We're wrapping up about a 10 day blitz of different press, analyst, customer, and partner calls -- and the feedback has been great. We're tired, but glad to be out there. The side effect of talking to that many people in such a compressed time is that it tends to hone a pitch pretty well. I suppose there is a lot to be said for repetition.
Polygraph is big social data... packaged today as analytics.
The emphasis and order of that statement is entirely intentional. We're big social data first and foremost.
The philosophy behind our business is that most problems communicated by our early customers and partners are all solved by data -- a systematic commitment to collecting and analyzing big data in order to find "small data" intelligence.
Many people understand the power of data, but are powerless to act upon it. That's where Polygraph comes in.
Our first release is an analytics product that is based on having all the data available on Pages and Subscriber-enabled Profiles. Most of our competitors use or repackage Facebook Insights. But we've always found that relying on Facebook Insights was a curious approach. Repackaging Facebook's interpretation of data interesting to marketers is a far cry from getting the source data itself, then building a tool for marketers on top of that. It's kinda like the difference between tools in the video clip below.
But we're excited for the future beyond Facebook analytics. Based on where we are as a business, we can quickly go wider by covering other social networks... and deeper by covering more scenarios beyond just analytics. Big social data is the parent -- the enabling platform -- and various applications will excite corporate marketers and consumers.
But at the end of the day, we're a data mining company. We take the latent, available data and do exciting things with it. The future is bright, and we're excited!
Just a quick pointer over to our interview on Technet -- Microsoft named us Startup of the Day last week.
They interviewed me and had me answer a few questions in the Q&A. It's probably one of the few times I've had the opportunity to tell our story in detail. The interview is about 10 minutes long and was taken as we prepared for our launch earlier in 2012. Take a look:
Quick plug today for some staffing needs that we have at Polygraph Media. We are building out our sales force and want to talk to you if you're interested in selling big social data!
Preference given to self-starters and people who are not afraid to hustle. Ideal candidates will have a demonstrated, strong work ethic, a record of success, and will have connections in major brands, agencies, etc.
These are commission only positions to start and to give us a chance to know you while you get a feel for Polygraph, the product & the company.
Send an e-mail with your resume' and qualifications to email@example.com for more information.
First a quick thanks to all of you who visited the blog yesterday. Our blog traffic exploded yesterday, which means I'll be writing here frequently. :-)
Today, I thought I'd talk about where we got the idea for Polygraph and the feedback we heard from the marketplace in the 9 months preceding our launch.
As some of you may know, our company's origins came from the couponing world. Our first product was a couponing system that businesses could use to publish coupons on the Web, Facebook, Twitter, and to e-mail lists. We built this as a DIY system for local businesses and brands, and as such talked with a bunch of customers.
The feedback we got was that couponing really needed to be conditional for businesses to get really fired up about it. Businesses pay significant $$ for new customers, but treat existing customers as people from which the ARPU (average revenue per user) must be raised. So if you offer say a 20% coupon to anyone who would take it, the business might get some new customers but it is much more likely to be giving a discount to the very people who will be a customer anyway.
Businesses market to existing customers differently than they market to new customers, and so if couponing is going to deliver a real ROI, as a tactic it has to become "intelligent". (Incidentally, I think this is a problem that Groupon and LivingSocial have today.)
So we went back to the drawing board and asked "are there any ways for us to get an idea of if someone is a customer?" And we turned to Facebook and said "well, Facebook Pages might be an interesting proxy for loyalty." If someone is associated with a Facebook Page, they are probably a customer of that business in some way. And hence, Polygraph was born.
We took our core technology to brands and agencies, and surprisingly (to us at least) heard a number of other related requests. The core of the feedback was that Facebook Insights (or any existing analytics provider) did not adequately explain cause & effect on Facebook. For example,
I post something, what happens?
I don't post something today or for a week, what are the implications?
I use a particular agency to manage my pages, are they doing what I want?
I think my competitor is beating me, how can I tell?
What goals should I set for my team/consultant/self?
What are the right metrics?
Are we winning?
Are we getting closer to something resembling a ROI?
The problem was that social metrics had not "grown up" to answer basic questions about marketing and the competitive landscape. The ones that had existed were almost all built using Facebook Insights data, which is incomplete, confusing, and does not give you any information on your competitors.
So we applied the same data mining techniques we used to determine Fan activity to all the analytics a marketer would/should care about. This is probably our #1 differentiator. We record every social interaction on a page and discard absolutely nothing.
Take for example the illustration below, from the Healthy Choice Facebook Page. This one User Post was written by Julez, liked by Jennifer, responded to by the Healthy Choice Page 4 hours later, commented on by Tim, and both the comments were liked by someone. Apply this rigor to any Facebook Page, and you can learn some truly insightful things. Apply it across multiple pages, and you can learn a lot about a competitive market, an industry, or how people are interacting with Pages on Facebook as a whole.
Polygraph is the only product that dives deep into the available data and makes sense of it for marketers. We think there is a ton of knowledge trapped in this publicly available data, and we're unlocking it using data mining, data science, and world-class analytics.
More to come as we go along -- examples, how people are using the information we provide, creative uses of Polygraph, and where we're going in the future -- but now you know how we conceived of Polygraph!
Howdy everyone. Today is an exciting day for us at Polygraph -- we've released our first product into the marketplace!
First of all, congratulations to our team. We ran hard to the deadline, and released something that I'm very proud of, especially for a v1. Now everyone is pretty much exhausted, but I suppose that's par for the course.
We're excited about our mission to democratize access to social data -- and make it easy for marketers to truly understand the competitive landscape on Facebook. There are a lot of companies doing deep analytics on Twitter, but not very many doing it for Facebook. We think Polygraph is a great innovation and a step to help people better understand cause & effect on Facebook as well as ROI.
We are unique in the marketplace because we treat the problem of analytics as a data mining problem. Every social interaction for a brand is an important, discrete event that must be captured, recorded, and presented to marketers in a way that is actionable. Facebook Insights is a good start, but doesn't provide enough for genius left-brained marketers. And, of course, you can't get competitor data out of Facebook Insights either. Polygraph gives you both.
We will turn our attention to customer feedback now -- and rapidly iterate to improve the product. As with any launch, we have some things that we want to immediately improve. We have a long feature request list from early adopters and friends that we want to tackle as well. We will work with a handful of selected big brands, technology partners, and agencies to work on advanced applications/uses of the data as well.
This first release of Polygraph is the beginning of big things for us. We'd love you to join us for the ride. Visit http://www.polygraphmedia.com/free-stuff for access to some samples and to create a free account. You can also order your own Polygraph Reports from the web site.
Later this week, we'll start to publish some analysis on this blog as we find things in the data that are simply fascinating!
The Facebook IPO is the apex of this cycle. Finally, we can all buy & sell shares of the world's dominant social property. Woohoo!
The Facebook price range was increased today, which will value the company at roughly $100b when it begins trading. Unreal -- although this was inline with where the company was valued in the private markets six months ago. So no real surprise there.
If you're going into $FB as a "trader"... i.e. you will be playing the daily or even less frequent idiosyncracies of how the market views the stock. Godspeed.
But if you're going into it as an investor, you're banking on Facebook taking more & more advantage of the 900 million users that it has at its disposal. You're betting that it is critical infrastructure that is more or less here to stay. Fatigue, competitors, legal issues, lack of real ads progress on mobile, the higher proportion of Facebook users from mobile devices, advertising effectiveness, etc. be damned. And you're betting that Facebook will increase the ARPU (average revenue per user) from the paltry few bucks per person that it makes today. Again, Godspeed.
Finally, let's keep in mind that Facebook's user growth has significantly slowed. It used to announce the next hundred million users on a quarterly cadence. Now, the law of large numbers has taken hold... and it might crack 1 billion in 2012. Nonetheless, Facebook still has amongst its user base about 45% of the world's Internet population.
All of that said, it's still the gold standard of social media -- and is not likely to be supplanted by any of its rivals anytime soon.
Facebook will emerge from this with a massive cash hoard along with stock -- both sets of currency available for acquisitions, product development, hires, etc. That's going to prove to be remarkably powerful and will shape the latter stages of the post-social era.
I'll be too busy launching Polygraph to pay close attention to the play-by-play on CNBC later this week. If you decide to play, good luck!