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Posts by Rob Key

George Musi Headshot

New York, NY April 12, 2016 — Converseon, the leading social media-led digital consultancy and social intelligence software provider, announced today that George Musi, Managing Partner of Analytics, Insights and Attribution at Mindshare has joined the Company’s Advisory Board.

“As the influence and accuracy of social data evolves, the next great challenge is fully integrating and applying it across the full range of marketing channels for maximum impact, said Rob Key, CEO of Converseon. “George will help challenge us to apply our industry-leading social intelligence data in new and innovative ways, including deeper integration with programmatic advertising, attribution modeling and into client data management platforms (DMPs). His strong background in both analytics and insights is essential for success today as those two areas increasingly converge.”

In his advisory role, George will work Converseon’s senior management and with other members of Converseon’s advisory committee, including Joel Rubinson, former Chief Research Officer at the Advertising Research Foundation, to continue to help further strengthen Converseon’s long time leadership in the social intelligence and strategy category. At Mindshare, George intersects consulting skills, analytics and strategy to provide actionable insights and recommendations across the consumer, competitive, and media landscape that enlighten, empower and enable marketers to make smarter decisions across the campaign life cycle.

“I have spent my entire career connecting the dots between different relevant contexts, modes and types of data points for deeper, more meaningful and actionable insight,” said George. “Converseon’s well-recognized leadership in the social intelligence space provides me a chance get deeper into this critical data resource and advise on how to best fully leverage the power of it in ways that the market hasn’t fully adopted yet. The potential of this data is still in the process of being fully realized.”

About Converseon
For over a decade, Converseon has helped leading brands drive breakthrough business results through award winning social intelligence technologies, consulting and engagement services. During that period, it has gleaned an enviable reputation for innovation and excellence. In recognition of the growing demand for its advanced social intelligence and custom, bespoke text analytics capabilities, Converseon recently began offering its advanced ConveyAPI technology through a newly-formed technology arm, Revealed Context, winner of the Dataweek Award for Top Innovator in Social Data Mining for its “ability to provide human level precision and the speed and scale that only software can provide.” Its Conversus™ platform “starts where basic listening platforms stop” to provide advanced analysis that is more actionable, accurate and predictive. Converseon was named Strong Performer in the Forrester Wave: Enterprise Social Listening Platforms Q1 2014 and scored overall highest for its consulting and analysis, data processing and sentiment analysis. For more information please visit www.converseon.com or follow the company on Twitter @converseon.

Conversus ™ translates “raw social data into actionable intelligence” and fulfills the “missing link” in social listening analysis

March 10, 2016 — Converseon, the leading social intelligence and strategy consultancy, today announced the release of its new version of Conversus, a machine-learning based social intelligence application, designed to provide sophisticated enrichment, filtering and analysis of social and other unstructured “voice of customer” data so that it can be utilized in more advanced use cases, including brand tracking, market mixed modeling, predictive analytics and market research purposes. The new release is being demoed at the Advertising Research Foundation “ReThink” Conference in New York (March 14-16).

Conversus “starts where traditional social listening platforms stop” by leveraging the award winning ConveyAPI ™ semantic engine, provided by Converseon’s technology arm, Revealed Context. ConveyAPI was named Dataweek’s Top Innovator in Social Data Mining for its ability to provide “human level precision at the speed and scale that only software can provide.” The technology utilizes multiple techniques, including machine learning, statistical analysis and select rules-based taxonomy to provide the industry’s most rigorous, flexible and precise social listening data. ConveyAPI leverages Converseon’s massive proprietary reservoir of large-scale human-coded training data generated over the last decade, leading to superior results.

Data generated by Conversus has been demonstrated in multiple third party peer reviewed studies to have predictive capabilities. The platform is currently being utilized at more than a dozen large global brands and growing.

“The Conversus application, powered by ConveyAPI, solves a key problem that has inhibited the use of social listening data by finally providing the data quality needed to be effectively leveraged and mainstreamed in organization,” says Rob Key, CEO of Converseon. “Perhaps most importantly it also can be used in conjunction with most other social listening platforms so that clients can finally maximize the value and use of those investments.” Conversus provides a “do-it-yourself” capability with the following features:

  • Near human-level precision of social listening data for large scale analysis
  • Capability to rapidly process millions of records efficiently
  • A range of core classifiers that include sentiment, emotion, intensity, confidence and more
  • The ability to rapidly create a nearly unlimited number of new custom classifiers including advocacy, purchase intent, customer journey, customer service, among others
  • The ability to adapt to specific brands and domains, including pharmaceutical, financial services, CPG, automotive, retail and more
  • A batch upload function to allow all human coded data generated by brands over time to be utilized to create new custom classifiers
  • An active learning module to train, refresh, manage and evolve classifiers without having to resort to ineffective “Boolean” query approaches.
  • Multiple language capabilities including English, Mandarin, French, German, Spanish, Portuguese, Italian and German.
  • Social data can be provided or customers can utilize their own

Positioned as the “missing link” in social intelligence analysis, Conversus custom classifiers are also being integrated directly into select social listening platforms and the application can be easily bundled with most other platforms.

About Converseon

For over a decade, Converseon has been a recognized leader in social listening, intelligence and consulting. Named “Strong Performer” in the Forrester Wave Q1 2014 for Enterprise Social Listening with highest industry scores for its consulting/research, data processing and sentiment analysis, Converseon is now making its proprietary technologies available directly for client direct use. Revealed Context is an award winning pure play semantic and text analytics company spun out of Converseon that is helping to forge the next generation of social listening and intelligence. For more information, please contact sales@converseon.com

Contact Information

Emily Ackers




Jane Quigley




Today, the Forrester Wave 2016 of Enterprise Listening Platforms was published and congrats to the leaders listed, including Brandwatch.

Since the last wave, we have evolved our model from being “listening platform specific” to become the “intelligence engine” for social insights in not just our own tool, but also within an increasing number of other leading  platforms and applications.  Our ConveyAPI semantic technology is a clear industry leader that utilizes a combination of techniques, including machine learning, to provide very high precision, relevancy and recall in the data, and allows for custom classifier creation.  It as named Dataweek’s Top Innovator in Social Data Mining is rapidly becoming the solution of choice for brands and applications looking for the next generation of rigorous and high quality social data.  It is now offered through our technology arm, Revealed Context.

We view our technology as the “brains’ of social intelligence and, in combination with our consulting/insights services, allows brands to fully leverage the value of social data for more sophisticated uses, including brand tracking, predictive analytics, market mixed modeling, advanced insights/research and more.  Along with its bundled “Conversus” application, brands can rapidly create their own custom classifies too that go far beyond what is available in traditional platforms, such as intent, emotion, advocacy, purchase journey, and more.

With our focus on the data layer, we are now less focused on applications and platforms.  Our technology can integrate with multiple different platforms.  We view many of of the social listening platforms now not as competitors, per se, but partners and customers. This allows us to choose the right platform/solution for our clients and using our semantic engines to produce highest impact/value.

Or, as we say, “we now start with traditional listening platforms stop.”  We are focused on becoming pervasive with our semantic technologies and not focused on specific listening platforms.  Already we are integrated into several top listening and social engagement platforms and that is expanding.

As we started down the process of the Wave evaluations, we recognized, along with Forrester, that given that our model had changed to incorporate other third party platforms and technologies, in combination with our own semantic engines, we did not fully fit into the latest criteria for the wave, which states, “in cases where vendors provide services to clients, they  must use their own technology for all these functions.”

Given our focus on integration of our core semantic technologies not just in our tools, but partnership with other select platforms and partners, we agreed with Forrester that our model, which focuses on interdependence and integration across platforms, does not fall into this criteria.  We also believe our flexibility to integrate is a critical capability for the marketplace — today and tomorrow – as clients look to integrate and align multiple systems and data structures.

Indeed, we believe the next step in social intelligence is based not on the application layer – but on the data layer.  This is the area of our focus as we head into our second decade of social consulting, listening and intelligence leadership.  Social intelligence must now be pervasive, and that requires ensuring the data layer cuts across all applications and organizational departments.   We are pleased our model is proving very successful as we work to help unlock the full value of social across the organization.  We look forward to helping to continue the industry to evolve and innovate and appreciate our clients who are also focused on evolving the maturity and impact of social in their organizations. The best is yet to come.

Big-Data 2015:  The Social Intelligence (Predictive) Tipping Point Has Arrived!

It has happened. Finally. Social intelligence has now been demonstrably proven in multiple studies to be not just qualitative and reactive, but now quantitative and predictive! The impact is nothing short of transformative to market research, insights, business intelligence and more in 2015, as social listening data can – and is – being mainstreamed into operations across enterprises.

How did it happen?  The development of new filtering and sentiment technologies (with high recall, precision and custom classifiers) together with more sophisticated modeling and new ways to segment “who” is talking has created the breakthrough as validated in several key studies.

While the power of social listening has been validated, it’s important to note that not all social listening data is the same.  Converseon, together with its award winning sister text analytics company, Revealed Context, uses advanced proprietary filtering technologies to provide the precision, recall and relevancy required to power these models.  The data can either be supplied by clients or supplied directly by Converseon.

Want to learn more about the social intelligence tipping point and its new applications to brand and business research and intelligence?   Feel free to contact us directly at sales@converseon.com

Just a few other things of note:

Converseon featured in new segment on how its social analytics offerings are now becoming predictive. ‪http://ow.ly/HyOMl

From MediaPost: This week’s announcement of the partnership between Analytic Partners, The Keller Fay Group and Converseon Team To Integrate Social, WOM ‪http://bit.ly/1y2A83H

Want to join us in the conversation?

Converseon will be speaking and participating in the following events:

ARF WEST (San Francisco), January 28-29, 2015
How Social and WOM Data Can be Used in Marketing Mixed Modeling

Social Media Week (New York), February 24, 2015 (9:30-10:30 a.m.)
The Impact of Social and Word of Mouth on Sales (WOMMA Study)

ARF Rethink Conference (New York)
Social Data is Now Predictive!  Now What?

As always, we welcome your feedback and contributions.

We love when third party research comes out with meaningful information for the industry. And two recent ones include Converseon.

Gleanster Research, a competitor to Forrester Research and Gartner, just released its latest “FLASH” ranking vendors in four different categories:  social engagement, marketing automation, business intelligence and web content management. Gleanster uses a different methodology than the other research firms. They categorize leaders in these segments by “good, better, best” in two areas:  Features and Functionality and Overall Value.  Some of the firms evaluated include Google, Tweetdeck, Adobe and Oracle.

Converseon, we are pleased to say, scored in the “best value” category in the social media engagement space.

But Gleanster also said something quite true, “No single company provides a complete, end-to-end solution, although several of the world’s largest software companies are currently on a mission to achieve that very goal.” And we agree with this.

This recognition is why Converseon spun off its award winning social technologies into a subsidiary, Revealed Context, several months ago. This allows our consulting services to remain agnostic and provide the right solutions for the right clients for the right results.  We believe and embrace the “API economy” where data and intelligence seamlessly flows from application to application. This allows us to help power an ecosystem of partner applications with what some consider the industry’s leading text analytics technology (as measured by precision, recall, relevancy and customization) to allow us to take social intelligence to a new level and ensure it is fully infused across complimentary solutions to provide best in class end-to-end solutions.  We’ll be announcing more of these partnerships as we move forward.  And we thank Gleanster for the recognition.  More detail can be found here.

Social Monitoring Data and Brand Tracking:  New Research

In a somewhat related area, the Journal of Marketing Research just published a new article, “Listening In on Social Media: A Joint Model of Sentiment and Venue Format Choice” that utilizes Converseon data to show how social listening data can mirror traditional brand tracking. As the article states:

In this research, the authors jointly model the sentiment expressed in social media posts and the venue format to which it was posted as two interrelated processes in an effort to provide a measure of underlying brand sentiment. Using social media data from firms in two distinct industries, they allow the content of the post and the underlying sentiment toward the brand to affect both processes. The results show that the inferences marketing researchers obtain from monitoring social media are dependent on where they “listen” and that common approaches that either focus on a single social media venue or ignore differences across venues in aggregated data can lead to misleading brand sentiment metrics. The authors validate the approach by comparing their model-based measure of brand sentiment with performance measures obtained from external data sets (stock prices for both brands and an offline brand-tracking study for one brand). They find that their measure of sentiment serves as a leading indicator of the changes observed in these external data sources and outperforms other social media metrics currently used.”

This is a big deal, especially given the real time nature of social and our ability to “back cast” can provide even deeper, meaningful and actionable insight than traditional methods.  We believe survey + social hybrid approaches will be the engine of brand tracking in the future and we were pleased to partner with professors Wendy Moe and David Schweidel on this.  For access to the article, visit this link.

Joel Rubinson

In our ongoing effort to forge new paths and innovation in social intelligence and research, Converseon has built a strong relationship with the Advertising Research Foundation and key thought leaders. The advancement of social intelligence into market, customer and business intelligence, while fast-growing, has been stymied somewhat by some key challenges, including social framing, data reliability and precision and more.   That said, Converseon has helped tackle these working with some of the best minds of the industry, such as Gayle Fuguitt, former Converseon advisory board member and now CEO of The ARF, Professor Wendy Moe, author of the recent book on Social Intelligence and Joel Rubinson, former Chief Research Officer at the ARF and now board member and senior strategist with Converseon.

In fact, a project we did with professors Wendy Moe and David Schweidel was awarded two MSI Awards for the paper “Social Media Intelligence: Measuring Brand Sentiment from Online Conversations.”   In the study, the team developed a statistical model that adjusted for various factors to find a .80 correlation with offline brand tracking.   But building the model demonstrated the need for decomposing conversations, applying advanced filtering and weighting, and more.

The paper is available (free) here.

Today though, we decided to do a little Q&A with Joel who is been well recognized as a pioneer helping to bridge social intelligence and research with more traditional research methodologies.   You may be familiar with Joel’s musings and thoughts on various related topics — ranging from the application of programmatic to research, to the need to flip the conversion funnel, among others. We invited Joel to share some specific thoughts on social research and intelligence.

How would you describe the current state of social research?

Social research is still mostly on the periphery of marketing research and used for insights into problems that were tackled  in more traditional ways without complete success.  I don’t’ think marketing research has figured out how to trade  off traditional market research activity budgets an leverage social media as an alternative that has the potential to strengthen the whole approach.
What do you think are the most common misperceptions?

The biggest challenge is how to view social media listening as quantitative data.  I believe this comes about because marketing research’s use of statistics is focused on sampling theory.  It is true that there is no known sampling frame for social media data but that is the wrong way to look at it.  Social media provides a census of something really important…what people are saying about your brand to their friends across any and all social media channels. Also, while the sampling framework is not fully known, regression modeling has shown that conversations have great predictive value through econometric approaches.

Where do you see it evolving to next?

I think that social media will be matched to customer segments so we have a greater sense of who the conversations are representative of.  For example, if Levi Strauss wanted to know what fashion forward people are tweeting about, that can actually be done through the new wave of social media tools that can create or align to segmentation. This is an area where Converseon now offers a solution.

What is required to help social truly fulfill its potential with researchers?

The broad business needs that marketing research tackles hasn’t changed much.  We still need to monitor the health of brands, seek innovation ideas, test advertising, etc.  What researchers do is craftsman work, using well known tools of long surveys, focus groups, and syndicated data.  The craftsman approaches for social media to play a role in these eternal marketing needs is what we have to focus on.  Once the roadmaps are created, successful cases are documented, and repeatable protocols established, the industry will begin embracing social media as a primary source of insights

What excites you most about the space?

The thought that we can create a repeatable connection between insights and marketing action.  Insights and metrics from social media come from behaviors that social marketing campaigns intend to influence.  We listen, we engage, we produce effect. This is addresses one of the most pervasive raps against research, that it is “nice to know” but doesn’t  tell me what to do.

Why your association with Converseon?

Social media research must evolve to become an integral part of business solutions.  As such, i wanted to associate myself with an organization that has great resources as well as a willingness to reinvent. We share this vision and commitment.

Editors note: The Converseon team is deeply immersed in addressing the challenges and opportunities that Joel discussed in the interview.  ”The New Science of Social Research and Intelligence” is an going to become a recurrent theme here as we roll out new solutions and methodologies that address issues related to reliability, precision, sample framing, and more.   With new models that address these issues, we are definitively demonstrating how social is indeed not only qualitative, but also quantitative and predictive.

Converseon will be presenting at the Insight Innovation Exchange NA in Atlanta on June 16 on this very issue.   Our point of view is more fully articulated here

As always we welcome your feedback and contributions.

As many of you may know, Ted “Tedster” Ulle, passed away recently after a long illness. It came as a surprise to many of us who thought he might be making a recovery — or that was the message the ever-optimistic Ted had been giving us.

It is a rare individual who has given so much, to so many, with great humility. Ted, who was senior search strategist here, had an unbridled passion for search. He would dig through various patents, managed the Google Forum at Webmaster World where he posted over 37,000 times helping webmasters — large and small — with his wisdom.  He was the first to take young enthusiasts under his wing and share his thoughts with his somewhat distinct crackled laugh (often while having a cigarette outside).   He was a great colleague and friend.

In an age of social media where most “experts” take every chance to promote their expertise, Ted was a throwback where character, knowledge and wisdom where the key foundations for life.   And in this age of social media, where social accounts often outlive the people who created them, i found it both a little spooky but also inspirational that his accounts and writings live on — and always will.   A digitized archive of his contributions.   Im sure they will continue to serve as guidance for others even if he isn’t here with us physically.

We have some ideas on how we can help celebrate Ted’s life and keep his spirit alive. We’ll be sharing more information as it takes shape.

But in the meantime, RIP Ted. We miss you already.

ted Tedster:  Gone but Not Forgotten

The year flew by here at Converseon.  Literally.   It was a year of transformation, evolution, some breakthroughs, and focus.

As we move into our second decade of “social” here (we can’t believe we just said that), we witnessed social truly beginning to mature at brands and at our clients in 2012.   There was a clearer move away from experimentation and ad hoc implementation, and more emphasis on how this “social thing” could actually drive business results.

Our mission remained steady:  to provide the world’s best social insights and help clients integrate that intelligence into their organizations to take effective and meaningful action on them.   In short, we helped create social businesses.    So what did we do last year to help drive make that happen?

  • Upped the IQ of Social Intelligence:   The world’s best social insights requires the world’s best social data.   It’s a truism that often gets lost in the marketplace.  Where in previous years, “good enough” data was good enough, we saw a growing recognition that high data quality is an absolute prerequisite to unlock the value of social especially among important business functions and requirements.     One of our great breakthroughs in 2012 was the launch and spin out of our Convey technology.  Convey provides near human level analysis of social data and the scale and speed that only software can provide.   Convey was named Dataweek‘s Social Data Mining Innovation of the Year for 2012.   It has tested 93% accurate for sentiment, for example, versus human performance and continues to provide deeper and broader data intelligence — such emotion, intensity and the ability to create custom classifiers specific to business questions and brands.    Convey’s capabilities will remain a core part of Converseon’s consulting capabilities going into 2013.
  • Moved from Platform to Platforms:    It was often thought by many that Converseon’s services were only available in conjunction with its listening technology.   In 2012, we clearly separated the technology from the consulting so that the consulting practice can provide its social insights, integration and implementation services to clients no matter what listening platform they use.    While we think our combination of technology and services is the ideal fit, we work with a wide range of platforms to help make that data more meaningful and actionable. This has helped open the doors to a variety of new opportunities and allows us to help create effective socially-driven brands.   We recognized and embraced that there are lots of brands that utilize competitive offerings from companies like Radian6, Sysomos, and others that are in need of our consulting.  And now we are able to service them.   In 2012 we witnessed growing recognition by socially-savvy brands that simple social monitoring platforms could only go so far — and that it took a combination of monitoring, advanced intelligence and consulting services to truly maximize the value of social in their organization.  That combination, of course, is  core to who we are.
  • Broadened and Deepened our Intelligence:   As above, we’ve achieved the highest level of customized social intelligence.   But we went further through our Social Scorecard solution to begin integration social listening with social action data, web analytics and other relevant data sets to truly understand a brand’s effectiveness in social — and perhaps most importantly — the value of their social efforts in driving business outcomes.  We pioneered some new and innovative solutions that have been called “game changers” by our clients looking to truly do social at scale.     We have been fortunate to have clients who are indeed partners that are looking  to create new solutions together.  Their ambitions help lead to our innovations.   And those innovations are going to be rolled out more broadly in 2013.
  • Refocused:   It was also a year of change of evolution.   In 2010-2011, we grew a lot in multiple areas.  2012 was very much about refocusing on what is it we do best, and doubling down on those capabilities.  It has been rewarding and validating to see that our focus on best social insights, integration and meaningful action is exactly what we are seeing more and more brands demanding; and where we are clearly differentiated.  The world of social has matured rapidly and focus and execution are becoming increasingly critical.  This focus is perhaps why we had such great momentum in Q4.  And the focus will continue in 2013 as we look to scale out our solutions more broadly and across more geographies.

Of course, none of the innovation and success happens without our incredible partners and clients – many who have been with us for several years and more.  To all of you:  Thank You!   We wish everyone health, happiness and success in 2013.  It is sure to be an exciting year.

Categories: Converseon News

Some of you out there in the world of search engine optimization may had the pleasure of working with Ted Ulle over time.  He is our senior search strategist when he’s not moderating forums for Webmasterworld.

We’re  so proud to report that Ted was honored at the prestigious Pubcon conference with a Lifetime Achievement Award for his contributions to search engine optimization. As was said when he received the award:

Ted “is a proactive diplomat and is willing to work with anyone, regardless of who they are or where they live. He has had the unique ability to connect with people all over the world. His development skills are second to none, and his SEO (search engine optimization) skills are beyond most books on the subject… I doubt there is a website on the Internet that hasn’t been touched by Ted in some way. From Fortune 500s to a massive list of independents, Ted has worked with everyone on some level.”

In the years we’ve worked together, I’ve found Ted to be selfless, passionate, intelligent and one of the most decent human beings I’ve known. He has played a strong mentoring role for current and past Converseonites, and is the first to jump on client problems and situations and share his knowledge openly. He represents the best of what Converseon stands for.

Im not only proud to have Ted as part of our team — and a newly-annointed Converseon Fellow — but also proud that the rest of the world now knows Ted’s contributions as well. Please join me in congratulating him on this excellent recognition.


Three years can often feel like a long time, but in the world of social media, it goes by like a flash.

For three years, behind the scenes, Converseon has had its team of data scientists and machine learning experts toiling away on taking on a particularly difficult challenge:  how to provide the next generation of text analytics for the social age that is close to the gold standard of human coding so that we can do so at scale.    Language is a challenge – sarcasm and slang make up vast parts of social conversations.  Syntax is still not fully understood.

But plunge into this we did, and for good reason:  we have long recognized what many of you also probably have too — that text analytics, sentiment analysis, etc for social conversation data was well…just not very good.  In fact it was quite poor.   And that limits its value and uses.

We also knew that to truly do it right it would take a massive effort and time.   Three years in time, in fact.  And millions of meticulous human coded records across industries and brands.  We  recognized the need to build an end to end semi-supervised system that would allow it to continue to evolve and learn as human language evolves and transforms; one that could be trained to specific industries and companies.  Because we know that language means different things in different contexts.  Off the shelf, generic solutions simply couldn’t get us to where we wanted to go.

But we made this effort because we believe that solving this challenge would open up a world of amazing insight and value.

And today, almost a thousand days later, we have achieved what we believe to be the most accurate social intelligence data in the industry — which now enables us to fuel many other applications, including advanced uses like predictive modeling.

Today we introduce to the world ConveyAPI.

Yes, the performance numbers cited below are impressive…and they’re real.   In fact, in transparency, we have put forth not only how we tested the system but set forth a process we think the rest of the industry should follow so that everyone can have some standards that they can believe in and work with.

ConveyAPI is designed to truly convey the meaning of social conversation.  We look forward to showing it to you as it rolls out.

Visit ConveyAPI.com or read our press release here.

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