Porter Novelli

How did TrendingTarget come about?

When we do social media analytics research for clients they have a lot of questions, many of which can’t be answered with existing technology. One question we often hear – “What does my audience care about?” –reflects the fact that most people are used to doing research using survey panels. Such panels are great for getting answers from a specific target audience, and can be very detailed and to the point. A survey panel can ask specific questions and get an answer.

Surveys do have some drawbacks.  For one, you can only ask people – especially influential people – what they care about so many times, so your ability to get a “real time” look at what they care about is quite limited, and what’s called “self reported” recall answers can be pretty uneven – people can have trouble remembering what they’ve seen or give an objective assessment of how they behave.  In addition, since the panels involved are responding directly to questions being asked, the questions themselves have a huge effect on what you get back. This means that when trying to gauge what an audience cares about “now” – on any given day – the accuracy, recentness and relevance of the results are not as good as we might like (not to mention it would become extremely pricey to run a survey every day!).

We realized that we could better answer that question with an audience-first approach that leveraged real- time sources of social media conversation data like Twitter. If we assembled a large list that consisted of public identities of influential or engaged members of the target demographic, we could look for patterns in all of their conversation and get an almost immediate window into what they are sufficiently engaged with to talk about – without running a survey.

One of the most interesting pieces of this technology is “engager audiences,” where we build the audience based on people who have engaged with a brand. So if a person has mentioned a brand or its products recently, we can put them into the audience – and then organically see what the other interests of that audience are.

We built TrendingTarget with Tra.cx, a leading social media analytics platform. Tra.cx is especially skilled in working with real time data and boasts highly sophisticated data aggregation; you can’t have smart analysis without strong data to begin with. Tra.cx is a very strong platform for social media management overall, and we’ve had a great experience working with them.