mark Zohar, founder of Toronto-based viral search and predictive analytics service TrendSpottr. And I was literally blown away by what they’re doing and how they’re looking to change social business.
Taken from their website, the core solutions TrendSpottr provides is from a future trend model:
TrendSpottr analyzes real-time data streams and spots emerging trends at their earliest acceleration point — hours or days before they have become “popular” and reached mainstream awareness.
In a nutshell, TrendSpottr helps businesses and organizations of all shapes, sizes and industries to get a jump on the competition by identifying what’s about to go from average visibility to viral buzz, before it happens, which makes he potential for multi-channel use huge.
What TrendSpottr Means for Brands
One of the examples Mark shared when we chatted was TrendSpottr’s ability to predict the virality of a YouTube video.
For example, let’s say a new video about kittens and babies playing only has 500 views. With TrendSpottr monitoring the real-time activity around that particular video, it can spot when it will explode into hundreds of thousands (or millions) of views, and when.
Armed with that data, an advertiser or brand can then buy ad space on the video at a much lower cost, yet still be in front of the extra eyeballs that the viral version of the video offers. The cost saving is tremendous and the potential return on that ad spend huge.
TrendSpottr plans on launching this predictive ad optimization product in early 2013, specifically targeted at advertisers and brands.
Other ways for brands to benefit from TrendSpottr include content optimization and engineering to take early mover advantage of a breaking story that’s about to go very big.
Let’s say your brand is in the business of car tires, and you provide tires to many well-known car manufacturers. While analyzing various conversations around tires, TrendSpottr picks up on an impending safety concern around a particular kind of rubber molding used in a competing manufacturer’s tire.
Using that data, your content team can take a series of actions to get you front and centre when the proverbial hits the fan:
- You create a series of short blog posts spread around your properties and those of your partners, highlighting the safety aspect of your tires.
- You put together a series of creatives and buy ad space on properties and destinations that your competitor’s audience frequents.
- You optimize tweets and social updates, to drive people to your product and Frequently Asked Questions section, where you have all the information about safety a visitor could want.
- You create a pro-active email campaign to assure your customers and partners that your product doesn’t use that type of molding and have over X amount of years producing safe products.
- You can create specific topic widgets and embed multiple streams into your website, to turn it into an online respository for information from across the web (see the end of this post for an example).
These are just some of the ways brands can be pro-active at tackling a problem head-on and before any negativity hits, whether it involves them directly or not. By doing that, you’re now offering solutions in the consciousness of the public you’re trying to attract, while your competitors are in damage control mode.
For any brand, that’s a pretty powerful tool-set.
What TrendSpottr Means for Influence
One of the biggest criticisms social influence receives is that the gamification of the model hurts true influence and knowledge. From gaming the +K system on Klout when it was first announced, to the recent LinkedIn Endorsements and how they can be played, influence and authority has never been harder to gauge properly.
Whereas before, marketers would actually analyze raw data and build personas of influential people that were right for their brands, now they have to wade through scores, endorsements, social stock prices and more that may or may not be true and relevant.
This is where TrendSpottr can help filter these people.
Let’s say your passion is global warming. You blog about the environment and your company provides green products – but you can’t compete with the guys that have thousands of subscribers and whose company has millions in ad spend.
With TrendSpottr, you can set up an alert for the industry and selective terms that are relevant to you, and see which ones are on the cusp of exploding into life, both virally and from a market standpoint.
By being able to continuously put out content that’s ahead of the game, your authority rises. People now start to look to you for answers versus the more established players. A perfect example of this reversal in authority is Nate Silver and how he first turned baseball and then political punditry on their heads.
Brands can use TrendSpottr along with other blogger outreach platforms and really connect with those that have the eyes and ears of the industry via the TrendSpottr dashboard.
Now, you could argue that non-experts could game this solution too, to appear authoritative – but if you don’t know what you’re talking about and are just copy-pasting soundbites, trust me, that becomes obvious pretty damn quick.
The Beginning of the End of Influence As We Know It
Up until now, the majority of social influence has been determined by a score and perceived authority. Additionally, many early players in the space have sold benefits based on amplification, not context and purchase decisions.
This has, for better or worse, led to an industry that many use but just as many question the validity of. It makes brands nervous to play in, because they need to know the message is reaching the kind of people that can make things happen, versus the amount of people that make things noisy.
The good news is, the next generation of platforms and technology are here. Companies like TrendSpottr, Appinions, Tellagence and others like them are leading the charge to recognize true influence and relevance.
We’re on the cusp of something very cool, and it’s something that has the potential to truly change business intelligence forever.