×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Viacom to Track Emotional Responses to Social Ads, Content

Media conglomerate taps startup Canvs, which segments user comments into 56 emotion-based categories

For years, media companies have been trying to assess the reaction to their content and advertising among social-media users in a quantitative way. But they’ve been frustrated with the limited capabilities of “sentiment analysis” tools that capture only general positive or negative attitudes — with questionable accuracy.

Now Viacom thinks it’s finally found a buzz-monitoring tool for social chatter that’s “on fleek.” The media conglomerate’s Velocity integrated marketing and creative content arm has teamed with technology startup Canvs, which categorizes social-media comments into 56 emotional categories and uses a dictionary of 4 million words and phrases keyed into millennial slang and social-media shorthand.

“One component that we didn’t have fully fleshed out was sentiment — we knew it was fraught with a lot of issues; it’s a hard thing to analyze,” said Lydia Daly, VP of Viacom Velocity. “It’s as much an art as a science.”

After testing the Canvs system for several months, starting with the 2015 MTV Video Music Awards, Viacom is now updating its Echo Social Graph product to include Canvs’ emotional analysis to deliver real-time insights to marketing partners about the consumer impact of their campaigns across five platforms: Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, YouTube and Instagram. “The test has proven to us that this works, down to the exact tweet,” Daly said.

The project is part of Viacom’s overall efforts to tap into data and analytics to better adapt to changing viewing habits.

Canvs’ database accounts for deliberate misspellings and jargon such as “bae” and “on fleek” (favorable expressions), and can interpret words that have double meanings, such as “sick.” The 56 Canvs categories are nuanced, with categories including “trippy,” “awkward,” “boring,” “enough said,” “goosebumps,” “guilty pleasure,” and “mindblown.” According to Canvs founder and CEO Jared Feldman, the startup’s tool can find “love” expressed in 30,000 different ways on social media.

“We have the first accurate measure of how people are feeling online,” Feldman said. “Traditional sentiment analysis of good/bad/indifferent doesn’t adhere to emotional constructs. We are trying to capture a wider range of emotions, and what we found was there needs to be a human involved in the (analysis) process at some point.”

Canvs has about 30 customers, including Sony Pictures Television, StarcomMediaVest Group, NBCUniversal, CAA and UTA. The New York-based company, formed in mid-2014, last week announced that it had closed $5.6 million in Series A financing round led by KEC Ventures with participation from Rubicon Ventures, Gary Vaynerchuk and BRaVe Ventures, Social Starts and Milestone Venture Partners.

Canvs receives its Twitter data from Nielsen, which captures tweets about TV programs three hours before, during and three hours after an episode’s initial broadcast. Nielsen also has formed a partnership with Facebook to track social data about TV shows.

Viacom will share details on the Canvs partnership at Viacom Velocity’s third annual roadshow for clients and brands starting this week in New York, Chicago and Los Angeles. “Every advertiser ever wants to know if their ads are resonating with consumers,” Feldman said.

More Digital

  • Google Stadia is a Net Neutrality

    Google Stadia is a Net Neutrality Nightmare

    At the Game Developers Conference (GDC) this year, Google announced that it has taken up the long and ever-lengthening dream of the video game streaming service. Meant to replace the hefty, pricey, altogether confounding experience of buying and using various gaming hardware, Google Stadia will run video games on Google’s own hardware in a server [...]

  • crunchyroll logo

    Crunchyroll Raises Subscription Price to $7.99

    AT&T-owned anime subscription video service Crunchyroll is raising its monthly subscription price from $6.95 to $7.99 a month, it announced in an email to members Friday. It’s the service’s first price increase ever, according to a spokesperson. The new pricing will go into effect on May 1 for new subscribers, while existing members will see [...]

  • StyleHaul

    StyleHaul Shuts Down U.S. Operations, Lays Off About 65 Employees

    The axe is falling on StyleHaul: The fashion, beauty and lifestyle digital media and marketing company owned by RTL Group is shuttering U.S. operations, resulting the layoff of around 65 employees. StyleHaul offices in L.A., with about 55 employees, and in New York City, with around 10 staffers, are closing. RTL said StyleHaul’s U.K. operations, [...]

  • Bandsintown Platform Acquires Hypebot, MusicThinkTank

    Bandsintown Platform Acquires Hypebot, MusicThinkTank

    Bandsintown, a leading platform for letting music fans know about upcoming concerts by their favorite artists, has acquired Hypebot, a news site publishing stories about the music industry and technology, and its sister site MusicThinkTank. “I’m proud to share that Hypebot and MusicThinkTank have been acquired by Bandsintown,” wrote Bruce Houghton, the founder of the [...]

  • Star-Wars-The-Clone-Wars

    Netflix Will Lose Disney's 'Star Wars: The Clone Wars,' James Bond Movies in April 2019

    More Disney content is about to roll off Netflix: The 2008 “Star Wars: The Clone Wars” animated movie as well as six seasons of the subsequent “Clone Wars” series are among the titles set to leave the streaming service next month. According to Netflix, the original Lucasfilm movie along with “Star Wars: The Clone Wars” [...]

  • Vertigo Games Believes ‘Location-Based Virtual Reality’

    Vertigo Games Believes ‘Location-Based Virtual Reality’ Is Future of VR

    As virtual reality becomes more and more available, many developers are looking for new frontiers to expand the experiences offered by the tech. For Netherlands-based Vertigo Games, that next frontier is what they call “location-based virtual reality.” It’s essentially high-quality VR experiences where players aren’t tethered to a PC or even to the confines of [...]

  • GDC 2019: Google's Play For Gaming

    GDC 2019: Google's Play for Gaming Ubiquity, Rise of Ray Tracing, Store Wars

    The Game Developers Conference finished up Friday evening, wrapping one of the most exciting GDCs in recent memory with Google’s splashy entrance into AAA video gaming, the emergence of real-time ray tracing as a compelling technology for film, TV, and games, and the growing war between two global estore powerhouses: Valve’s Steam and the Epic [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content