Twitter acquired the Portland, Oregon-based startup LuckySort yesterday, a company known for its ability to crunch huge amounts of texts to identify and visualize topics and trends. The company will be shutting down its product and moving its staff to San Francisco where they will join Twitter's "Department of Revenue Engineering." Its a move that shows Twitter focused on building a data driven business where advertisers can leverage the real time conversation.
Luckysort built a product called TopicWatch, a text-mining application used for analyzing large volumes of content in order to find emergent patterns in live text streams. According to Crunchbase "TopicWatch equips analysts to explore and dissect the Big Picture by visualizing news, comments, and social media. It transforms the burden of text overload into an opportunity for insightful and actionable information."
"Transforms the burden of text overload into an opportunity for insight."
Reading between the lines, Luckysort's team will help the brands who advertise on Twitter to find the best angles for real time marketing. Unlike Facebook, which pushes personalized "stories" that look and feel like posts from your friends, Twitter is turning to a much more traditional broadcast model of advertising. During live events like the presidential election, Superbowl, and Oscars, Twitter has become the center of a massive real time conversation.
Twitter acquired Bluefin Labs to help it prove out how big this opportunity is and advertisers are eager to tap into the huge collection of engaged eyeballs, but striking while the iron is hot can be tough. Oreo managed to score a major win with a quick-witted tweet during the Superbowl blackout, but finding the right angle isn't always so obvious. TopicWatch provides a visual way to dig into what's trending in the massive volumes of text flying around Twitter. Before being acquired by Twitter, it was leveraged as a way to pick stocks.
Twitter recently scored a big commitment from Starcom to spend $200 million on ads over the next two years, which included "special access to advertising slots, as well as research data and new, as-yet-unannounced advertising products." A company like LuckySort will help Twitter find those special opportunities for clients, as well as lots of ammo on the research and data front.
Sources familiar with Twitter's IPO plans say the company is wary of going public at the wrong moment, and hopes to time its offering to a sustained period of growth in its advertising billings. Adding LuckySort to its department of revenue engineering is likely part of that plan.