Super Bowl Ads: Winners and Losers

“Changing History” With Keyword Exclusions

By Eric Swayne on March 26, 2014

One of the ways we help our customers listen smarter here is in how we treat their data.  We treat anything our customers tell us to gather via our platform as extremely valuable, because it’s the aggregate of this data that enables powerful insights – concepts that don’t just tell a brand their “vital signs,” but empower business decisions.

It’s that mindset that led us to create the “Not Relevant” button in our Content Browser. This gives users a way to remove social data from their campaign, not by deleting it completely, but essentially putting it in the “recycle bin.” We remove results marked “Not Relevant” from all stats and visualizations, but those posts aren’t gone completely. If needed, pulling these post back into a campaign is as simple as removing the “Not Relevant” tag. Again – data never disappears or is deleted.

All those features have been around for quite some time, but our customers have recently asked a new question: “When I add a new Campaign Exclusion, can you guys automate the whole ‘Not Relevant’ tagging process for me across my entire campaign history?”

Why yes. Yes we can!

I’m excited to announce our latest feature, Retroactive Campaign Exclusions. What’s great about this is, again, we’re not throwing away any data, just removing it from view. This is a pretty powerful feature, so we’re rolling it out progressively across our user base after this announcement publishes. Let me take you on a brief tour of how it works:



Once this feature is active for you, you’ll notice this “Apply to Campaign History” button appear within the Exclusion Filters section of your Campaign Admin. When you click on that button, the platform will take all current exclusion filters, and apply them to the entire data set within that campaign – all the way back to the first post ever collected. This will only apply to the campaign you’re editing – not to any other campaigns, not to your MutualMind site.

Of course, this set of Exclusions doesn’t match any results, so when you hit the “Apply…” button, we give you a friendly notice:



So, let’s add an exclusion for the keyword “hamster”, which (surprisingly) does match some results:



You’ll note here we give you a count of how many results this matches, whether they’ve been marked “Not Relevant” or not. That’s to give you an overall sense of what you’re excluding – to take a closer look at what would actually affect your stats, use that “click here” link to open a Content Browser window and see exactly what you’ll be excluding.

If you like what you see, click “OK,” and you’ll be asked one more time, just to make sure:



From here, if you click “OK,” you will kick off the exclusion process.  We’ll let you know that we’ve started it, and we’ll also email you when we’re done:

request being processed




Some retroactive exclusions take longer than others, simply depending on the amount of content being processed.  In my tests, even for very large exclusions, I’ve only seen these take 5-10 minutes.  While we’re processing a retroactive exclusion request you can enter new Exclusions, but the campaign history button will be disabled until we’re done with the most recent batch:



Once the whole process is complete, you’ll see these results removed from any searches within your Content browser, and they’ll be removed from stats once they refresh.

We hope you’ll enjoy this feature, and find it useful for pulling out spam results from your campaign history.  As always, feel free to email me if you have any questions!

Introducing Our New Keyword Syntax Tree!

By Eric Swayne on March 16, 2014

Ah, Keyword Analytics. Analysts that have been using social listening tools with boo lean keyword logic for some time can tell you: this is easily one of the banes of our existence. The devil is in the details: swap out one “OR” for an “AND” accidentally, and you have a drastically different set of results, often with many of them being irrelevant. And, when you’re focused on your monthly mentions usage, having a rogue keyword can be more than annoying – it can be downright dangerous.

When I worked on the Agency side putting these queries together, I would often recommend to my teams to come up with a spreadsheet, so you can keep all the clauses of this complex Boolean argument straight. Despite our best efforts we would almost always see something get turned around, and have to correct our data sets as a result. So I presented this problem to our Development team, and as they’ve done so time and time again, they blew me away with an elegant solution!

So I’m happy to say that last month, we rolled out to our entire user base what they came up with: a visualization we call the Keyword Syntax Tree.  You’ll find it when you’re entering Advanced keywords into your campaign, showing up right underneath the usual Keyword Validator. How does it work? As you type, we’re constantly checking what you’ve written to make sure it’s properly formed Boolean syntax, and as you complete valid clauses, the Keyword Tree renders what you’ve created in an unique visualization. For example, here’s a simple “OR” statement:


 You’ll notice how we’re using both color and labels to visually describe to you the relationship between these two words, and how the colors in the Tree match back with those in the Validator.  Now, watch what happens when I add an “AND” operator:


This time, the Tree has switched both colors and labels to show me the “AND”, and how it interacts with the “OR.” You’ll notice something else immediately – since I haven’t added parenthesis, the platform is honoring these operators in standard Boolean order.  So in this case, it matches phrases that either contain “joe” and “jim”, or those containing “bob.” If I add parenthesis, you’ll see a different visualization:


See the difference?  This time, it’s matching phrases that include “joe” AND “bob” or “jim.” Small addition, but totally different results.  This Tree visualization works for “NOT” operators as well:


You’ll note how it’s honoring the Boolean operator “OR” I have within the “NOT” clause, and labeling that node with its correct color, but all of these branches are red because they’re all within a “NOT.”

We’ve already heard from customers that this is helping them to create smarter queries, and eliminating hours of tracking down where one phrase went wrong.  In fact, I found it extremely helpful myself when building queries for our upcoming SXSW Parties study:


Having a visualization like this just makes complex queries incredibly easy, and gives you a powerful visual check to make sure the “shape” of what you’re asking for is correct.

We hope you’ll enjoy the Keyword Syntax Tree yourself! As always, feel free to drop me a line if you have any questions!

Are You Sure You Are Solving a Problem?

By Babar Bhatti on February 18, 2014

This is a guest post by Sean Byrnes. Sean is a startup veteran, co-founder and most recently CTO of Flurry and board member of MutualMind.

“So, what’s your idea?”

If you’ve ever talked about starting a company, that is the first question you always hear. It’s a simple question, but implies that companies are built from ideas – moments of inspiration where you see something no one else has seen. In reality, that is almost never true. Almost every kind of business model has been tried at some point in history. With 7 billion people on Earth, chances are that there are a few people with the same ideas that you have.

What, then, are great companies built on? There are billion-dollar companies being started right now, somewhere, by someone who is most definitely not a billionaire yet. What is their secret?

Great businesses are built by solving problems. A problem is the difference between what a person wants/needs and what they can get today. Some example problems and the companies that were built to solve them:

  • I can’t find anything on the internet. Google
  • I don’t have time to stay in touch with my friends. Facebook
  • I can’t figure out how to file my taxes by myself. Intuit

Even video game companies are solving a problem – they help you avoid being bored and make you happy. Some of these might not seem like problems because they have been solved so well by these companies, but if that company disappeared the problem would reappear. Not all problems are created equal, as problems can range from minor inconvenience to life threatening. You can often tell the difference by understanding how much a person is willing to pay to make the problem go away. For example, someone might be willing to pay $0.99 for a mobile game to entertain them for a few hours, but they would pay thousands of dollars for a new chair that relieves their back pain.

Almost all problems have solutions that already exist but can be improved. For example, in the early days of the internet the biggest problem was how to find anything. Yahoo solved this problem with their directory. Then Alta Vista, et al, solved the problem more effectively with search engines. Then Google solved the problem even more effectively with a more advanced search engine. I expect sometime soon that there will be an even better solution, continuing the cycle of solution improvement and company creation.

If you can solve a difficult problem in a way that is cheaper, easier or better than existing solutions then you create value and can make money. The more acute the problem and the more valuable the solution the more money you can make in solving the problem.

But wait, you say, what about Snapchat and Facebook? They were started by teenagers and solve no obvious problems, yet have become huge! Well, the irony of life is that you don’t need to be aware of a problem (or how big it is) in order to solve it. In many cases, companies that are overnight successes hit upon problems that no one else was aware were problems (or that could be solved). No one understood a huge problem with existing social networks until Snapchat provided an alternative, surprising even the Snapchat team themselves. You can get lucky in this way, but it’s rare.

Starting from a problem provides a very useful framework for focusing your business as you grow. By always starting from the problem:

  • It is easier to formulate your marketing messages and sales pitch. Instead of trying to explain what your company does, you can explain the problem and how you solve it.
  • It is easier to identify your key customer segments by ranking potential customers by how much they suffer from the problem. You can avoid a lot of wasted time in exploring various customer segments.
  • It is easier to measure your performance by choosing metrics that indicate how well you are solving the problem. If you are trying to save people money on buying cars but the average customer only saves $5, then you are not effective in your business.

After you choose your problem, I suggest posting it somewhere prominently in your office. Reminding everyone on your team, day in and day out, what problem you are solving will bring focus to everything you do.

So, what problem are you solving?

This post originally appeard at Sean’s blog, “Sean On Startups.”

Social Engagement Center at IBM Connect

By Babar Bhatti on February 5, 2014

As social business matures, it creates exciting new engagement opportunities for customers, employees and partners. Forward-looking ompanies are leveraging this phoenomenon to reinvigorate their products and to engage their stakeholders. IBM has been a major proponent and adopter of social business. IBM Connect is a major event for showcasing social software and technologies. For this year’s IBM Connect, Social Engagement Center was one of the main attractions.


The Social Engagement Center at Connect demonstrated the power of a sophisticatd analytics engine, flexible and easy-to-setup views, eye-catching visualizations and the ability to integrate enterprise data alongwith social. Kudos to the MutualMind team that made it happen.

We also had the opportunity to support a very interesting competition: The annual “App Throwdown.” This was a competion among startups who had integrated with IBM products. This compeition took place on the big stage of third day’s opening general session. App Throwdown winners were selected based on “social votes” from the audience and MutualMind provided the results using its real-time analytics. Sandy Carter, GM of Ecosystem, was on stage to announce the winner. Watch the video of the event – MutualMind is mentioned at 1:09.


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