Over the past six years, Twitter has expanded to hundreds of millions of users, all producing hundreds of millions of Tweets on a daily basis. Taken by themselves, many of these Tweets mean relatively little to anyone except to the Tweeter and their circle of Followers: “Dudes had a sandwich for lunch” will never exactly surpass the Gettysburg Address on the list of written statements that changed the world.
But taken collectively and run through the right data analytics program, Twitter could provide epic insight into any number of consumer trends. At least, that’s the thinking behind social-analytics provider Topsy’s new Topsy Pro Analytics.
Topsy has indexed multiple years’ worth of online posts and Webpages, including hundreds of billions of public Tweets. In order to accomplish the latter, it has an access license from Twitter to the Twitter Firehose.
Topsy Pro Analytics features include historical results for search terms, dynamic analysis of social datasets, “Importance Identification” (which tries to mute the inevitable spam/noise in the social-data feed), and a predictive tool that correlates social media trends with “real world events.”
Analytics views include activity analysis (mention counts, etc.), link analysis, exposure analysis (the “gross exposure of Tweets, people, terms or hashtags”) and influence analysis, which parses the communications of so-called “influential” people.
“Organizations want to tap into the public social web to identify, quantify and understand what people are saying,” Duncan Greatwood, CEO of Topsy, wrote in an Aug. 21 statement. “The analytics technologies we’ve created are scaling to power what has become the world’s largest index of the public social Web.”
He claimed a number of companies, including The Washington Post, have already begun leveraging Topsy’s real-time social analytics for insight.
Topsy isn’t the only IT vendor to realize the potential analytics value of Twitter, and nor is it the first to attempt to transform that realization into a toolset. Over the past few months, a number of tech titans—most notably Oracle, Google and Salesforce—have all purchased social-marketing firms.
In June, for example, Salesforce announced the purchase of Buddy Media for approximately $689 million in cash and stock. Buddy Media’s assets include analytics for monitoring user engagement across social networks such as Facebook and Twitter. The month before, Oracle entered into an agreement to acquire Vitrue, described as a “cloud-based social marketing and engagement platform.”
In other words, while a single Tweet might not matter much in the long run, an increasing number of companies are very, very interested in Twitter as a gauge of social sentiment.