Geofeedia puts new features in place

Geofeedia, the location-based social media monitoring platform with headquarters in Chicago, today announced a series of enhancements to its product, including an iOS app version.

With a number of vendors bringing different perspectives to place-based social relationship management, I spoke with R.J. Talyor, Geofeedia’s VP of product management, to figure out what the platform does and doesn’t offer, and the significance of the new changes.

Interestingly, unlike other social media management solutions, Geofeedia emerged not from the commercial challenge of funneling Twitter feeds and Facebook timelines, but out of the narrower need of journalists to validate the originating location of social updates, as part of the process of confirming the veracity of online reports from places where they had no first-hand reporting.

From Talyor’s description, Geofeedia’s business today bears clear traces of its origins. It still serves media clients, and it also supplements executive protection strategies. Corporations implementing high level protection for traveling employees leverage data from Geofeedia to create a virtual geo-fence, guarding executives on the move against everything from protests and demonstrations to natural disasters.

At the same time, Geofeedia is emphasizing its evolution as a commercial social listening tool, with location as the differentiator. How does it work?  Well, not through spy cams and sensors, of course. The geo data derives from analytics, run entirely against public domain information, sourced through API interfaces with social partners. In other words, multiple tweets and updates help to pin the tail on the donkey.

Geofeedia’s customers set up virtual perimeters around the locations which matter to them–stores for example–and receive alerts of local social activity, allowing them perhaps to target offers or share advice on finding whatever people happen to be looking for.  “Events are increasingly important to us,” said Talyor. A recent example was the NCAA Final Four in Indianapolis, where focused listening within the event’s defined perimeter allowed Geofeedia customers to share directions, neighborhood advice, suggestions on where to eat and drink, etc.

This doesn’t mean, however, that Geofeedia is aggregating data on individuals based on their location, hour-by-hour. “We’re focused on location-based trending, not individuals,” said Talyor. This doesn’t mean, however, that Geofeedia’s data couldn’t be mined to track the movements of a social account. Indeed, one of the enhancements announced today–integration with Salesforce–does make it easier to create a Salesforce lead or customer service profile based on location-tagged social posts.

If Geofeedia’s data can lend itself to location-based profiling, one thing it can’t do is real-time GPS targeting of mobile users. The app just doesn’t have the features which would permit that, said Talyor, “but we can use our data to do location-based advertising.” Again, the reliance is on public tagging of tweets and posts, and the focus is on advertizing around the location, not the individual.

Here are some of today’s other product enhancements:

  • An upgraded data platform that can manage up to one billion posts per day, process, tagging and analyzing them essentially in real time. 
  • The capacity to search multiple locations, and to search micro-locations within larger sites (activity in one department of a big box store, for example).
  • The iOS app, hopefully to be followed very soon by an Android version.
  • Integrated sentiment analysis, sourced from a third party vendor.
  • An updated UI.
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