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We are introducing a bi-weekly summary of the most exciting recent news in marketing technology and trends. If you’re trying to keep up, consider this your one-stop shop.

Meltwater has announced it is opening up its AI platform, Fairhair.ai, to give developers and data scientists the tools to: connect and organize internal and external data by a knowledge graph; access pre-trained, configurable AI models; and create real-time insights to make forward-looking, data-driven decisions. According to Meltwater, Fairhair.ai makes it easier for businesses to gain a real-time pulse on everything from market research to risk management.

Equity investor Beringea sees a bright future for Popular Pays model of helping brands create content for social media. Beringea will invest US $5.5M investment in the Popular Plays platform that provides workflow management tools and integration with a community of content creators.

Consumers are snapping up smart speakers in the US faster than any other device since the smartphone, according to new research by eMarketer. Sales of smart speakers in the US are projected to increase by 47.9 percent between 2016 and 2020—from 16 million to 76.5 million units, eMarketer says.

Investors have ponied up US $20M in additional funds for Eyeview, the video technology company that personalizes video ads for TV, desktop, mobile and Facebook. Top brands using Eyeview’s technology-driven platform for creating one-to-one videos include Lowe’s, Walgreens, Honda, BMW and Uber.

Owners of so-called “smart TVs” connected to the internet are eight percent more likely to view a view an ad to its finish (38 percent), compared to mobile users (30 percent), according to a new report by Extreme Reach. The report looked at billions of video ad impressions in the second quarter of this year across multiple devices. The Video Completion Rate for desktop, mobile (smartphones) and tablets, all increased.

Initial success has propelled Pandora to expand its programmatic ad-buying service on its music platform. The platform is powered by AdsWizz which Pandora acquired this year. According to DMNews, 92 percent of Pandora’s audience is ad-supported, vs. 56 percent for Spotify.

A survey of 433 decision-makers in Europe and the US by Forrester Consulting showed that almost half plan to make major AI spends within the next year. eMarketer reports a YouAppi survey of 425 digital marketers globally found 36 percent reporting AI investments this year.

What: We talked to Ana Hoyos, area director at Meltwater Latin America, about the recent acquisition of Sysomos and what it means for the analysis of social media.
Why it matters: The social media landscape is changing at an accelerated pace; artificial intelligence is acquiring a prominent role and companies have to adapt to survive.

Meltwater’s Ana Hoyos

When Meltwater CEO Jørn Lyseggen started the company with a 15-thousand-dollar grant from the Norwegian government, little did he know that 18 years later he would be able to acquire a company like insights-driven social platform Sysomos. Now, this is Meltwater’s seventh acquisition in 18 months; a month ago it bought London-based social media analyst DataSift, and eight months ago it bought real-time data analytics app Algo. Meltwater is making serious efforts to become the market leader of both Social Analytics and Media Intelligence, and at Portada we talked to Ana Hoyos, director of Meltwater Latin America, to find out more about the details behind the acquisition and what’s next for Latin American markets.

Portada: What are the motivations behind Meltwater’s recent acquisitions? 

Ana Hoyos: “We’ve been spending a lot of time trying to find the right partners and the right acquisitions to do, and it’s all very strategic in terms of finding only the best content and the best artificial intelligence for this concept of “Outside Insight”, which is about being able to structure unstructured data. We as a company have been monitoring online news for many years, since 2001, and then we started adding different sections to that.

The plan is for us to continue helping our clients make decisions based on that information. We’re expanding a lot of our content on social media to be able to provide insights to all of our clients. The concept of our Outside Insight is to find insight from the outside, information that a company doesn’t have internally, but is really valuable to understand what is happening in either the traditional landscape or the social landscape. This information can include the latest industry trends, competitive intelligence, or anything that might shape their company in a different way and then be able to make decisions based on that.”

Portada: Why has Meltwater decided to acquire Sysomos?

A.H.: “Sysomos is a company that has been around for many years. They’ve been very strong since the beginning and we’re very excited to acquire them because we know that they have a lot of great content. That’s the main focus. We want to use as much as we can in terms of their content, talents, etc. to continue driving this vision of Outside Insight. The most important thing is we’re excited for the contents they already have. We see a ton of potential into integrating that content into everything else that we do, and especially because we feel like we have really strong artificial intelligence tools, and matching that with the content they have can lead to powerful results.”

Portada: What are the challenges in store for social media-analytics firms in view of the latest fake news and privacy concerns?

A.H.: “With the social media landscape evolving, some of these changes have exploded and taken a lot of room in the news, like the situation with Facebook… All of these things, in the end, are natural to the industry; we can assume they are going to happen because of the nature of this content. Of course it’s a challenge, because it’s an area and an industry that’s always adapting. For example, as soon as this Facebook situation happened we had to respond and immediately adapt our processes and internal communications to make sure that we knew exactly how to address this with our clients, and how to make sure we can monitor information for them in different ways.

We need to be very agile in terms of responding to any changes, but it’s not necessarily a concern because it’s something that is happening to everybody.

I can see that could continue to be a challenge, but what it means is we have to continue to be very adaptable. We need to be very agile in terms of responding to any changes, but it’s not necessarily a concern because it’s something that is happening to everybody. No player’s going to be at a disadvantage, we’ll just all have to adapt to the situation and ultimately the companies that adapt the quickest are the ones that are going to have an advantage in the market.”

Portada: What are Meltwater’s plans for Latin America?

A.H.: “We have a pretty good presence in Latin America. We have operations in Buenos Aires and now our main office is in São Paulo, Brazil. We work with all countries within Latin America; we have a Spanish-speaking team and a Portuguese-speaking team. This is a really big area of focus for us because we see a lot of potential, not only because the market is somewhat untapped for us, for example, in comparison to the U.S. where we have offices in every major city. This is what we want to accomplish in Latin America, we want to continue to grow and develop in this region, we’re very excited about the potential it has, we work with a lot of clients in Brazil, Mexico, Argentina, Colombia, so we have a lot of presence in the area already. The main country that we have in our view next to establish operations in is Mexico because we have a lot of great clients there.”

[People] want to educate themselves and really understand what is happening, what is next, especially in terms of social media.

Portada: What would you like to see happening next in social media analytics?

A.H.: “There are still many companies and in general people out there that don’t fully understand the importance of all this data, and of monitoring information outside their company and how vital it is for them to stay on top of the industry and the market and just really understand everything that’s happening inside their company. That is the first thing: I would love for people to be more involved and learn more about the subject and the concept of big data and artificial intelligence and how companies like Meltwater can really help them understand more about their company and give them a competitive advantage.

I think it’s starting to happen, I definitely see a change where people are excited about these topics, they want to educate themselves and really understand what is happening, what is next, especially in terms of social media. I’ve seen a big push on that front from a lot of companies and a lot of the people that we speak to in the industry. I definitely think the shift is already happening, but it needs to happen more because as these companies and these clients get more involved and learn about this, it will help the industry grow and continue to develop in the right direction.”

Portada: What would you say to people who are afraid of the speed at which AI is being integrated into a space like social media, which they trust with their personal information and interactions?

A.H.: “There’s always a lot of fear around artificial intelligence. People think about AI like the Sci-Fi movies that they see from Hollywood and start assuming things. There’s no reason to be scared as long as we’re able to adapt to the changes. The companies that are not able to adapt are the ones that are going to be in trouble. We’ve already seen examples, like online retailers that are taking a lot of the market shares and spaces of the companies that never moved onto the online arena, for example, ToysRUs, who just lost a lot of market share to competitors like Amazon. I think that is the most important lesson we can take from this, there’s no reason to be scared as long as you stay on top of everything, be curious and passionate about it, and then learn how to adapt to the changes and what the future is bringing. There’s definitely a lot of potential for us to make our lives better with this technology, be able to access information faster, understand things quicker…, it could add a lot of value to everybody.”

[Vignettes by Meltwater]

What: Media intelligence firm Meltwater has announced the acquisition of human data firm DataSift.
Why it matters: With its sixth acquisition in a year, Meltwater keeps solidifying its emergence as a leading provider of AI-driven intelligence.

At an interesting moment just after the news of Cambridge Analytics misusing Facebook data, Norway-born Meltwater has announced the acquisition of DataSift. “DataSift has built a scalable platform that lets developers build data science-driven insights from social firehoses while protecting the privacy of an individual’s data,” said Meltwater CEO and founder Jorn Lyseggen. “When combined with the data Meltwater captures and our AI capabilities, developers can disrupt the Business Intelligence space by either building new applications or complementing existing ones with unique signals that can be only derived from external data.”

Meltwater and DataSift have the partnerships, data and AI to serve the growing competitive intelligence market with advanced analytics. DataSift’s CEO Tim Barker and CTO Lorenzo Alberton, among others, have joined the Meltwater team and will add increased leadership bench strength to the development of the Outside Insight platform.

“We share the same vision and passion to increase access to the data and algorithms needed to gain strategic insights from data outside your business,” said DataSift CEO Tim Barker. “At a time when other tech companies are now trying to assemble proprietary ‘data moats,’ we’re excited about joining an established player to create an open data and insights platform–built on the foundation of privacy–for the world’s innovators, developers and data scientists.”

DataSift clients will now have access to Meltwater’s data platform, sophisticated AI models to extract insights, and gain an experienced partner with local expertise in more than 55 markets on six continents.

 

 

What: Media intelligence and data analytics company Meltwater has acquired Cosmify, a knowledge discovery platform that uses advanced machine learning technology.
Why it matters: The fifth deal in Meltwater’s ongoing M&A streak adds machine-learning, data-science experts to in-house machine learning team.

Meltwater, a global leader in media intelligence and data analytics, announced the acquisition of Cosmify, a knowledge discovery platform that uses advanced machine learning technology for in-depth analysis of corporate data sets. Cosmify’s technology will help Meltwater’s industry-leading platform intelligently manage the vast amounts of data from multiple sources that businesses need to make competitive decisions based on insights from the outside.

With its fifth acquisition in less than nine months, Meltwater is quickly building on its impressive data science engine aimed at offering the most innovative and dynamic media intelligence platform in the world. With 55 offices throughout six continents, Meltwater employs more than 1,500 employees and 50 percent of Fortune 500 companies use its services to shape business decisions.

Cosmify founder Eugene Ciurana and chairman Bart Swanson launched their first machine learning company, Summly, with 16-year old founder and Oxford student Nick D’Aloisio, and sold it to Yahoo for $30 million in  2013. In 2014, the team, with co-founders Dr. Ana Nelson, Connor Goodwolf, and Sriram Krishnan, launched Cosmify. Bart Swanson of Horizons VenturesMuleSoft founder Ross Mason, and CA Technologies VP of Engineering Leonid Igolnik are part of the advisory board.

Now, after selling two companies in four years, the team is joining Meltwater’s push to build the largest AI-driven data repository in the world, giving companies a competitive edge by allowing them to leverage insights from  external data when making business decisions

“The best business decisions are based on forward-looking data. Today external data on the open internet is one of the most important sources for forward-looking information,” says Jorn Lyseggen, CEO and founder of Meltwater. “Cosmify’s advanced discovery, clustering, and classification capabilities will enhance Meltwater’s ability to connect the dots between a wide range of data types from internal and external data and ultimately help business leaders make more informed decisions.”

“95% of all data is unstructured and unwieldy, but it also contains a vast trove of unexploited value,” says Eugene Ciurana, CEO and Founder of Cosmify.  “Our unsupervised learning system extracts knowledge from internal and external, unstructured data sources like PDFs, free-text, spreadsheets, media files, presentations, cloud drives, calendars, or chat systems – most often hitting on valuable information nuggets that eluded the very users who produced them.”

“Cosmify’s knowledge discovery engine analyzes customers’ very large and dynamic data lakes to produce vectorized information, and when fed into our existing Data Science platform, automates generation of highly customized outside insights – all without having to import their internal data into our systems,” says Aditya Jami, Senior Director of Engineering & Head of AI at Meltwater.

The acquisition of Cosmify comes on the heels of several key acquisitions for Meltwater that have broadened its global footprint and cemented the company’s commitment to data science and machine learning. Meltwater recently announced its plans to acquire Canada’s Infomart, followed closely by Hong Kong-based social big data SaaS solution Klarity. Earlier this year, it acquired Oxford University spinout, Wrapidity, to add AI-based crawling to Meltwater’s platform and last year, Meltwater acquired Encore Alerts, a US-based data science driven media monitoring company.

Meltwater is actively seeking investment opportunities and partnerships to continue expanding its media intelligence services globally, with a strong emphasis on data science.

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