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Ground Signal: 91 Percent Of Social Posts Are Missing Location Info

The Influencer-focused startup aims to find ‘undiscoverable’ Tweets and Instagrams — and ground them in specific locations for contextual geo-targeting.

Location-based audience platform Ground Signal is offering brands a different way to “listen in” on the millions of social media posts and conversations occurring in real-time: By aggregating and analyzing content based around location coordinates instead of tags or keywords, the startup is able to provide insight on countless “undiscoverable” posts that marketers might otherwise never see.

“91 percent of social posts don’t contain a keyword, an ‘@’ mention, or a hashtag,” says Tony Longo, CEO and co-founder of Ground Signal, which is first B2B offering out of R&D holding company, CO Everywhere. Since these posts therefore can’t be searched by conventional means — hashtags or keywords — “there’s a huge void of content being produced on a property that’s undiscoverable to a brand.”

While Ground Signal only emerged from stealth last month, some massive brands are already on board. The company is currently in a trial period with Coca-Cola, and it counts Marriott Hotels as client.

Ground Signal aggregates data from all major social networks — Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare, Instagram, etc. — and then compiles and packages it for the brands it serves. Longo notes, though, that a unique aspect of the company isn’t just that it culls information based on coordinates; it’s that it analyzes the post itself and the poster, creating a profile that matches a user to all of his or her other social accounts and logs home city, major interests, number of followers, and other information — all of which is then stored based on location.

“The question that these brands are asking is ‘who [exactly] is on my property, and what are they doing at scale?’” Longo says. Brands can then use this information to understand past customers, influence real-time marketing (who is present now?), and adjust future efforts.

Screen Shot 2015-06-11 at 2.24.39 PM
A map of a location in South Beach and culled images.

The New ROI: Return On Influencers

One interesting application of Ground Signal is its ability to help brands find social media “influencers,” and then cater to them accordingly.

“I describe it as one-to-one influencer marketing at scale,” Longo says. Clients can use the platform to receive real-time notifications when, for example, an Instagram user with 10,000 followers or more shares a post on their property. A hotel could then upgrade the room of this guest with particular social influence, or comp them a meal — all with the goal of inspiring them to share more (and more positive) content about the property.

It’s a solid bet, particularly for reaching millennials and the emerging Gen-Z — most of who are incredibly socially minded and more likely to look to “tastemakers” with large social followings for purchase inspiration.

Longo says research indicates that the ROI for spending on “Influencers” is $6.85 on the dollar. “One-to-one ‘influencer marketing’ is something we’ll [definitely be focusing on] in 2016,” he adds.

Building Better Audiences

At its core, Ground Signal is really about anchoring nebulous social sharing in concrete locations in the real world. With its ability to both find ‘undiscoverable’ posts and gather relevant data on posters, the company seems primed to help marketers understand what truly makes places unique and refine their targeting accordingly.

“We’re bringing all the data together in one place,” Longo says, “so that brands can make [informed] audience decisions.”

About The Author
Lauryn Chamberlain Lauryn Chamberlain @laurynchamberla

Lauryn Chamberlain is the Associate Editor of GeoMarketing.com. A New York City based journalist, she specializes in stories related to retail, dining, hospitality, and travel.