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In Category: Converseon News

Here’s a repost from our senior strategist and board advisor, Joel Rubinson, former Chief Research Officer at the ARF – with a great quote from our CEO, Rob Key.

When clients experience sales declines for a brand, the supplier who runs the brand tracker is likely to mis-diagnose the cause because most trackers have a HUGE blindspot. Brand trackers assume that it is the brand that is in motion when in reality, it is usually the world moving around us to which the brand is failing to adjust.

The fact is, ‘World in motion’ analysis is missing from almost all the trackers I am asked to review.

Brand in motion. Certainly brand tracking metrics have value because sometimes it IS your brand that is motion…changed logo, brand name, new ad campaign, ad investment mix and levels, product formula, pricing, etc. For example, when Tropicana changed its package and sales immediately dropped 25% that was definitely ‘brand in motion’. Struggling brands often kill advertising in 4th quarter to make profit goals. Then, brand equity declines…that self-inflicted wound is ‘brand in motion’ too.

Read the rest here.

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.

Moran_3E_COVER-230x300 Search keeps changing--and social is a big reason whyBill Hunt and Mike Moran are launching the third edition of our best-selling book Search Engine Marketing, Inc. today, and so much has changed since the first edition came out in 2005. Back then, it was a revelation to folks that search marketing might be more about marketing than search–and that return on investment might be more important than optimizing a <title> tag.

Since then, just about everyone has grown to realize that search gives you a way to reach customers that nothing else can–they raise their hand and say “market to me” at their moment of need. And as search has become more and more important in the scheme of things, some people have constantly said that “SEO is dead” just because optimizing title tags doesn’t give you a #1 result anymore.

What’s really happening is that, over time, search engines have become adept at recognizing real quality in content–not just in their organic search results, but in paid results, too. In Mike’s speaking engagements, he loves to ask for a show of hands on how many people never click on paid search results. About half the room usually raise their hands, which is hard to believe, given that about one-quarter of all search clicks are on paid results. What’s happening is that paid search results are becoming so good that people no longer recognize that they are paid–they assume that if it was relevant, that it just couldn’t be an ad.

Organic search results are of much higher quality now too, because the ranking algorithm is not so easily gamed. In addition to the importance of attracting links to your content, you also must pass muster with social communities who share the “good stuff” and with secret panels of human raters who judge your content’s quality. And social media content itself is such a huge part of what people expect to see–we no longer get a sea of blue links on the search results page, the way we did only a few years ago.

Search and social have both combined into larger movements of content marketing and influence marketing, where working across search and social is the only way to succeed. And that makes sense. Yes, you must be found when people are looking for you, but you must always have ways of reaching out with quality content to those who don’t yet know to look.

As he looks back on almost 10 years since Search Engine Marketing, Inc. first debuted, Mike never would have been able to predict the developments that we have seen. Social media consisted of nothing more than blogs, and it often took a month for a change to a web page to show up in the search engines. What we could predict, and did, is that search marketing would always revolve around strategic satisfaction of your customers, not tactical tricks to rank #1. Instead of stuffing your content with keywords, think of it as using your customer’s language. Instead of buying links, try creating and promoting quality content to attract links and social sharing. Instead of chasing the search algorithm, instead focus on your competitive differentiation and provide content that attracts the customers with the problems you can help solve the best.

Yes, many things about search have changed–that’s why we have needed to write two more editions–but some things stay the same. If you focus on helping your customers to solve their problems, your content will attract them and enough of them will stick around to buy from you. That is what search marketing has always been, and always will be.

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.

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.


2011 was a whirlwind here at Converseon. After more than doubling in size in 2010, our mission in 2011 was to focus on stabilizing and evolving new “socially-intelligent” solutions — products and services — that will come to market in 2012. In fact, we nearly doubled our technology spend in 2011 purposefully to build the robust infrastructure and technologies needed to help brands leverage social media to meet business objectives. Some of these are now in beta and others will be coming soon. On the services side, we doubled down on our talent and solutions — and expanded our offerings especially in the area of creative and social CRM consulting. In short, it was a time of great metamorphosis as we again challenged ourselves to evolve ahead of the marketplace and meet the needs of market as we move into 2012.

In fact, while we celebrated our ten year anniversary — and was cited by Shel Israel as the industry’s first pure play social media agency — we believe 2011 represented some of our most significant evolution internally. We did so because we see 2012 as the year of “social rigor” and have evolved our technologies and solutions in a manner to uniquely meet these market demands.

What is “social rigor?” In our experience, 2007-2011 represented a time significant experimentation at brands in social. The approach was often to seed the garden, see what took root, and let it grow, pilot, evolve and do so again. The result for some is messy gardens and far too unclear, in many cases, impact on business outcomes. This isn’t surprising, as it mirrors very much the earlier days of digital. But those days are coming to an end, quickly.

As we move into 2012 though, we predict brands will adopt an approach that applies social with much more rigor. This approach will be characterized by:

Read More

Categories: Converseon News

Converseon recently launched a collaborative research project with comScore, the Advertising Research Foundation (ARF), Communispace, and Firefly Millward Brown to explore the roles of social media in the purchase process.  The project brings together a range of research techniques to understand how and when people turn to social media as they make purchase decisions.

Converseon will provide insights based on social intelligence for the project, helping the ARF to establish an expanded understanding of online conversations around purchase decisions for items in the CPG and other categories.  Converseon analysis will uncover where in the purchase process social media conversation is taking place, who is taking part in that discussion and where it’s happening.

Our research will include psychographic and demographic analysis, in addition to a range of other metrics based on Converseon’ unique technology + human methodology, giving the ARF the opportunity to cross-tab the analysis and extract the most meaningful information to support its research goals.

We all look forward to the results of the joint project.

Upcoming Events:

  • May 14: Converseon’s CEO Rob Key will speak at Mashable Connect on Scaling Social Across the Enterprise
  • May 16: Rob Key will speak on trends in social media at a panel discussion for top communication experts in the insurance industry, as part of the IPRC Annual Meeting, organized in New York
  • May 16: Senior Strategist Mike Moran will speak at Philadelphia’s MENG Chapter meeting on why Digital Marketing is Direct Marketing
  • June 9: Mike Kovscek, SVP of Enterprise Analytics, will speak at New York OMMA Social on a panel discussing how to link social media to ROI
Categories: Converseon News
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