PM360: Why did you decide to make this offering free?
Malcolm Bohm: We’ve found that clients and potential clients still don’t know what to do with this data—which consists of consumers talking about their health online. So over the last two years, we focused on how companies can make this data work. We’ve written playbooks for that. We know how to build social communities; to serve digital surveys; do lead gen programs; build up databases; support launches; etc. The barrier to entry through the data shouldn’t be the barrier. It should be absolutely available to you.
So rather than focus on selling you data—and then waiting for you to make your mind up on what to do with it—we can give you access to the data out of the gates. And when I say free access, I mean it.
How will brand marketers be able to access this data?
They can contact Liquid Grids and go through a signup process. That essentially gives them access to a navigation tool on their web browser. The data includes access to six months’ worth of Twitter and Google data as well as 12 months’ worth of historical Facebook data.
We structure the data into approximately 50 disease grids, covering 1,000 primary diagnoses. For each, you can look at the information from a clinical perspective—what procedures, diagnoses symptoms, or treatments people are talking about—as well as the severity of the disease, what emotional terms people are using, and who the post is actually about.
Then you can see the demographic layers such as gender, time of the post, location, etc. Using a series of filters, users can also get down to individual posts. So there’s a qualitative layer in which they can actually start to directly inspect the sentiment of individual documents.
What makes your social listening platform unique?
On December 23, 2015, Liquid Grids got an early Christmas present: The U.S. Patent Office awarded us a patent for social listening, plus analytics, plus engagement. That’s what makes us different—the capability to develop and publish advertising campaigns directly from our platform into the communities that you’re listening to. While marketers can still search what people are saying about brands or certain disease categories, on the other side of our platform is the realization that social listening plus analytics can lead to engagements and ROI.
Do people still have misperceptions about social listening?
Off-label discussions and adverse event reporting issues still worry people. But we have noted time and again: The number of specific brand mentions is less than 2% of all dialogue. The number of adverse events that are reportable, according to the FDA criteria, are less than 2% of that 2%.
So brand sentiment is a very small component of social listening?
A few years ago everybody ran after brand sentiment analysis—that burned itself out quickly. It’s still being done, of course, but the real challenge: What can you do with all of this diverse textual data available? We believe the primary navigation and access to this information—whether unstructured or structured—should not be a barrier to entry for the industry any longer. Ultimately, it’s great data to start to understand.