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Real-time marketers can use Blab to predict trending social conversations


Blab provides real-time predictive intelligence tools that help clients amplify, adjust, optimize, and engage the appropriate audiences with relevant content and messages on the right channels at the right time.

Features include the ability to capture relevant conversations and trends and filter them by time, channel, volume, velocity, and contextual relevance. The technology organizes, patterns, and predicts which conversations will spread and gain velocity up to 72 hours in advance.

Monthly fee, which is based on the number of topics tracked, ranges from $3,000 for 15 topics to $10,000 for 90 topics.

Chris Bowler, group VP of social media and real-time marketing at Razorfish, has been using Blab about a year and a half.

How do you use it?
Blab is one tool we use for real-time and predictive marketing. Blab sits on top of Razorfish Wave, which is our real-time marketing and social listening platform that we created in-house.

There are two components of Blab. One is a stream of real-time data around trending topics, mainly from Twitter, but you can also look at other channels. Blab analyzes about 10% of the Twitter stream, and it sweeps the stream every three minutes.

The second component is data visualization. When you log on to Blab you see a dynamic, visualization-rich dashboard that shows you topics that are trending in real time. These are shown in bubbles. You pre-set topics you want Blab to search for, and those topics are represented by the bubbles. You can set it up to search around a specific brand or an industry category.

The size of a bubble denotes the volume of the conversation around that topic. The coloring and changes in shade denote the velocity of that topic. For example, you might see a big bubble that’s bright purple, which would represent a topic that is getting a lot of shares and engagement. When you click on a bubble, you can see specifically what is trending around that topic.

There’s also a predictive element to the data layer. For example, Blab will show you that a trending topic is predicted to get a given amount of reach within 12 or 24 hours or more. It will also show you that a trending topic has already peaked and will start to decrease in velocity. This predictive scoring is unique to Blab – we’ve not seen it elsewhere in the industry.

We haven’t had any issues with the tool. It’s been very reliable. Overall, Blab’s support staff is highly responsive and we’ve had good customer support.

How does it serve your business needs? 
Blab powers real-time marketing experience. It allows us to see what is trending in the moment and make real-time connections between brands and their audiences. When we see something that is trending around a brand, category, or topics to which a brand is aligned, we create responding content and generate engagement and reach, which the brand would not have received otherwise.

Increasingly, brands are working in real time to create a stronger connection with their customers. When you can respond in real time – whether it is around service and support or connecting on a topic of interest and passion and contributing to that conversation, you create relevance, engagement, and top-of-mind awareness, which are key business needs for brands.

A few weeks ago, the European Space Agency’s Rosetta spacecraft landed on a comet. It was an amazing feat of engineering, and it was trending with #cometlanding.

One of our clients is a luxury European auto brand. We had Blab set up to listen around engineering, technology, innovation, and machinery for this client. As soon as we saw the comet landing was really trending, we created a series of tweets from this brand that were shout outs from one great piece of machinery to another. We got more than 15,000 favorites on Twitter and a lot of positive sentiment.

Blab helps us see trends in social media before the mainstream. For example, it recently helped us drive engagement for the same luxury European auto brand around the concept of the doughnut selfie, which is basically a 180-degree video.

This donut selfie [trend] really came to life over Thanksgiving weekend – led by celebrities and rappers. A month before this, we saw through Blab that doughnut selfies were gaining velocity so we created donut selfies of our luxury auto client’s vehicles and posted them to Instagram and video platforms. We got all kinds of shout outs around this for our client.

Subsequently Beats by Dre came up with a whole program around doughnut selfies. Because we acted on behalf of our luxury auto client as soon as we saw these selfies trending on Blab, we got the brand in the doughnut selfie trend even ahead of a really hip brand like Beats.

This auto brand has traditionally appealed to an older demographic, and one of its goals is to appeal to a younger audience. Efforts like dougnut selfies are starting to make the brand hipper, younger, and cooler.

How does it integrate with your existing infrastructure from an IT standpoint?
It’s Web-based. We have it white-labeled within Razorfish Wave.

What are the main benefits?
Data visualization of trending topics and predictive scoring that allows you to see what’s ramping up and what’s not.

Keyword output is a strength. Blab shows you key words that are being talked about within topics. This is important for search marketing programs because you can buy keywords and associate your brand around trending keywords and topics on the fly.

What are the main drawbacks?
There’s not enough automated set up or intuitively automated set up. You have to know what you’re listening for, and you have to get Blab to set it up for you.

Blab only sifts through 10% of Twitter when identifying trending topics. So if a topic you want to monitor isn’t in that percentage, you could miss it. Or if you’re running an event for a brand and want to see what is trending around a hashtag you created specifically for that event, Blab might miss it.

What would you like to see improved/added?
You have to do something with the data and create content or buy keywords.

A great next step for Blab would be better integration with content output. Right now it’s a siloed listening tool that does not sync with any adwords tools, content creation or content search tools.

It’s very qualitative. It doesn’t necessarily give you quantitative information, but it’s not a quantitative tool.

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