Analysing your social influence

Analysing your social influence

Unmetric Inc. is ramping up its team strength and integrating new metrics to its platform with an intention of establishing itself as a leader in the social media benchmarking and competitive intelligence space 

POORNIMA KAVLEKAR

If a company’s fan base on Facebook has increased by 15 per cent in a month, is that good? Should it have been growing at 20 per cent instead? If a company received 400 comments on a recent Facebook post, is that normal? If you reply to 90 per cent of users within 30 minutes on Twitter, how does that compare to your competitors or sector? How does a company get an answer to such basic business questions? Unmetric Inc. aims to provide just that. Headquartered in Chicago, it offers intuitive social media benchmarks to companies with operations across the globe. Social media has surely become a phenomenon with millions of people across the world interacting by the minute. It is not only about information anymore; it is also about the opportunity that this platform throws open for small, medium and big businesses. Identifying such an opportunity, Lakshmanan Narayan, CEO and co-founder started the company in early 2010, and thereafter, convinced two of his friends from IIT Madras, Joseph Varghese and Kumar Krishnasami, to join the company as its co-founders.

Narayan says, “There are many companies that are in the social media listening and publishing space, but few are available for social media benchmarking and competitive intelligence. Unmetric is essentially plugging the gap in the market for this kind of service that enables the business to understand where they stand.” Unmetric focuses both on the U.S. market as well as emerging markets like India, which has the third largest population on Facebook with 51 million users (a growth of 107 per cent in the last one year). Brands and companies are obviously trying to leverage this and will hence, need better tools.

Tools of the trade

Unmetric provides brands with insights such as analysis of content strategies of other brands on Facebook, analysis of customer service or reply metrics on Twitter. It empowers marketing teams with data that was unavailable so far, which helps them establish benchmarks for their social media teams and campaigns. “We recognised early on that while many brands were quick to embrace social media as a new marketing channel, most were flying blind,” shares Narayan. Companies are used to having sector-based benchmarks in most areas of business, particularly in advertising and marketing that have a measurement criterion for television and websites.

Snap Shot

Unmetric Inc.
Founders: Lakshmanan Narayan, Joseph Varghese and Kumar
Krishnasami
Year: 2010
City: Chicago
Funding: Unmetric raised US $3 million in Series A Funding from Nexus Venture Partners

“Before Unmetric, there was no way for brands to benchmark their efforts and performance on social media, despite companies like General Motors ploughing US $30 million a year just to create content for their various Facebook pages,” says Narayan. By establishing benchmarks for all areas of social media, the company is helping brands to optimise their budgets and create more efficient social media teams.

The company offers its services through a subscription-based model where its clients get access to its data and analysis through a self service web application available at Unmetric.com. Brands can compare up to 30 competitors (which they can change at any time) across Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, depending on the package that they purchase. Customised reports and alerts are generated automatically.

The company also has offices in New York, Palo Alto, Chennai and Coimbatore. It has grown from a five member team to over 25 people in the last few months, including sales staff in the U.S. and India, and a marketer in the U.K. An ongoing challenge for the company is in building a great team and being able to continue to maintain and encourage the work culture.

User advantage

Service sectors like banking, telecom and aviation have been early adopters to social media because the ‘service experience’ is intrinsic to their product, and they are primarily able to differentiate themselves on the quality of service they provide. “One sector that can do better is hospitality, where I believe hotels are struggling to figure out how to handle their social media across such a fragmented landscape,” says Narayan. “There are pages and Twitter handles for the main hotel brand, individual hotels, groups of hotels, franchises and so forth, which creates a very disconnected experience for users as they don’t know where they should go for news, help or information,” he continues.

The company’s clients are in the U.S., India and Australia and some of them include Citibank, Airtel, Suncorp and MakeMyTrip. Talking about the Indian market, Narayan says, “While currently, the Indian market is playing catch-up with the U.S. market, particularly on Twitter and YouTube, many brands are doing extremely well in India like Airtel, Tata Docomo, MakeMyTrip and Jet Airways.”

The extra analysis

“Unmetric has entered the market early which enables us to define and own this,” says Narayan. The company’s advanced algorithms coupled with human computing enables it to offer better insight than just using or replaying raw data. “While any good programmer can pull out data like number of fans or post times, it’s the additional layer of analysis on top that sets us apart,” says Narayan.

A significant feature that Unmetric’s module offers is the ability to dissect the content strategy of all brands on Facebook. The company uses a combination of human computing and algorithms to determine exactly what kind of content a brand is posting and how that affects engagement. It has created proprietary algorithms to combine quantitative and qualitative metrics into a single score, which helps it go beyond simple data reporting. “Two of our co-founders have been writing code since the (public) birth of the World Wide Web so there is a lot of experience to draw upon there,” shares Narayan.  To differentiate itself from competition, the company is giving its marketers useful and inferred data instead of replaying data curated from the social networks.

The Unmetric platform is developed in Java and uses Amazon’s cloud based solutions such as their computing, storage and database services to help scale up when necessary.

Going forward

Unmetric, which was set up with an initial funding of Rs. 20 lakhs by the co-founders, recently raised US $3.2 million in Series A Funding from Nexus Venture Partners. There are three primary areas where these funds will be invested: hiring, development and marketing. “We’ll be cherry picking the best staff we can, in order to build the team further,” says Narayan. Developing the platform remains a core part of its business as social media is evolving day-by-day, the sites are always adding new features and the company needs to integrate new metrics as soon as possible. Since social media listening and social media publishing are well defined with market leaders, it is looking at  building awareness of the social media benchmarking and competitive intelligence space, and establish Unmetric as the leader in the field. Currently, the social media industry has market leaders in the listening and publishing space, and Narayan wants to stake his claim on the benchmarking sub-space. “Just like most large companies currently use tools such as Radian6 for listening and Buddy Media for publishing, Unmetric will be the go-to platform that companies refer to in order to benchmark and compare themselves, and to gain previously unavailable insights into their competitors’ social media strategy,” he adds.

And to achieve this, he is depending on hiring the brightest talent from India and the U.S. “Whether it is operations, marketing, development, administration or sales, it will always be the people that will drive Unmetric forward and ultimately our success is rooted in the team that we build,” concludes Narayan.


Concept in brief

Unmetric Inc. is a social media benchmarking company headquartered in Chicago with clients and operations across the globe. Unmetric provides brands with insights such as analysis of content strategies of other brands on Facebook, analysis of customer service or reply metrics on Twitter. It empowers the marketing teams with data that was unavailable so far, which helps them establish benchmarks for their social media teams and campaigns.


Entrepreneurship