In an expansion of its recently-created Strategic Marketing Services group, Framingham, Massachusetts-based tech publisher IDG has partnered with Networked Insights to launch IDG Social Scout—a service that uses proprietary analytics to track conversations around topics and brands and measures sentiment/engagement over time.“As we saw how social media was becoming key for marketers, IDG looked for ways we could provide solutions for our clients in this space in addition to our traditional paid media solutions,” IDG Strategic Marketing Services client services vice president Deidra Bodkin said. “It was clear to us that the absolute first step is to listen to what your audience is actually saying about your brand, products or a business topic. We knew that brand listening would form the base platform that all of our other strategic recommendations would be based on.”In September, IDG recast its corporate sales and marketing operation in the U.S. as Strategic Marketing Services, with a focus on services like consulting, integrated programs such as custom media, and now social media capabilities.Tapping Networked Insights’ proprietary “listening platform,” the IDG Social Scout service can track social conversations online in regard to specific topics chosen by IDG’s marketing clients, providing real-time data on how well those terms are resonating—ideally helping the marketer to develop a more pointed, effective campaign. After determining which topics its clients are most interested in learning about, IDG’s research team develops a community of sites based on conversational engagement and volume that the company will track on an ongoing basis, Bodkin said. IDG will provide clients with a benchmark report that includes their brand and three competitors, Bodkin said. From there, it will provide weekly metrics reports that show change in conversation, sentiment and key conversations that are happening online regarding a particular topic.“In addition to the standard keyword-based natural language approach, our method of discovery takes morphology, synonomy and polysemy into account while searching for the most popular topics of conversation,” said Bodkin. “It does so by using pattern recognition to develop an idea of context based on a given set of posts. This helps us to increase recall without lowering precision too much, in effect widening our net without getting too many unwanted comments caught in it.”Bodkin said context also is important to the service’s sentiment calculation. “We achieve this by using natural language processing and a rule-based system to identify sentiment words—usually adjectives and adverbs—and connect them to the nouns they modify,” she said. Bodkin declined to say how much IDG charges its clients for the Social Scout service but said implementation is turnkey. “Once we determine the topic area and key issues within the topic that we want to track, IDG handles everything.”In May, IDG launched IDG Amplify with a set of ad products geared around social sites, whereby a user can comment within an ad unit and then share it with their social graph.
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