I watch the weather forecast almost every night and now I’m noticing something I’m loathe to admit: They’re getting better at it.
Unruly, the worldwide social video advertising platform, is trying the same trick by launching Unruly ShareRank, purported to be an algorithmic tool that will tell marketers and advertisers the “shareability” of their latest message. It claims ShareRank has an 80% accuracy rate, which in a business as fickle as advertising seems impressive.
Developed by the Unruly Social Video Lab, the company says it uses proprietary social tracking technology that has data from 300 billion video streams collected over the last seven years. It matches that with field research from the Ehrenberg-Bass Institute for Marketing Science based in Australia, and analysis of emotional and social reactions and motivations gleaned from consumer panels.
I don’t doubt Unruly could come up with pretty reliable variables for messages that nobody wants to share—I think that seems pretty easy, to tell you the truth. But doing it on a more positive scale is a trickier business.
Unruly’s not the only company that claims to have an inside track on what works—in fact, proclaiming you’ve got the magic effective advertising pill is kind of the underbelly of the whole advertising business, isn’t it?
What sets Unruly somewhat apart from some is that its ShareRank is not a predictor of views, but of shares. What you watch and what you’ll share are two different things.
That’s based on Unruly’s unflagging belief that the mere process of viewing a video shared with you increases the enjoyment by 14% and that the purchase intent increases by 97% when the viewers like what they see. That’s the figure Unruly cites. What’s more, it says recall of a shared ad is 73%, five percentage points more than a video ad you arrive at by yourself. In short, Unruly is pretty much sold on ads that can and will be shared and ZenithOptimedia is now using the Unruly ShareRank algorithm, apparently at least intrigued and also convinced the algorithm works.
The Unruly ShareRank is based in part on what it knows from the company’s Viral Video Chart which, as the name says, tracks ads and video content that is getting passed around a lot. ShareRank adds to that viewer response from panels and its research with academics and others.
The company, with offices all over the world, says it can account for regional or national quirks that make many people respond negatively or positively to a person, a situation or whatever—psychological, social and content triggers. The final ShareRank is based on data gleaned from the viral chart and over 10,000 bits of viewer response information. Ads that go through the Unruly machine are tested with a representative online audience of 150 people, and 100 people from the brand’s specific target crowd.
Still, Unruly says, some ads will won’t be very amply shared; that’s because the advertiser has a limited budget or distributed the ad to the wrong target group. And Unruly’s FAQ document also notes that a low ShareRank doesn’t mean it’s a bad ad—it’s just one that nobody wants to pass around.