News Byte: Blab Intros Predictive Model for Social Media

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Horizon Media's Taylor Valentine
Horizon Media's Taylor Valentine

Real-time marketing remains more fantasy than reality, maintains Horizon Media SVP of Social Media Strategy Taylor Valentine, especially when it comes to the social media sphere, where sharers may have moved on to new topics by the time a brand has had a chance to react.

“Right now the window of opportunity is two to three days, but in some situations it could be hours,” Valentine says. “The companies reacting in as much of a real-time manner as is possible are few and far between.”

But Valentine believes that marketers will get a glimpse of the real-time future this week with the release of BlabPredicts2, which uses topical “seed words” to aggregate relevant conversations around brands and predict what the social conversation will be in the upcoming 72 hours. As a beta tester and investor in the platform, Horizon has put BlabPredicts2 through its paces for several clients in the past year and a half, and while Valentine sees its immediate applications limited to crisis P.R. and brand cultivation, he thinks it's inevitable that it will be used in campaign planning.

“It's hard to get all the players together now to use it to plan campaigns, but it's absolutely where it's going,” Valentine says. “I can't see how it wouldn't be beneficial as an add-on to [social monitoring] services like Crimson Hexagon, Radian6, and Sprinklr.”

BlabPredicts2 calls upon a database of hundreds of thousands of conversational patterns to model how social conversation will morph on a given topic and then how it will grow on news channels, blogs, and social networks. It monitors more than 100 million conversations a day, including image- and video-based content.

Valentine believes marketers can exploit the technology now in the social sphere, giving the example of an action movie launch targeting males 18-24. “Say one of the seed terms that produces a lot of conversation in this demographic is ‘mixed martial arts,' and one of the film's stars is an MMA fan who regularly tweets on the topic,” he says. “The movie company could ask the talent to incorporate the movie's hashtag in his tweets.”

Blab's founder and CEO says the idea is to give marketers the power to be influencers in social media. “In my experience, brands are not going to engage real-time because they lose control,” says agency veteran Randy Browning, who was formerly CEO of Publicis in the West. “We have redefined the power of social from a research tool sitting in the backroom with analysts to predictive actions by frontline brand managers.”

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