Monday, July 3, 2017

Even more Facebook Insights: Reach and Demographics

The sports and entertainment industry has long used advertising equivalency to measure the value of sponsorship in media.   In television this meant approximating viewership and applying a CPM value, the same way you would buy television commercials.

In digital, and especially social media, the advertising industry no longer needs to approximate numbers as most user actions are measurable.  No longer do you need to take a sample and extrapolate numbers (first approximation), and then multiply that times impressions or reach (another approximation, as you have no real idea if anyone has seen it). Now the industry has gravitated toward something that is measurable: an engagement.

However, this is an industry that is slow to change and, probably for maximum compatibility, Facebook also provides reach and impressions numbers on their posts. If you choose to "kick it old school" and value your media on a CPM basis using unique reach, you can now do that as well in Blinkfire.  Many sponsors are still asking for numbers this way as a comparison, and so we're happy to be the engine to help provide this type of data, with the push of a button, 24 hours a day.  And we're not just saying that.

You can see in these example reports below, that reach will now be shown as a metric in different sections inside Blinkfire.  You will be able to see Reach figures on the Sponsorship report, the single post view, and the Media Kit report.

Sponsorship report

Single post view

Media kit report

Where are my followers?

In addition, our Pro level customers now have the option to purchase an add-on package for audience demographics.   We will be talking about this more and more in the near future as we launch many more new features associated with demographics, but for now, if you have a Pro license and wish to upgrade to compare demographic data across entities in our system, contact us now.

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Our Playlists are now collaborative!

Everybody loves playlists! Here at Blinkfire we use them daily for several internal tasks and we know our customers also use them to share post collections within their social media and sponsorship teams. They are a simple way to group social content, get inspired and share posts. However, they were missing one obvious thing: they weren't collaborative. A playlist belonged to just one user. Yeah, they were easy to share and you could always create a copy, but two users couldn't work on the same playlist.

Well, no more! From now on, if you need to have several people working on a unique playlist, you can mark your playlists as "Collaborative". This means that any user that follows the playlist can add and remove posts from it.

To mark a playlist as "Collaborative", just go to My content > Playlists and hover your mouse pointer over the three dots icon. A new menu will appear that will let you rename or delete your playlist, plus enable collaboration on it. Once a playlist is marked as collaborative you will see an orange icon beside its name. If you want to disable collaboration you can do so by accessing the same menu.

You can also just follow playlists you like, so you never lose track of them. To follow a playlist, just enter the playlist and click the blue "Follow playlist" button. You can unfollow any playlist whenever you want. All followed playlists will now appear on a separate list on My content > Playlists.

We hope you really enjoy these new improvements. If you think of any other way to make playlists more useful, we're all ears!

And now for our latest trick - supporting Facebook Branded Content on Blinkfire!

Most people don't know it, but it's actually been against Facebook's terms of service for some time to promote other brands in your Facebook posts.  You see, most of the social world doesn't like overt endorsements in their social feed, so Facebook decided the best way to deal with such things is to have publishers tag the brands that are promoted in the posts, so instead of being underhanded about it, the publishers can say "hey! we have these great partners and we're going to feature them in our posts!"

So... a few months ago Facebook decided to allow branded posts on publisher pages through their Branded Content feature. This is the name Facebook uses now to define posts by publishers or rights holders that feature or are influenced by a business partner (usually brands) for an exchange of value, which is an overly-complicated way of talking about sponsored posts.

These posts are relatively easy to spot. They include "with" plus the name of the brand right next to the name of the content creator, linking back to their Facebook page, like a mention. For example, if we see a post that has "Everton with EA SPORTS FIFA" at the top, we know that it's content posted by Everton and sponsored by EA SPORTS FIFA.

What's the difference between this and a regular old mention? Well, the main advantage of branded content over mentions on Facebook is that both the content creator's page and the tagged brand's page will get performance insights, which is always nice to have for both parts.

We try to be as accurate as possible in our tracking of engagement and earned media value, so Branded Content has, of course, made its way to our reports and dashboards. Take a look at the example above to see how we are currently showing this kind of content on Blinkfire Analytics. Notice the "with Kalas Sportswear" text just next to the British Cycling name.

On Blinkfire, branded posts are now counted just as another type of engagement. This means that Branded Content is included in our Sponsorship report tables together with all the different types of engagement we use to value posts, that is, visual mentions, video mentions, mentions, and hashtags. Cool, right?

We worry about keeping up with all this stuff so you don't have to.  We don't like to inform you that your spreadsheets are woefully out of date, but yes, they are.  And for those of you still using TV methodologies to value your social content...pfffft, really???

Fasten your helmet, MotoGP is now on Blinkfire!

The 2017 MotoGP World Championship started in Qatar one month ago. Hundreds of thousands of fans attended each race, and nearly 6 million people watched on TV the last race of the 2016 championship.

These outstanding figures are mirrored on social media. As with most professional sports, motorcycling has a massive social following. MotoGP's Facebook page borders on 12 million fans at the time of writing this post and they have approximately 20 million followers on all their social networks.

Top teams such as Movistar Yamaha and Red Bull KTM Factory Racing have over 3 million followers, a small number when compared to the more than 21 million of Italian legend Valentino Rossi, the most popular racer.

Here at Blinkfire we were already tracking the social content of several teams and riders on a customer's request, but now we have added to our platform all teams and racers of the MotoGP category. This means that from now on we will search for brands on all social posts shared by MotoGP, their teams, and all their riders.  As a special bonus, we will calculate the value received by sponsors such as Red Bull, Monster Energy, Movistar, Repsol, TIM, or Alpinestars.

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.