Wednesday, April 5, 2017

How can AI be used to value content and sponsorships?

We read a lot these days about Artificial Intelligence, or AI for short. It's a buzzword for sure, and there's also a lot of noise in the press about how AI will be the downfall of civilization, leading us to some dystopia where ethical decisions will be decided by computers. Well, maybe in the future, but we aren't there yet. There are plenty of more simple, practical uses being developed today.

At Blinkfire Analytics, we have always used AI and it's sub-categories Machine Learning and Deep Learning (which NVIDIA explains well) as part of our computer vision based algorithms, but it's also becoming useful to solve real problems our brand customers have in deciding which sponsorships generate the most ROI, and from our rights holder side which categories of content generate the most value and engagement from fans.

For instance, is it better to sponsor a dasher board in a hockey rink, or sponsor a jersey? Better to do a digital sponsorship of the final score or be on the tail fin of a Formula 1 car?

In the past, this was often done by hand, taking a group of posts, calculating some values using an excel spreadsheet, and then extrapolating values. But this is a great problem to solve for AI. The key is having an accurate training set from which to train your machine learning algorithms. One thing we have learned is that it is very difficult to take someone else's training data (or "off the shelf" training data) and apply it to another domain.

We recently announced that we indexed our 100 millionth post. Since we've been indexing content and sponsorship data for a few years now, there was no better place to go but our own data set. It's also something no one else has, so it helps us be the most accurate source for this type of data.

For instance, content featuring players or execs "Holding a jersey" generates engagement averages different from "Happy Birthday" posts (in any language!)

And using Blinkfire Analytics AI driven technology can help analysts that work at our customers generate these reports for their content and sponsorship teams automatically.

These are some rudimentary examples that are just the tip of the iceberg. The future is available today. Stay tuned for more.

Monday, March 6, 2017

VK, the largest European social network, is now on Blinkfire

We have a new social network on Blinkfire! Some time ago we told you about the boom of Chinese soccer and the addition of Sina Weibo to our system. Now we have done the same with Vkontakte (ВКонтакте) or VK for short.

VK is the largest European social network. It was born in Saint Petersburg in 2006 and it has amassed 95 million active users since then. It is particularly popular in Russia, where it is ahead of worldwide giants Facebook and Twitter, but it is also one of the most used social channels in Belarus, Ukraine, Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan, Estonia, Lithuania or Israel. By the way, it's a very big social channel in eSports too, as many players come from that geographical area.

Tracking VK has been one of the most common requests from our Eastern European customers, so we are really glad to share the good news with them. Now they can value the economic potential of the content they post on this channel as well as track the social exposure they give to their partners.

Monday, February 27, 2017

How much engagement do you generate on game days?

We have often mentioned how social media has changed the landscape of sports information. Now it's no longer about the two or three hours surrounding a game, and teams produce content about what happens every day of the week while players train, travel or attend events. However, no one can deny the importance of game days in the general exposure that sports clubs generate for their main partners.

With that in mind, we have launched a new report that provides data about the engagement obtained by brands on game days and on non-game days. These beta Game Day Reports (yeah, we are that original) have two parts. We start by showing you the graph with the engagement obtained by brands in the social feed of a team. The graph differentiates between game days and non-game days, and if we place our cursor on the orange M icons we can see the result of the matches (psst... for American sports, we use a 'G' for "game", otherwise 'M' for "match", English is tricky that way, in how we organize, er, or organise, information).

The second part of the report is a table with all the engagement data filtered by day and brand, plus the total engagement for the selected period and, of course, the total engagement on game days vs the total engagement on non-game days. 

As usual, you can select a date range on the top part of the report. However, there is something different about this report. If you select a date range that includes two or more months, the graph will show you a month-by-month comparison instead of a day-by-day one.

In the same way, the table will also show you all brand engagement divided by month. Keep in mind that you will be able to export the report to Excel if you need to play with the numbers.

This new, fresh from the oven report is already available for all our licensed users under the reports section, but we will keep working on it to improve the overall user experience. As always, any feedback or suggestions are welcome.

Monday, February 13, 2017

Branded vs Unbranded Posts, new section in the Media Kit report

We often get the question: "Is your dashboard done?"   HA!  Our dashboard is never done.  You subscribe once, you get new features all the time. That's how Software as a Service works!

This time we've added a new section inside the Media Kit report that can be very useful when you need to design new social media strategies. This new section is called Branded vs Unbranded posts and it provides information about the potential opportunity to create more inventory for sponsorship, and thus more revenue.  Another way to phrase it is that it answers the question "What is the whitespace for our sponsorship team?  How can we improve our exposure while still pumping out engaging content that our fans love?"  Okay that's two questions.  Hey!  Someone better learn to count around here!  That's what we do!!!!!

The first table in this new section shows you the number and the percentage of your posts that give visibility to brands on your social channels. It also includes information about the economic value of both types of post, branded and unbranded.

In the above example, we see a team that shared ten posts on Instagram during the selected time period. Just 30% of that content gave exposure to brands. That exposure had a value of $12,800. The remaining 70% was valued in approximately $32,000.

The second table shows the same information, but now it's filtered not by social channel, but by content type: images, videos or simply text. We can easily see that there were 54 posts that only included text, and they got a lower engagement (and thus a lower valuation) than those with images and videos. We can also see that 28% of all image posts got exposure for brands, while the same can be said for 20% of all video posts.

The main purpose of the Media Kit report is to provide our customers with detailed information about the performance of their social media content. The inclusion of this new section helps them work closely with their sponsorship team to devise media strategies that balance the visibility they give to their partners. Sounds like something your organization might need? Get in touch!

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Track link clicks on your Facebook posts

We have talked before about the benefits of linking your Facebook account to Blinkfire and enjoying extra data from Facebook Insights directly on our platform. Today we are writing to let you know that we have just released a new feature that integrates Facebook link clicks on your Sponsorship report.

Now you can see how many times users have engaged with links in your Facebook posts. As always, you can see the total link traction generated by each brand or use the drilldown to get to a post-by-post level.

This is only one of the enhanced features we offer using Facebook Insights, so we really encourage you to log in and start enjoying all the extra data we offer. The best way to do this is to log into Blinkfire, go to your Settings page, and sign in with a Facebook account that has admin privileges. That's it!

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

10 reasons digital sponsorship measurement will be key in 2017. #6 surprised us

1. Broadcast TV is going to die

Well, I've already written on this, but I'll say it again. Television is a declining medium. That we all know is true. The mistake I see rights holders making again and again is pinning future sponsorship deals on television numbers. Every medium performs differently than the previous analog. User interactions are much different than social interactions. OTT and social video consumption will be much different than TV. You need to measure sponsorship within the mediums of the future.

2. The kids, they are always staring at their phones

Somewhat related to #1, but the millennial generation can be in the same room with a 60 inch television playing a sporting event, and they are going to see the big play on their phone via Instagram or snap. They are rarely looking at the TV.

3. It's a 24 hour game now, brah

Ok, so you've measured the TV exposure of the 3 hours of gameplay you got this week. Now what? The leaders in digital we work with see the game as a 24 hour per day, 365 day per year event. The best even produced content on Feb 29 of last year. Really, some of the most engaging content rights holders are producing is what's happening during training, what the players do for fun on the bus, or press conferences with the manager. All of these moments outside the game windows bring material exposure to your partners when you add them up.

4. Your practice jersey is worth more than you think

Speaking of which, many teams have separate sponsors, especially for training backdrops or training bibs. For European soccer clubs, the digital exposure for such things can often equal or exceed the front-of-game-jersey valuations on certain days. We've written more details on this before.

5. Facebook Live! Twitter live video YouTube Live Events

The race is on for live video. It's not just end users that are using it. Many teams and organizations are broadcasting events of second and youth teams, practice sessions (see #3 !) , press conferences, and other full games where rights allow. Rights holders are now media companies themselves. Generating meaningful digital exposure for sponsors. And it's all easily measurable in near real time.

6. A few of your fans might be very popular

Generally speaking, I'm not a huge fan of "influencer marketing". Unless the content itself is really interesting, the end users see through it, and frankly we've rarely seen the ROI compared to more organic content. That said, sometimes we run across these true fanatical fans (yes, that's redundant, I know) that organically promote a material presence.

7. eSports, eSports, eSports. What is eSports?

I've been playing video games since pong. If you told me forty years ago that kids would be filling stadiums watching people play video games, sponsored by blue chip companies, and being hired alongside first division soccer teams in professional sporting organizations, I would have told you this was science fiction along with self driving cars, computers you can put in your pocket, and the Chicago Cubs winning the World Series.

But I digress. Indeed some of our customers like Natus Vincere do fill stadiums regularly, and generate meaningful digital exposure for their sponsors. And guess what, none of this is on television. eSports was born in the digital era, and any broadcast television coverage that evolves will play second fiddle to the audience that exists on digital. Tracking digital sponsorship exposure for eSports is a must.

8. Your competitors are tracking you. Don't you want the data they have? Data is now easily syndicated for benchmarks

Back in the days when you needed a consultant to analyze and create sponsorship valuation reports for you, it was often outside of budgets to also have them analyze competitors, as the costs were linear. The era of so called Big Data, where we now have years of public data that can be analyzed relatively quickly means it has become cost effective to not only analyze your own data, but that of your competitors, whether it be in your league, your geographic vicinity, or simply to benchmark other teams or leagues of a similar size. What does this mean? Yes, it means other organizations may know your sponsorship valuations before you do.

Read more about our benchmarking tool here.

9. Digital is immediately global

As where in the TV world, rights holders typically carved up rights geographically and then defended that territory, distribution in digital is immediately global, even to fans who never see your team on TV, or will ever attend a game in person. In 2017 it will be important to see where your social traffic and followers consume your content, and produce specialized content where possible. Furthermore, as sponsorship continues to cross continental boundaries, it's of continuing importance to track more and more leagues, such as the Chinese Super League.

10. Some of the most interesting content can be produced with your partners

Not all partners are such a natural fit to imitate life than this video from Real Madrid and EA Sports, but as a fan of EA Sports FIFA since FIFA '98 or so, there's perhaps no better example than this:

(the tracked version is here )

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Track your media presence with our Worldwide Media report

You know we love to keep you posted about all our new tools and features.  Really.  We do.

However, we have a new report that we haven't told you about until now. Yep.  One slipped through the cracks.

It's our Worldwide Media report, that gathers the mentions related to a team or league that have appeared on the social channels of media companies.

The analysis takes into account the keywords and hashtags associated to that team or league and allows you select a date range of up to 30 days. We give you this information segmented by country. In fact, the map below is a graphical representation showing the countries where the keywords have been tracked.

If you go on you can see a graph detailing the engagement vs posts performance by country. In this graph you can select /deselect the countries you want to compare just by clicking on them.

The next part of the Worldwide Media report is a table with a list of the countries where these keywords have been detected and the number of posts, engagement and average engagement per post.

Finally, the report concludes with a table and a graph breaking down the engagement obtained by each of the keywords and the number of posts where they appear.

One last thing! If you click the name of a country in this report you can access a second level with detailed information about the mentions that come from that country. And if you click a keyword you will also get a second level with information related to the use of that specific keyword. As always, the idea here is going from the general information to the post where the mention occurred.

Does your team need this kind of information? We are listening! Let us tell you what Blinkfire can do for you.