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Discourse targeting

 

Thanks to Eric Fredine’s blog I found Microsoft study on the Behavioural Targeting. The report is interesting to me because it clearly proved that tracking short term behaviour is more effective for targeted ads delivery than tracking long term behaviour. For me, it is one more proof that “context is the King”.

For some years, my research is focused on specific context – online discussion. The context is extremely rich of thoughts, dreams, emotions, attitudes etc., and all this wealth manifests itself in the discourse of discussion. The discussion within online community is much more rich than the context of online purchase, browsing, search,…

The main general conclusion of my research is that discourse is granulated. For expample, there are big differences between the topics discussed by active and passive people.

For targeted ads delivery, probably more important is the statement that there are specific patterns of topics discussed and attitudes towards various subjects (products, institutions, other people etc.). For example a car.

On automotive discussion forums people are looking for the advice what car to choose or for the bargain new tires etc. But the idea of buying new car most often is born on… family forums! The difference is so big that sometimes I poke fun saying that “a car is a member of family”.

We can say that in the context of online discussion a car is often associated with another element of this context – a topic about family.

Why not to target the car ads at the family discussion forums?

Above result is valid for Polish discussion forums, and I’m not sure if French, German or American forums are similar. And, of course, there are much more pecularities of the patterns of attitudes towards particular products associated with other elements of the context.

The idea of discourse targeting is stunning, isn’t it?

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Monitoring brand using discourse analysis

 

Learning public opinion (or sentiment) about Your brand in traditional way is expensive because surveys or focus groups take much time and human work. Probably in near future alternative solution will gain recognition as some technology vendors launched tools for brand monitoring using text analytics. Initial review of these attempts appeared yesterday on SmartData Collective.

Monitoring brand using discourse analysis differs, to some extent, from the approach based on text analysis. I have very fresh example – a tool for monitoring opinion about retail nets (supermarkets). And now some words how it is made and how it works.

Building Monitor. Analysis of the discourse in the corpus of Internet discussions related to supermarkets gave a collection of subjects interesting for interlocutors, and a collection of expressions of their attitudes.  Using these results the complex queries for semantic search were built for the learning research. It is the crucial stage – we should learn very details of the discourse, and get its math at the same time, as the basis for justification and calibration of the Monitor. The final task is relatively easy – to implement the results and build a “machine” using accessible technology.

How Monitor works. The data for each retail brand is collected using semantic search. Monitor makes all the calculus according to calibrating formulas and provides figures ready for presentation. Please see the pictures made for presentation only (not production version).

First are the “profile” – how the brand is perceived, i. e. how it is distinguished vs the average Internet discourse. The result of such kind is often astonishing because the picture dramatically differs from that of Customer’s (user of monitor) wishes, from official image and marketing buzz. Moreover, the interlocutors’ categories (vertical in the charts) also differ.

Then there is a comparison of the brands monitored. The charts show how people value each brand with regard to the same categories.  2 charts with negative opinions (general index only) are presented as the example.

The third important group of results regards monitoring itself, i. e. presentation of the changes. It depends on the Customer needs. Some customers want to observe the effects of promotional campaigns, and for such purpose day-to-day monitoring is appropriate. Some want to know the general trends… etc.