Unmetric’s mobile brand sense

All your competitors’ marketing efforts delivered to the palm of your hand, reviewable in about 60 seconds.

That’s what social analytics vendor Unmetric is promising with the launch today of its Android and iPhone mobile app Unmetric Sense.  Download it, select the competitors you want to monitor, and get their social activity delivered to your mobile device in a single column. The results are mainly images with hashtags or keywords, so it’s fast to scroll through, tapping to take a closer look where necessary.

Everything a brand does in terms of marketing is announced or amplified on social

It just seems too simple, doesn’t it?  How does it work? “Everything a brand does in terms of marketing is announced or amplified on social,” Lux Narayan, Unmetric’s CEO and co-founder, told me. Follow their social profiles, and you’ll see 100 percent of what they’re doing. This is a “unifying application for competitive intelligence.”

Wait. Can’t I already monitor my competitors’ activity using something like Tweetdeck or Hootsuite? What’s special about this? Narayan had the answers, and they’re subtle, but–as far as I can see–sound.  Here goes. As far as Facebook is concerned, everything happens through your personal account. That means you have to “follow” your competitors, adding to their aggregate Facebook audience. Even then, you won’t see all their marketing initiatives, but only what Facebook’s algorithms choose to surface in your news feed–and it will be surfaced in a way which mixes it up with all your other updates.

Try registering a dummy Facebook account (against the rules, of course), with no friends, and use it exclusively to follow competitors, and Facebook will likely notice and shut it down. Without Facebook, you only have a partial view of the landscape; and while Hootsuite and Tweetdeck come in mobile versions, why wrangle all that social data when you get just want you want, in one column, in just a minute?

It’s a persuasive case. The app is currently available to existing customers or by invitation, but soon to be generally available; and right now it’s free, but a premium version is in the works. I sat down with him last month in a conference room at WeWork, the freewheeling communal workspace down by Bowling Green in New York’s financial district, to find out just what Unmetric is.

(Clients) need to answer the question: “Is what we’re doing good?”

Narayan, beaming and ebullient, decided instead to tell me what it’s not. “We don’t do social media listening. When I started the company, there were 142 vendors focused on that.” Most of Unmetric’s customers already use a social listening platform. There’s no opportunity there. “At a fundamental level, they need to answer the question: ‘Is what we’re doing good?'”

Unmetric’s clients need to benchmark the results of their marketing (and especially their social marketing), not just against direct competitors, but also against non-competitors competing for social attention. For example, Coca-Cola might not be competing with McDonalds to sell cheeseburgers, but it might want to know if it’s doing better or worse at being heard.

The spark for Unmetric emerged from the Narayan’s advertising background. In the ’90s and early ’00s, he was generating share of voice and share of spend reports for clients like Unilever and Procter & Gamble. In a sense, Unmetric is making creating similar benchmarks, but at scale and across a multiplicity of challenges. Social listening, commonly understood, includes finding out what consumers are saying about brands. That’s not Unmetric’s angle. It looks at what brands themselves are saying and doing, and how consumers respond. And with hundreds of millions of pieces of content being published by brands, finding out how well content performs–and especially what “strikes a chord with a particular demographic”–is a major analytics challenge.

Unmetric finds campaigns for subscribers by applying algorithms to patterns of language within certain durations of time (if a brand publishes “summer discounts now” several times in a period of a week, there’s probably a summer sale campaign running). Automated alerts go to human operatives for confirmation, and their feedback is used to improve the algorithms.  

Event Pulse is an open platform allowing anyone to follow brand marketing activity linked to specific events pre-selected by Unmetric (upcoming, for example, the US Open and Black Friday). 

The platform also prompts creative. It’s Ideate feature, which allows users to call up current and recent campaigns by industry and keyword, and benchmark success, is designed to inspire campaign strategies.  They let me take it out for a spin, and in a few clicks I got a glimpse of what brands are doing under the label “summer fun.”

Unmetric doesn’t, as we’ve seen, pretend to be a complete social marketing package, but Narayan told me that integration with major publishing and listening platforms is in progress. “There will be less friction in jumping from one platform to another.” Some of the premium features are currently English-only, but most of what the platform does is language-agnostic.

But why Unmetric? After all, you’re measuring things, and creating reports based on those measurements. “It’s a canvas,” said Narayan, “to do everything a little ‘un-‘. A little different.” Like the transparent un-business card he offered me. Or like his streetwear brand–oh, yes–which doesn’t have the name of the company on the clothes. It’s called Genuine Unofficial. 

Everything un- except unsuccessful. That seems to be the plan.

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