Case Study: Digital Agency Turbocharges Social Listening and Insights with the Infochimps Platform


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Today’s top contenders in the digital marketing and advertising market have a new set of challenges in creating and managing brands. Now, with an abundance of data at their fingertips, agencies are learning how to leverage their customers’ internal data to message and communicate brands and products more effectively. To further strengthen their efforts, they are tapping into technologies that allow them to leverage massive data streams from social and other web sources.

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Case Study: Digital Agency Turbocharges Social Listening and Insights with the Infochimps Platform

  1. 1. Digital Agency Turbocharges Social Listening and Insights with the Infochimps Platform CASE STUDY Today’s top contenders in the digital marketing and advertising market have a new set of challenges in creating and managing brands. Now, with an abundance of data at their fingertips, agencies are learning how to leverage their customers’ internal data to message and communicate brands and products more effectively. To further strengthen their efforts, they are tapping into technologies that allow them to leverage massiveWe had realized data streams from social and other web sources.that the most Meet Agency X*, one of the world’s top ad agencies with global brandprofitable 20% management of a number of Fortune 500 accounts. Agency X has aof our projects proprietary social media listening and insights offering, powered bywere reporting technologies like Radian6 among others that allows them to acquire and process data to visualize and present brand performance metrics andand data related. statistics. Agency X’s social media listening gathers information from social sites, like Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr and more, while the insightsIt was clear offering aggregates metrics from a number of sources including Google Analytics, Facebook Insights and Omniture. Ultimately, the organizationwe needed to was looking to unify their data platforms and offer their team membersdouble down in push-button reporting.this area and wequickly discov-ered Infochimpswas the rightpartner to buildit out.- VP - Analytics, Agency X *Agency X’s name has been protected in this case study to protect their competitive advantage and intellectual property.© 2012 Infochimps, Inc. All rights reserved. 1
  2. 2. CASE STUDYVisionDiversification. Like many of the top agencies, Repeatability. Agency X is considered a leaderAgency X is always looking for ways to offer in out-of-the-box thinking when it comes to newmore services to differentiate themselves from projects, it’s their bread and butter. However,their peers and create more value. The best and this can put a lot of stress on the technical de-largest agencies don’t focus on just one aspect velopment team responsible for implementingof the advertising landscape, but have a whole these projects.portfolio of tools and services they can bring tobear - creating more value for their clients, and Every project seems like it’s breaking newgreater revenue opportunities for the agency, technical ground and there’s always a tightbeyond hourly billing for creative work. deadline, which means code gets written in a one-off fashion, without long-term, repeated useEarly on Agency X realized the opportunity to in mind. And because actions can only be donedifferentiate themselves and serve their cli- ad-hoc and by a technical resource, the accountents better by creating a social media practice. teams can usually be left on their own whenSocial media strategy and reporting are by now it comes to creating new reports through onejust one of the many ways Agency X operates esoteric tool after another.a diversified portfolio of services that can helptheir clients. After clients started asking for more Led by Agency X’s senior management, andmetrics and measurement around their social spearheaded by its CTO, the organization de-media campaigns, Agency X adopted Radian6 cided it needed to develop a Platform - a con-as a third party tool to help them with reports. sistent set of tools and processes for executingRealizing the power of such a system to gener- similar projects. Its data and reporting projectsate real value for themselves and their clients, were a natural first place to start, as many ofAgency X began looking for ways to have their the workflows and scripts involved were ripeown proprietary solution which they could fur- for consolidation and automation. It was clearther customize and give themselves greater that clients and account teams would benefitcapabilities. greatly from push-button reporting and analyti- cal capabilities, saving the technical teams the effort, and getting insights to their clients in near real-time.© 2012 Infochimps, Inc. All rights reserved. 2
  3. 3. CASE STUDYProfitability. With every new digital project Creativity. At Agency X, one argument againstthat Agency X took on, technical and human bringing technology platforms in-house was thatrisk had the potential creep up and eat into that the focus on locking down toolsets and process-project’s margins. Stacking enough of these es could restrict the creative possibilities fortogether meant Agency X could face signifi- the organization and the kinds of projects theycant barriers to growing revenues and profits, could take on. Certain employees at Agencyas resources were tied up in projects that took X had experience with using legacy data plat-longer than they should have and suck up more forms, being familiar with Business Intelligenceresources than budgeted. cubes and Relational Database Management Systems, and bemoaned their rigidity and theRevenues and profits are always on senior negative effects it would have on their clientmanagement’s mind at Agency X. Leading up working with Infochimps, Agency X realizedthat a significant portion of their repeatable The CTO at Agency X knew that philosophi-profits came from data pipelines and reporting cally, these arguments were wrong. Embrac-related projects. By Agency X’s own account, ing a few constraints and simplifications in onethese were the 20% of projects that generated area of a business meant that other areas can80% of their profits. It was clear to them they be even more freely creative in their solutionsshould double their efforts in this area. - they can depend on the repeatable results and build around them. On a practical level the CTO knew the old-school Business Intelligence tools wouldn’t work for his needs, and he began evaluating the various big data technologies out there to see what could offer the flexibility he would still need within a solution.© 2012 Infochimps, Inc. All rights reserved. 3
  4. 4. CASE STUDYChallengesBeyond the complex organizational challenges • Scalability and Elasticity. As contentin the way of moving Agency X into the future, increased to “Big Data” scale, existing SQLthere were a number of technical challenges databases were pushed to their limits.that needed solved. As an example, for their • Analytics Feature Development. Senti-social media reporting services their clients ment analysis, influence scores, and otherbegan asking for greater and greater insight derivative data are important features thatand simplification, including real-time analytics would greatly add to the overall value ofand sentiment analysis. Their teams struggled the listener and insights platform. However,with scaling the underlying technology to deliver there wasn’t a common platform and toolthese solutions. set for these features to be developed and scaled out.Key challenges preventing the scaling of these • Workflows. Much of the work that Agencysystems for Agency X were: X’s existing data platforms perform were done with manual tasks. Agency X needed• Sourcing and Sustainability. Agency X a solution that enabled the automation of relied on building custom scrapers and data particular data workflows, starting with Senti- integrations and soon found that sustaining ment Analysis and Influencer Reporting. these custom connections with analytics and • Client Customization. Customizing and application layers was messy and ad-hoc at preparing reporting and analytics for any best. Regardless of how an agency obtained given customer was largely a manual pro- their data, whether powered by homemade cess. The ability to create customizations or third-party aggregators like Gnip and easily and efficiently, as well as cater analyt- DataSift, the components and collected ics on a per-customer basis, would greatly data were nearly impossible to maintain enhance the efficiency of Agency X teams indefinitely as customer and project priorities and increase the speed with which teams shifted. could deliver insights to customers.© 2012 Infochimps, Inc. All rights reserved. 4
  5. 5. CASE STUDYSolution • Push Button Reporting. By leveragingInfochimps helped Agency X strengthen and the Hadoop suite of tools for batch analyt-extend their listening and insights platform by ics, as well as the Infochimps Data Deliveryleveraging the Infochimps Platform, tools, and System (based on Apache Flume) for real-expertise to unify data sources, process data time streaming analytics, Agency X canstreams, and visualize insights in real-time, all develop analysis and subsequent reportswhile satisfying on-demand internal reporting on the fly for high customer responsiveness.needs. The power and simplicity of the Infochimps analytics tools make it easier to develop and• System Unification within a Flexible Big productionize analysis and reporting. Data Infrastructure. By taking advantage of • Modular Analytics Development. By us- Big Data tools and Ironfan as the provision- ing the Infochimps Data Delivery Service ing, configuration, and updates foundation, (based on Apache Flume) and “decorators,” Agency X can scale to any volume of ap- Agency X can add any number of additional plications, reporting, and data collection. All analytics enhancements as their feature set applications, reporting, and data are con- grows. These enhancements are modular, nected as part of one unified, modular sys- meaning Agency X can customize features tem. depending on the customer’s needs, and• Peace of Mind. Infochimps hosts, main- new analytics can be added without disrup- tains, and monitors the underlying system tion to previously developed metrics. architecture and tools to greatly minimize the operational resources and mindshare that Agency X must allocate to infrastruc- ture support. Simply put - it just works.© 2012 Infochimps, Inc. All rights reserved. 5
  6. 6. CASE STUDYInfochimps Platform Benefits Working with InfochimpsThe Infochimps Platform provided these key Infochimps has built a plug-and-play platform,benefits to Agency X: provides all the data you could want from our data marketplace at your fingertips, and we’ve• Diminished operations burden allowing got the experts to make it all just work. them to focus on building products, not machines Big Data Experts. We built a uniquely powerful • Sustainable, scalable systems powered data system that could ingest and deliver mas- by best-in-class technologies like Ha- sive quantities of data while performing com- doop, Flume, Elasticsearch, and more. plex, resource-intensive analytics in order to • Infochimps hosting, maintenance and create and maintain our market-leading catalog administration, support, skills transfer, of thousands of data sets and APIs. Now, com- and Big Data strategy and methodology. panies looking to gain insights big data come• A system that is easy to change, grow, to us to leverage our platform, experience and and manage expertise. Underlying those offerings are a set • Built on a foundation of open-source of cutting edge Infochimps’ technologies and technologies. tools, including Ironfan and Wukong, as well as • Agile infrastructure development - their key partnerships. infrastructure is defined with descriptive code. This enables fast iterations, test- Integrated. Infochimps’ experience and tool de- ability, and flexibility. velopment in all the other aspects of Big Data, • Modularity and customizability, allowing from ingestion and conditioning to low-friction them to respond dynamically to changing delivery (in the form of our API platform), means business or customer requirements. that the team understands and is equipped with• Powerful analytics capabilities the tools to successfully navigate and trouble- • Batch Big Data analytics with Hadoop shoot the entire Big Data ecosystem of an and related tools. organization. • Streaming (real-time) Big Data analytics powered by Apache Flume and enhance- ments added by Infochimps’ Data Deliv- ery Service.© 2012 Infochimps, Inc. All rights reserved. 6
  7. 7. CASE STUDYFlexible Cost. Infochimps helps companiesmanage costs with infrastructure agnosticism.Want to pay for just what you need? We canleverage the flexibility of Infrastructure as aService (IaaS) providers such as Amazon WebServices and the Rackspace Cloud. Now, allinfrastructure costs can be operating expenses(use what you need) and not capital expendi-tures (pay for infrastructure whether you needit or not). Switching from CapEx to OpEx candramatically lower the funding barrier to adopt-ing Big Data internally in an enterprise. Gotbare metal? We’ll set you up with OpenStackand Ironfan so you can create your own flexible,highly-efficient infrastructure environment.Context. Perhaps best of all, the InfochimpsPlatform can be used to provide context toenterprise’s internal data, whether throughpublic opinion mining (via social networks),geo-located information of many varieties, wordcorpus training for machine learning, and othercommonly useful (but difficult to accumulate)data. All those capabilities combine to make usa great choice for providing Big Data servicesto the budget and process-conscious enterprisecustomer.© 2012 Infochimps, Inc. All rights reserved. 7
  8. 8. About Infochimps Our mission is to make the world’s data more accessible. Infochimps helps companies understand their data. We provide tools and services that connect their internal data, leverage the power of cloud computing and new technologies such as Hadoop, and provide a wealth of external datasets, which organizations can connect to their own data. Contact Us Infochimps, Inc. 1214 W 6th St. Suite 202 Austin, TX 78703 1-855-DATA-FUN (1-855-328-2386) Twitter: @infochimps Get a free Big Data consultation Let’s talk Big Data in the enterprise! Get a free conference with the leading big data experts regarding your enterprise big data project. Meet with leading data scientists Flip Kromer and/or Dhruv Bansal to talk shop about your project objectives, design, infrastructure, tools, etc. Find out how other compa- nies are solving similar problems. Learn best practices and get recommendations — free.© 2012 Infochimps, Inc. All rights reserved. 8