Reach to Revenue: Social ROI

Reach to Revenue, a Webinar on Social ROI

FB banner (hootsuite & CS)

Earlier today, our Co-Founder & COO, Prerna Pant, spoke at a webinar with Alison Ng (Regional Account Executive at Hootsuite APAC) and Meredith Wallace (Head of Social & Digital at M&C Saatchi). These three accomplished women discussed how to measure and prove the value of your investment in social.

If you missed it, don’t worry. Here’s a quick ten-pointer list of what was talked about!

What did we learn about Social ROI from the talk?

1. According to a dipstick survey, 66% of respondents currently do not measure Social ROI.

2. 42% of respondents are unsure how to go about measuring and proving Social ROI.

3. Measuring social ROI can help to make or save money, or mitigate risk. Or better yet, all three at once.

4. Use the 3-step framework for simplicity:

Social ROI Framework

5. Not all Social ROI is created equal. Not every single metric like the number of followers could be important to you.

6. Proving Social ROI is not one-off, it changes day to day.

7. Be flexible! Change your approach based on results and insights as needed.

8. Customer-centric is not a buzzword, it’s integral to social and digital success.

9. Look at Social ROI from beyond a sales perspective, but as a way to find customer insights.

10. Always contextualize data. Half the battle is asking the right questions.

We hope that was a useful list!

If you have any other questions about Social ROI, don’t hesitate to tweet us @CircusSocial or leave a comment below.

Finding Content Opportunities during the Demonetization Crisis

On the day India’s Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, declared the currency demonetization, the country witnessed a mixed reaction from its people. The very next day, the whole country was in turmoil and rushed to exchange these notes from banks and their ATMs, – only to find that banks and ATMs were struggling to meet these suddenly increased demands. Widespread chaos ensued across the nation and hundreds of thousands of people were adversely affected, most evidently the lower strata including farmers, daily wage earners, middle class and SME’s. Even large corporates were forced to shut operations for multiple days and lay off hundreds of employees. Other incidents representative of the impact of demonetization were the endless long queues of harried, starving and deprived men and women in front of ATMs and banks, once flourishing street stalls and shops, now a deserted scene.
Demonetization and Narendra Modi
The decision made by PM Modi to demonetize 86% of the notes in circulation was one that was initiated with various interests in mind. The one thing that it has undoubtedly successfully accomplished, is that of the widescale adoption of digital payments technology by Indians of all strata, nationwide.

In the wake of this massive push towards digital payments technology and moving towards a cashless, economy in India- one of our payments solutions clients saw this as a great opportunity to leverage their presence and services. The global payments company sought to identify more growth opportunities for their business and to increase share and adoption of its digital payments solutions. At such an opportune time, in order for it to reach out to this massive audience, it was extremely crucial to identify and understand the voice of public opinion, thoughts and issues surrounding this new loss of currency. An understanding of what the masses felt, what were their pain points and issues, could help the brand provide a solution in the form of its services which at its core was all about going cashless and embracing digital means of payments.

This is where 20/Twenty, our proprietary social intelligence and listening platform, helped the brand achieve insight and clear view into the opinions, thoughts and trends of the consumers moving to digital payments in India. A continued study of competition has also helped the brand keep a close tab on competitors as well as payment wallet solution providers’ activities of interest.

We at Circus Social, leveraged data from 20/Twenty to deliver daily insight reports which informed the brand of key developments and areas of opportunity with the following assessments –

• Consumer sentiments towards demonetization
• Identification of pain points of consumers as well as SME’s
• Tracking various campaign efforts of the government and competitors to learn what worked and resonated
• Tracking daily updates of other e-wallet companies like Paytm, MobiKwik etc.
• Measuring and categorizing different types of consumer engagement
• Identifying key influencers

The client also leveraged our social listening platform to get daily automated alerts when there were key issues being discussed, changes in consumer sentiment as well as growing trends. Alerts were based on keywords and consumer sentiments, when they reached a particular threshold the client received a notification. These e-mail alerts helped our client to be alerted to new and important updates and changes around India’s demonetization fiasco. With the help of 20/Twenty, the team was able to tap into the pulse of the masses and understand their sentiment on the whole demonetization drive.

Here are some of the interesting trends and insights from this crucial period:

• Over a period of two months’ people have understood that downloading an e-wallet app to pay bills is very convenient. Hence, adoption has been quick and easy with people using their e-wallets for to pay almost everything now including mobile bills/recharge, utility bills, cab bookings, movie tickets, etc.
• Post demonetization, e-wallet companies like Paytm, MobiKwik and FreeCharge have seen a huge surge in their daily transactions like never before. Paytm, MobiKwik, FreeCharge have already been in the overdrive to reach out to small traders to commence transactions on their platform. From running full-page ads in newspapers to making their presence felt on TV and digital, Paytm, FreeCharge, MobiKwik etc. are focusing on educating the consumers, expanding their user base and promoting cashless transactions.
• Moreover, since a lot of merchants don’t have card readers for debit/credit transactions, they have started to accept e-wallets as a mode of payment.
• Despite the positive developments post demonetization there still exists a section of people who are unhappy with PM’s decision of currency ban as they are forced to stand in long ques to withdraw their own cash. Also there are shops which still don’t accept any form of e-payment
• Infrastructure still a problem as its unable to cope with demands for new cash. ATMs are constantly out of cash and long queues till the wee hours of the morning persist resulting in severe consequences for consumers with them unable to pay and support their day-to-day consumption.
Whether or not India will benefit from the demonetization drive is still a big question mark but Mr. Modi’s demonetization initiative has definitely been a boon for India’s e-payment providers and they definitely have right future.
The future of e-payment providers:
• The future seems to be extremely strong. Smaller restaurants, vegetable venders are now open to accepting e-wallet payment, some merchants do not accept credit/debit cards but are now accepting e-wallet transactions.
• There has been a constant increase in the number of electronic transactions since demonetization started. Out of the 700 million debit card users in the country, 450 million earlier used the facility only at ATMs. Now, they are swiping cards at PoS (point-of-sale) terminals. This is encouraging for a move to a cashless economy.
• E-wallet transactions are convenient as these are conducted through mobile phones with internet connection.
• This is the time, for Digital Wallet Companies to grow further and be the next way of growth because people are moving towards digital life by accessing internet facility to their life.
Demonetization Memes

So far so positive, but what could hold back this trend?
Having specified the benefits of electronic payment system, it is necessary to mention its drawbacks:
• Restrictions: Each payment system has certain restrictions regarding the maximum amount in the account, the number of transactions per day and the withdrawal amount.
• The risk of being hacked: As more and more people download and figure out how to use mobile wallets such as MobiKwik, FreeCharge or Paytm, there is also increasing concern over the security of transactions on these apps. If one follows the security rules the threat is lesser. Most reputed wallets adhere to all RBI security specifications and also have extra layers of security. However, most wallet apps only require a simple click for its operation. So, if you lose your phone, whoever finds it has control of your wallet. Only thing which may save you is a PIN or fingerprint protection when you send or transfer money. Though all apps are inherently safe, or as safe as your bank account, there are a few things a user has to do to ensure the financial information or money on their phones is not misused.
• The problem of transferring money between different payment systems. Usually the majority of electronic payment systems do not cooperate with each other. In this case, you have to use the services of e-currency exchange, and it can be time-consuming if you still do not have a trusted service for this purpose.
• The lack of anonymity. The information about all the transactions, including the amount, time and recipient are stored in the database of the payment system. And it means the intelligence agency has an access to this information.
• The necessity of Internet access. If Internet connection fails, you cannot get to your online account.
In general, the advantages of electronic payment system outweigh its disadvantages and they have bigger opportunities comparing with ones of traditional wire transfers.

Check out how the 20/Twenty Social Monitoring platform has grown!

Growth of 20/Twenty Social Monitoring & Intelligence Platform – Under the Hood

Growth of 20/Twenty Social Monitoring & Intelligence Platform – Under the Hood

We have often been asked about the challenges we faced in scaling up our technology stack to manage big data. I have attempted to address this in this post which is the first of a series of blog posts on this and similar topics.

20/Twenty was created ground-up as the most intuitive and easy to use cloud based (SaaS) Social Monitoring & Intelligence platform in the world.   Based on our deep understanding of what marketers needed and the awesome designs we created, we signed up our first client even before the product was officially launched. The pressure to quickly deliver the first version of the product was intense 🙂

From an engineering point of view, there’s a huge amount of data that we pull (Think Big Data!), process, augment and then visualize in the platform all on a near real-time basis. Imagine someone tweeting and it appears on our platform within a few seconds along with augmented information including Gender, Sentiment, Engagement, Spam score etc.

The evolution of 20/Twenty has already seen a few stages of growth. The graph below shows how 20/Twenty data has grown over the last 2 years since our product launch. This is a really cool growth for a startup like Circus Social both from a business perspective as well as from an engineering standpoint. We used several tricks from the books as well as a few practical hacks to ensure our ability to fetch, process, augment and visualize high volumes of data continued to become better, though this journey was not without pain!

social-intelligence-20twenty-big-data-growth

 

Stage 1

We created over 200 custom marketing applications in our previous avatar at Circus Social working with some of the biggest brands in the world. We used the same open source technologies (PHP / MySQL) to create the first version of 20/Twenty. This worked well and as our data grew in the first few months, we continued to grow vertically by adding more capacity (CPU/RAM).

Most of the queries from the application were read queries whereas a bulk of “write operations” were being performed by our data crawlers. We therefore created an efficient master-slave architecture where the application would read from the slaves and the crawler scripts would write into the master. This worked well in general but the exponential increase in the volume of data meant that certain queries were running extremely slow and impacting the user experience.

Stage 2

Since our data volume was growing exponentially and the relational aspects of the database were not the core of our application, we realized that sooner or later, we would have to move to a NoSQL database. However, the performance issues that were cropping up had to be sorted quickly and without a downtime. We quickly realized that we needed a dedicated search engine and MySQL was not good enough for this purpose.

We explored several options and Elasticsearch came to our rescue here. Elasticsearch is a distributed, RESTful search and analytics engine that centrally stores your data in a manner which can be retrieved / read really fast by your applications. Our awesome tech team deployed this in a matter of days. The improvement in performance was remarkable. The plan worked and we cheered!

Stage 3

Word spread in Singapore and Asia about how good our platform was (and our sales team did a good job too!) and we continued to sign up new clients. The volume of data continued to grow for existing clients as well as new clients. The tech stack of MySQL and ElasticSearch did not let us down but we wanted to create an architecture that would scale infinitely, if there’s a thing like that.

In Stage 3, we moved the core of our database from MySQL to Cassandra (Elasticsearch was now interacting with Cassandra) and the backend code from PHP to Node.js. We also migrated most of our front end code to Angular.js for better performance. This was a major architectural change on a live application being used by several clients so we created a parallel production like environment and ran it parallelly for several weeks to ensure everything was working as desired before switching over.

While we did the above, we continued to work on cool new features on the product and opened up our data API’s to a few clients who wanted a deeper integration with their own applications. Other tools we used during this and other stages were Postman, Github and JIRA.

As we scale further from here, we will probably have newer and more exciting technology challenges and we will keep posting about them. If you are excited to work on some of these, do write to us at careers@circussocial.com