Machine Learning, Video Deep Learning and Innovations in Big Data

Video Deep Learning Machine Learning Paul Burns Talk at Idea to IPO Innovations in Big Data

Paul Burns CDS at InfiniGraph talks on Video Deep Learning, Machine Learning  at Idea to IPO on Innovations in Big Data

Paul Burns Chief Data Scientist at InfiniGraph provides his point of view on what he has learned from doing massive video processing and video data analysis to find what images and clips work best with audiences. He spoke at the event Idea to IPO on Machine Learning, Video Deep Learning and Innovations in Big Data. Quick preview of Paul’s insights and approach to machine learning and big data.

Paul Burns Chief Data Scientist InfiniGraph working with start up involved in mobile video intelligence. I’ve had a bit of a varied career although a purely technical I would say started off in auto-sensing that’s 15 years doing research and RF sensor signal and data processing algorithms. I took a bit of a diverted turn in my career a number of years ago got a PhD and bioinformatics some works in the life sciences in genomics and sequencing industry for about three years. At the moment now I have turned again into video so I have range of experience with working with large datasets and learning algorithms and so hopefully I could bring some insights that others would like here.

My own personal experience is one in which I’ve inhabited a space very close to the data source and so when I think about big data I think about opportunities to find and discover patterns that are not apparent to an expert necessarily or they could be automatically found and used for prediction or analysis or health and status of the sensors at levels of effectiveness. There’s a lot of differences in the perception of what big data really is other than there’s the common thread that seems to be a way of thinking about data and I hate the word data. Really data is so non descriptive it’s so generic so that it’s it has almost no meaning at all.

I think of data as just information that’s stockpiled and it could be useful if you knew how to go in and sort through the stockpile of information to find patterns. How to find patterns that persist and can be used for predictive purposes. I think there’s been a generally slow progress over many decades and why this explosion in recent years is primarily because of the breakthroughs in computer vision and advancements in multi layer deep neural networks particularly processing image and video data.

This is something that’s taken places over the last ten years first with the breakthrough the seminal paper that was authored by Geoffrey Hinton in 2006 which demonstrated breakthroughs and deep multi-layer networks neural networks and then with the work that was published towards the ImageNet the competition in 2012 that made the significant advancement in performance over more conventional methods.

I think the major reason why there’s all this excitement is because visual perception is so incredibly powerful. That’s been an area where we’ve really struggled to make computers relate to the world and to understand and process things that are happening around them. There’s this sense that we’re on the cusp of a major revolution and autonomy. You can look at all the autonomous vehicles and all the human power and capital being put into those efforts.

Paul answers question on Privacy:  Honestly, I think privacy has been dead for some time the way it should be structured is the way Facebook works I can choose to opt into Facebook and have a lot of details about the gory details of my life exposed to the world and Facebook. But what I get out of that is I’m more closely connected to friends and family so I choose to opt in because I want them to that reward but privacy issues where I don’t have the opt-out choice is most problematic. There was a government program I’m aware of that happened in the Netherlands some years ago. They adopted a pilot program where people could opt out of their having their Hospital care data published in a government database. The purpose of which was to lean and make patterns with health outcomes. That’s a little controversial because you can have public health the public health benefits of having such a database could be enormous and transformational so it’s a very complicated issue. I’m certainly probably not qualified to speak on this topic. I would say it’s (privacy) long since been dead and we kind of have to do a postmortem.

We’re very fortunate that so much very high quality research has been published, so many very excellent data sets and model parameters are available free download. If starting out we were working on just very generic replication of open systems. Object recognition can be done with fairly high quality free open source code in a week. That was kind of our starting point to be able to advertise mobile video by selecting thumbnails that are somehow more enticing for people to click on than the default ones the content owners provide.

As it turned out this idea our co-founders came up with (KRAKEN VIDEO MACHINE LEARNING how to increase video lifetime value) about a couple years ago. It’s amazing how bad humans are at predicting what other people want to click on it’s amazing. We are as far as we know the only startup that’s solely focused on this core idea which sounds like a small business but with all the mobile video volume an advertising revenue that’s out there and growing.

What I do is when I have a hard problem I try to stockpile as much data to create the most thorough training set that I can possibly create and I think the most successful businesses will be the ones that are able to do that. It turns out there there are actually companies all they do is help you create training sets for your machine learning applications we use a variety of methods to do that crowdsourcing is one common way that’s really expensive to it’s far more expensive I thought it was even possible. Getting startups to find a way to harvest rich training sets that are valuable for inference are potential to be huge winners. It just turns out to be very hard to do.

Another area that is big is wearable technology for the purpose of health monitor personal health. I think that’s an area that has tremendous potential just because you know your physician is starving for data. You have to make a point to see your doctor schedule it etc. So what do they do? They weigh you and take your blood pressure ask how old you are that’s about it. I mean that’s nothing right they know they do not know what’s going on with you. Maybe it’s personality dependent but I would be very much in favor of disclosing all kinds of biometric information about myself it’s continuously recorded and stockpiled in a database and repeatedly scanned by intelligent agents for anomalies and doctors appointments automatically scheduled for me. Same thing with any complicated piece of machinery you know it could be a car it could be parts of your business. This kind of invasive monitoring I think will come with resistant but could be unleashed as people see the value in disclosing.

See full panel here Idea to IPO

Content 4.0 and InfiniGraph

Content 4.0, per Business Insider’s new infographic, is about finding the hottest, most awesome content and delivering that to people who love it. That’s something InfiniGraph excels at. For example, the hottest posts among XBOX fans right now.

We can’t wait to announce something new, a lot of cool free info you’re going to love- but we have to wait. It’s coming soon. Until then, try InfiniGraph.

How To Find Awesome Hot Content on InfiniGraph:

  1. Search for your brand
  2. Check out your hottest content (trending content)
  3. Check out affinity content, which is the last week’s hottest content your fans have interacted with on any Facebook page.
  4. Post that content or use it to stimulate your own new content ideas

Chief Marketing Officers’ 5 Biggest Needs in Social Media (Q3&4 2012)

There’s no question that marketing executives need results- and those results must be demonstrable. Marketing executives need tools that provide accurate insights to form effective strategies that their marketing, PR and social media teams can use to achieve those results.

From our work and conversations marketing executives, and our recent judges’ review in the CRM Idol competition, here are the top five things we hear that CMO’s need the most in quarters three and four of 2012.

  1. Tie social to the bottom-line: conversions and revenue
  2. Identify the best social metric: there are too many choices
  3. Leverage “Big Data” for content marketing and social media
  4. Make technology produce strategic insights
  5. Create executable plans for marketing, social and PR teams

1. Tie social to the bottom-line: conversions and revenue

You can’t capture or keep your market-share or mind-share if competitors are stealing it with highly engaging content.

  • Who are your competitors?
  • What videos and photos and posts are working best for them and you?
  • How effective are you compared to your competitors?

Be the smartest person in the room by finding the content that’s already working in your niche and others. For example, see trends around iTunes, Ben & Jerry’s, BMW, adidas, or McDonald’s.

Track everything into your CRM, and find out which engaging content drives the most revenue.

2. Identify the best social metric:

There are many choices of metrics. But the sales funnel must stay big at the top (visibility and reach) for you to get any customers to come out at the bottom (sales). If customers and fans don’t engage, you aren’t visible and you become irrelevant. Using trending content makes people engage with your brand. Move away from boring. Find out what is most interesting and stimulating. We rank content in real-time and organize it by industry. Our first 40+ industry pages (coming soon) show which content is hottest in each industry.

From CRM Idol:

“In the crowded category of content marketing (how marketers track content distribution, causality, and influence) Infinigraph has an interesting entry.  They call themselves a source of social intelligence and the demo we saw shows it is after a well thought-out and known market: marketers looking to gather information about the effectiveness of their campaigns in social media.”

3. Leverage “Big Data” for content marketing and social media

Big data is a big opportunity, but CMO’s are drowning in data. Like most executives these days who deal with digital marketing, advertising and sales, we have too much analytics. It’s impressive, but is it useful? InfiniGraph’s tools and research identifies trends important to your customers to help you create intelligent and effective marketing.

Our CRM Idol Primary Judges said,

“The idea of social competitive brand intelligence resonates well with brands and marketers needs: gathering real-life insights and status of multiple campaigns in real-time is the epitome of what marketers thought they would get from social channels.”

4. Make technology produce strategic insights

Define strategy by starting with the customer ecosystem around your brand. What content is resonating with in your niche? What about outside of your niche? Get in tune with your audience. Find out what content works by searching for your brand. Create brand-level engagement. Have another goal with another audience? Get intel on that ecosystem as well. Different content, different interests, different responses.

5. Create executable plans for marketing, social and PR teams

Take guesswork out of your content calendar. Get the most out of every day. You can use InfiniGraph insights (particularly the CBI) to map out a content calendar that will boost your engagement, visibility and results by 30% or more.

For more, watch our CEO Chase McMichael talk at the 2012 Silicon Valley Innovation Summit:

Start getting intelligence on your brand and niche now. Click here and search for your brand.

Fashion Industry – Social Media Insights from Facebook and Twitter

Competitive brand insights from Facebook and Twitter for the fashion industry. Includes commentary on The Gap, Victoria’s Secret, Hollister, F21, Chictopia, Bebe, H&M, Nasty Gal, Old Navy, American Eagle, Free People, Abercrombie & Fitch, Refinery 29, Modcloth, Target and more. View the entire Fashion industry competitive industry insights page.

Find insights for your brand at

Do You Know If Your Competition Is Kicking Your Butt In Social Media?

Big data is all the rage- what is it? It’s a common trend now that our business data sets  are too big to capture and analyze manually. Why is big data such a big deal? McKinsey calls it “the next frontier for innovation, competition and productivity (link).

There is now more and more social media big data about online content (photos, blog posts, graphics, videos and more). Approximately 900 million Facebook users, 150 million LinkedIn users, 100 million Twitter users, along with Google + and Pinterest users are engaging with content billions of times per month. They’re liking, commenting, sharing, tweeting, plussing and repinning. They’re telling us, through that big data, exactly which photos and videos and blog posts have the biggest impact on them. There’s a lot of this social data, and it’s not organized.

How do we turn this big data on social media activity into something that gets results for businesses? We need to capture the right information and prioritize it. How can you organize all that social media activity to make it actionable? It needs to be applied to something that companies can use. We think the biggest application is content marketing in social media.

“Digital activation requires insights on what your customers are into and what they resonate around to create content that’s relevant and interesting to them. With InfiniGraph we’re able to see trends over a target industry and competitive set to answer vital questions on what content works, consumer preference and behavior to build and adjust our ongoing engagement strategies. “
- James Clark, Co-Founder, Room 214

Big Data Makes Your Social Media More Competitive

Marketing Sherpa found that more than 60% of companies planned to increase their spend on content marketing in 2012 (link). Sharing powerful content creates social media interaction around your brand. Few people would argue that social media is about conversations. We believe that social conversations can be created around content. We know that social conversations on Facebook content maintains good EdgeRank, ensuring your Facebook fans see you- naturally, your Facebook fans lose value if they no longer see you- social interaction maintains and increases fan value. We also know that retweets of great content on Twitter increases your brand’s visibility, and thus clicks to your website.

We think the key to actionable social media big data is to not only to measure people’s actions (likes, comments, shares, retweets, clicks etc.) on social media content, but also to detect social media trends- not just what content was hot once upon a time but what content is hot right now. That’s why we give a trend score to the content we discover for your brand.

Content Marketing: The Sourcing Problem

Many companies accept that they need to create and share content to be competitive. The biggest problem they have is creating enough content. You know you need to post daily on social media, and there are only so many questions you can ask your fans and followers, and polls you can run to engage them. The content sourcing problem is such that, according to the 2012 Digital Content Marketing Survey from the Content Marketing Institute, 70% of marketers plan to outsource at least one piece of content in the next 12 months (link).

How expensive is outsourcing your content marketing? Paying an expert for a webcast could cost between $1,000 – $5,000. Commissioning the writing of an ebook could cost between $8,000 – $15,000. The creation of a custom infographic might cost your company $1,500 – 3,000.

We certainly recommend you create some custom content for your brand, but most companies can’t create an infographic or white paper or ebook or video every single day. If you only post when you have your own custom content, you may only post in social media monthly, which most would agree is not often enough. Many companies even have trouble creating a new blog post weekly. Where can you get great content to share daily?

An alternative to creating all the content your company needs in order to create social conversations on a daily basis is content curation (the art of discovering, gathering, and presenting digital content that surrounds specific subject matter). One of InfiniGraph’s offerings, Hypercuration, leverages social media big data to help you curate content that we already know is engaging, viral, and hot right now.

Social networks are a barometer for relevance- just about all online content is flowing through social media channels- we ensure the content you find is relevant to your fans because it comes from other brands is the same niche as you.

The above screenshot shows a hypercuration queue comprised of the hottest posts from 25 brands in the same category.

This solves your content marketing problem. You find and post the best content, this creates social media conversations around your brand, and you do so without creating all that content or paying to create that content.

Winning The Brand War In Your Niche

There’s another layer to the social media activity I’ve described above- the competitive layer. What type of content is resonating best with your customer base? Well, your customers are responding to other brands too. Which content is evoking that response? The fact is that in any niche, your company has fans that are also fans of your competitors. The average fan likes a bunch of Facebook pages. The most active social media users like, share and retweet content from a variety of sources.

But what kind of social activity is there in your industry? There may be more or less than in other industries. How much interaction is there, and which brand is getting the most? Every industry and niche has at least one standout company in social media- the company that’s doing the best job producing and curating content with their social media profiles. Is that your company? You need to know who it is, and what they’re doing. Who is best capturing and controlling the consumer’s voice in your category?

The war of brands for customer mindshare is being fought in the open. Do you know how well your side is doing? Maybe you’re doing great compared to your competitors, or maybe not. What’s working and why? You need to find out what your fans are listening to first. What perks up their ears?

You need a way to put your finger on the pulse of your industry. Doing so requires BIG DATA, and unfortunately, the run of the mill social monitoring platform can’t do this for you. Putting 20+ brands into the typical social monitoring platform would generate so much information that it would overwhelm you. You don’t get back useful data- you don’t get numbers on the social media interaction- you can’t sort those social actions to find the most stimulating content. It’s just not actionable enough.

The above screenshot is just one piece of our Competitive Brand Intelligence report. It compares how much content your competitors are putting out (the red and blue bars) with how many fans engage with each social media post (the green line). One clear conclusion from all our CBI’s is that some brands put out fewer posts of higher quality, and they get more fan response per post because of it. What if you were also curating the best quality posts? That’s the best of both worlds.

Whether you’re concerned with developing and winning new business, a social media coordinator who wants better results, or an executive who wants to know your business is competitive, you need to know where you stand: what’s your level of content creation, who are your competitors – based on who your fans are responding to – here’s where you stand
exec- how are you performing relative to your competition?

Another way to view your niche in these new terms is to ask yourself: Which media site is performing the best in your industry? if you were going to place an ad or article, what site or Facebook page would that be? That is probably the most powerful publishing brand in your category- is that you? It’s time to come to terms with the publishing and publicizing power of your company, or its lack thereof.

Social Media Big Data graphic by Dion Hinchcliffe, shared with attribution.

5 Ways Social Beauty Is Not Skin Deep – Engage and Win

The beauty and cosmetic industry is dominating Social Media for good reason.   Women are the most socially active consumer group when it comes to Facebook /Twitter, and they create a wealth of engaging content.   There is a high stakes game going on where whoever captures the mind share of this group, and evokes their passion, captures their pocket book.

In our previous post “Winning Curation Strategies and Brands Becoming Publishers”    we noted that good content curation enables thought leadership, higher engagement and increase in Facebook Edgerank.  Edgerank is how Facebook manages which posts get placed at the top of an individual user’s news feed.   Brands that have figured out how to curate outperform and often are more profitable than those who do not curate their own content.


According to L2


L2 Think Tank is a research group who created the Top 100 Prestigious Brands , and we connected with the founder Scott Galloway, at OMMASocial NY where we saw the considerable level of work the team took in order to come up with the Top 100 list.  The analysis focused on the engagement leaders within the luxury category in 100 top brands on Facebook.


InfiniGraph took this research further and applied social-behavioral analytics in order to better analyze the list.   (NOTE:  each brand name listed is clickable. Click the links below in order to run the InfiniGraph Social Intelligence on each brand.)


L2 Top brands

L2 Rank

L2 Class




















































Scott Galloway says:   “While many prestige brands wait for hard [return on investment] to justify a shift in human, creative, and financial capital from traditional to emerging platforms, others have taken a leap of faith and are in an arms race to acquire Facebook likes.”

With cost-per-click “ads on Facebook up 40 percent” in the first quarter of 2011 versus the same time last year, “the industry may look back and regret not having aggressively built communities for a fraction of the cost”.  However, winning on Facebook is more than just like count. Although many prestige brands maintain monocular focus on the size of their Facebook community, “they have failed to embrace the authentic two-way communication and marketing activation required to monetize the platform.


Applying social-behavioral “intelligence”


Through InfiniGraph’s Social Intelligence which uses social-behavioral analysis on content interaction we found that Urban Decay Cosmetics  was the second most connected brand to people active on the L2’s top Beauty / Skincare overtaking Clinique and Bobbi Brown .   Below is the Top 5 Brand Affinities based on what consumes behavior is around other contented activity as they relate to the Top 5 L2 cosmetic brands.


Sephora is the most influential retail outlet and dominates socially, whereas top publications were Allure Magazine, Marie Claire, Who What Wear and Fashionista.


Looking at the Urban Decay Top Affinities chart above its clear where the best source of cross posting content resides.  Sephora still leads the way as a major connector along with Marie Claire.


But, we wanted to take this cross relevance further.  Below you can see the cross counts (who shows up more with greater content activity) of the L2 top brands with the most trending cross connections.  Sephora is over 50% greater than any brand or retailer!   Swiffer and Food Network made it in the top 16 providing a unique insight on what other properties are getting engagement and should be used in targeting.

All brand displayed were derived from the Top 5 Brand Affinities and shows you which consumers are the most socially active in reference to the L2 Top brands, and, where content should be sourced from via partnering and targeting.


Social Analytics is changing the way we communicate and interface with brands that sell the “feeling good” “health” “wellness” “beauty”, harnessing the power of passion.   The brands that successfully leverage conversation will dominate, as more buyers become more socially connected.


Key takeaways:

  • Brands that allow posting on their wall obtain higher engagement
  • Engagement around products got the highest interaction rates
  • Posts around contests and promotions registered the lowest interaction rates.
  • There is poor integration  across digital platforms when using the Like and Share within content and promotion
  • Competence on Facebook is inextricably linked to shareholder growth

It’s clear a lot can be learned from the beauty industry.    Not all brands are created equal and in this tech savvy world, those that are more likeable, sharable and engaging can and will cut through the clutter.    The competition is steep and they are all vying for your attention and everyone wants to be the “thought leader” but only a few can be.    Learning how to harness your content makes for a much more effective social experience.


Questions to ask:

  • When Content trends on your brand, what do you do?
  • Are you getting the most out of your content marketing?
  • Are you expanding your outreach on what your consumers engage with, or letting it die?
  • Are you asking your audience questions around your trending content?

What areas of content are getting you the most social traction?  Share with us sites you have seen that are doing well with curated content creating engagement.



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