The Internet Advertising Bureau of South Africa’s mission is to promote digital growth and in doing so, has to tap in to what South African internet users are talking about. Once brands know that, they can react and start talking to consumers. But how can they do this?
That was the question IAB SA asked its integrated communications agency, MetropolitanRepublic, to investigate and then to create an “attention-grabbing promotional campaign to demonstrate the power of the South African digital audience to both consumers and advertisers”. It also had to raise the profile of the IAB SA and its work.
“Trending content is the heartbeat of South Africa’s digital landscape,” says Josephine Buys, CEO of the IAB SA. “In the midst of so much fast-paced information, there are particular stories that ignite conversations across the internet each day. Knowing what these are, where these are published and how South African users are reacting to them enables brands to be smarter and nimbler about starting or joining the conversations.”
What the agency has come up with is a concept called The Pulse which is a 3D, heart-shaped manifestation of the main topics that are fascinating South African web users on IAB SA publisher members’ digital platforms. It uses data gathered within the past seven days to show where the buzz is, and plugs into Twitter to analyse South African tweets related to these topics.
Bronwen Auret, head of digital operations at MetropolitanRepublic, says, “Converging data, sentiment and 3D visuals on no budget has been the ultimate geek challenge!”
Jonathan Banks, head of technology at MetropolitanRepublic, explains how it works. “The platform ingests RSS feeds, categorises the content, fetches tweets for those categories, processes the content for sentiment and renders the output as a WebGL-based 3D heart. It has been quite a challenge, but we are exceptionally proud of what we have achieved.”
The Pulse measures the sentiment expressed in each data source through advanced analytics provided by Lexalytics and its US and Europe text-mining service, Semantria. Lexalytics software and services analyse more than three-billion documents per day.
“Conversations are happening all the time, whether we’re listening or not,” says Seth Redmore, vice-president of marketing at Lexalytics. “Consumers expect brands to respond, react and be relevant. The Pulse is a great way of showing the trends and vibrant nature of the South African social media universe, and we’re proud that our leading text analytics service is a key part of ‘showing the buzz’.”
How does it work?
- Go to the Pulse on the IAB SA’s website and select a current topic from the dropdown menu at the top of the page. The Pulse then fetches related news stories and tweets and turns each into a dot on a beating heart. The more dots you see, the more content there is on that topic.
- Click on a dot to zoom in and see its source. The darker it appears in colour, the more negative the sentiment around the topic (check the legend box on the page for the meanings of specific colours). Click “Zoom out” in the source box to go back to the heart.
- As the buzz increases around a topic, the heart will beat faster. You can use your mouse to spin the heart around and reach other dots.
The Pulse will be advertised through a digital banner campaign across IAB SA members’ digital platforms to illustrate how the efficient use of innovative banners can drive web users to rewarding content.
“Through this digital advertising campaign, the IAB SA aims to demonstrate the power of the medium and to educate advertisers about how to capture this valuable audience’s attention and keep it through the use of well-crafted content,” says Buys.
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