Gnip Adds Tumblr to its List of Social Data Sources

Social media data provider Gnip today unveiled a brand new partnership: Blogging service Tumblr will be providing its full firehose of public social data available to the Boulder-based data mining company in an exclusive deal. The Tumblr arrangement will provide Gnip clients access to Tumblr’s over 70 million posts per day, providing a much more complete picture of the social web on top of the company’s existing data sources, including Twitter, WordPress, and Disqus.

Gnip has been adding data sources at a very fast rate, including China’s 300 million-user strong Sina Weibo, and company President and COO Chris Moody told BetaKit in an interview that all that growth is about meeting the needs of its customers, who increasingly want to see what’s being said about the brands they serve, wherever and whenever they’re mentioned.

“Unlike with public API integrations, we’re providing full coverage of all public conversation in a reliable, scalable firm,” Moddy said. “So if you’re a social media monitoring company or a business intelligence company and you want to start incorporating Tumblr data into your business analysis and the insights you offer you clients, you need to know that you have full coverage, so it’s really exciting that Tumblr decided to make this available.”

Gnip also provides customers with normalized data across its various sources, making it easier to compare, say, data from Twitter with data from Tumblr in terms of time stamps, original source, embedded links, etc. For its analytics product clients, that means most of the early legwork is done for them, and data comes in to their own products in a usable format, rather than requiring any preparation as it would straight from the source in order to be input into comparison and analysis models.

The Tumblr partnership is a big win for Gnip, but the Sina Weibo deal announced in February is perhaps more indicative of what its customers are looking for. Moody said that though just 30 percent of its customers are located outside the U.S., companies that are based in America have just as much interest in international markets, too. He points to brands like McDonalds that have profiles and visibility on Sina Weibo, as well as U.S. celebrities like Tom Cruise. “Ultimately, what our customers want is ‘Hey, I wanna know everything that’s being said about me, I want to analyze that and understand it,’” he said, noting that whether conversations are happening at home or abroad is becoming less of an issue.

One company that’s often cited as a Gnip competitor gaining a lot of traction is DataSift, but Moody points out that Gnip incorporates far more social data sources, and also notes that DataSift provides analytics, whereas Gnip is all about delivering the data for use in others’ analytics products. DataSift is also clearly trying to build partnerships, however, with its recent addition of NewsCred sources and Twitter historical data, and could in theory become more of a direct competitor if it continues to sign new content deals. So far, though, Moody doesn’t see the two as vying for the same customers.

Also, Gnip’s deal with Tumblr is exclusive for the time being, providing the company with what Moody sees as perspective on a unique cross-section of the social media spectrum. “The types of conversations happening on Twitter versus something like Tumblr tends to be very different,” he said. “Twitter tends to be ‘what’-focused, and it tends to be fact and event focused. You compare that with what tends to be viral on Twitter and it’s a totally different type of conversation.” For example, Moody said that a recent post by an Urban Outfitter photographer went viral since it contained a pre-launch photo of the store’s new clothing line. With Tumblr, users focus on anticipatory or desire-based content, i.e. ‘I want that’ or ‘this looks cool,’ particularly in the 18-24 demographic.

That brings to mind instantly the huge uptake in engagement seen by social network Pinterest, and BetaKit asked Moody if that network might be ripe for the next Gnip partnership. “All I can say is it’s definitely something we get asked about a lot,” he said, declining any further comment. Still, if Gnip’s strategy really is to be everywhere on the social web where brands are being talked about, Pinterest is definitely the biggest game that remains to be bagged.

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