In anticipation of Tracx’s joint webinar with Ditto Labs on April 9th, I sat with Reinhardt Schuhmann, Product Manager at Tracx, to discuss his experience with social media, what he sees on the horizon and the benefits that the Tracx/Ditto integration brings to enterprises and agencies.
CAN YOU GIVE US A LITTLE BACKGROUND ON YOUR EXPERIENCE IN THE SOCIAL MEDIA INDUSTRY?
I started working with social media on the agency side in 2010. This was right around the time that interest in mining social data for business intelligence started to take off. I was doing things like running promotions through blogger partners. We had access to a few social data platforms, but a lack of people who wanted to use them. I started digging into the tools, and eventually ended up leading the social analytics team. Tracx was our primary tool, and the Tracx team was really good about keeping an open dialogue with me as a customer to improve the product. Eventually, that led to my current role as Tracx Product Manager, which has given me the opportunity to learn and grow with the industry because I’m constantly problem solving in a space that won’t stand still.
HOW HAVE THOSE EXPERIENCES SHAPED THE WAY YOU VIEW SOCIAL DATA?
The fact that my experience has at various times included community management, data analysis, and SaaS product management has definitely kept me ever-aware of the massive scale of social media. Of course that’s true on the data side, but it is also true in terms of how many people you can reach, and the frequency at which many people interact with these media types. The scale also manifests itself in the seemingly infinite number of ways you can collect and analyze the data. The Tracx/Ditto partnership is grounded in that. Our companies both work in social data, but do very different things that compliment each other well.
HOW HAVE YOU SEEN TRACX EVOLVE OVER YOUR 5 YEARS USING THE PLATFORM?
Because of the fluidity of social media, Tracx is ever-evolving. It’s tricky to know where to even start to answer that question… Our roots are in data, so we’ve been quick to embrace and leverage things like geo-location to add new capabilities. More recently, we’ve made big strides in improving our publishing module and overall user interface. Every way that we’ve grown has been driven by customer need, and I take a lot of pride in that. The Ditto partnership is a good example of that. As images proliferate in social, we became aware of the fact that text-based data analysis was not enough. Ditto helps us expand beyond that with their image recognition.
WHERE DO YOU SEE SOCIAL MEDIA GOING IN THE FUTURE?
Images and other visual media will continue to be more prominent, which is part of a larger trend across the entire web. Social will also drive leaps forward in language analysis. These media are changing the way we communicate – shortening text, shifting word usage on and off line, and blurring the lines among image, text, and sound. That process is generating a huge body of data that can be leveraged to learn more about people, how they communicate, their interests, and what drives them to make decisions. We tend to look at this through a business lens, but it’s relevant for all human behavioral research.
HOW DID THE TRACX/DITTO PARTNERSHIP COME ABOUT?
Adi (Kleiman, Tracx VP of Product) met David (Rose, Ditto CEO) at the Twitter/GNIP Big Boulder conference in June of 2014. We both spent a long time speaking with him about how a marriage of Ditto’s image recognition and Tracx’s text analysis and end-to-end social management systems could be a big leap forward in enterprise social media solutions. Ditto is an industry leader in their space, which is such a unique and valuable side of social media analytics. We collect images in our platform, but the starting point is always a key word. Ditto is able to determine relevancy from a logo image alone. At Tracx we are constantly developing new products and looking to expand our offerings through partnerships. We get that same vibe from Ditto, and it’s been really exciting to connect and share our learnings, successes, and challenges of the industry.
WHAT BENEFITS DO YOU SEE THE TRACX/DITTO PARTNERSHIP OFFERING ENTERPRISES AND AGENCIES?
The main thing is that Tracx and Ditto together can offer a more complete picture of any brand, product, organization, idea, or category in social media. Looking only at images can leave out things like detailed opinions and customer service inquiries. On the other hand, text on its own can fail to include valuable context for actual product usage. Because we’re combining the data collection of Ditto and Tracx, clients will also likely see an uptick in the volume of relevant data in their dashboards. The initial integration also opens the door for us to start sorting data in new ways. Down the line, we’re exploring things like sorting content by image color pallet or using facial expressions as a factor in sentiment analysis.
WHAT ARE THE ACTUAL CAPABILITIES OF THE INTEGRATION?
The current integration allows Tracx users to bring in data from Ditto’s platform that has been determined to include brand logos that clients have deemed to be of interest. Once this data is in Tracx, we layer on all of the sorting, filtering, and engagement capabilities the platform offers. We also can run Ditto’s algorithm’s across Tracx’s vast social media database to find brand-relevant images that do not have text-based mentions, but do include a logo. For the first time, users can analyze content with relevant mentions and content with relevant images in the same platform.
For teams using social media dashboards, like those in Tracx, making sure everyone who uses these tools understands these changes should be a top priority.
Brands that have not relied on organic reach in Facebook and Instagram will not likely see any changes this year. Those who do will need to take a serious look at other options.