Testing out Scale Model’s software is like getting a frighteningly accurate peek into your online personality.
Scale Model’s technology analyzes you or your company’s network — like the people, topics, and places you frequently talk about or are connected to — with the idea being that a network can tell you a lot of useful information, which can help you find the most influential networks or popular “influencers” within a community and helps you better target those people through marketing efforts.
If that sounds a little philosophical, that’s because it is. But it’s also highly technical, and the team behind Scale Model has been heads-down since the New Year rebuilding its product. Scale Model launched its original product in May 2015, which was aimed mostly at Twitter advertising, but the company realized there was more it could do with its technology and pivoted at the beginning of 2016. The company launched a new and improved beta version in July, and now, it’s ready to go live.
Scale Model is a Betaworks company, the startup studio that’s launched companies like Giphy and Chartbeat and invested in Tumblr, Product Hunt, and Everlane. It was founded by Gilad Lotan, the company’s chief data scientist, and Margulies joined the team about a year ago. Scale Model says it did about $30,000 in revenue before the launch.
While I’m not Scale Model’s target customer — the software is aimed at brands and companies, not necessarily individuals — I gave it a shot and was surprised at what it found out about me. I entered my Twitter handle — although you can also enter a keyword or hashtag — and the technology combed through my account and created a colorful, interactive chart of my community.
The resulting chart described me in a nutshell.
My colorful bubbles described all the major milestones of my life: Working at my college paper, The Daily Orange, interning for USA Today, attending Syracuse University, living in New York City and Pittsburgh, and it even included my all-time favorite hashtag, #Buffalove.
This is just a small facet of what Scale Model is capable of, and just the start of where the company plans to take the technology. Peter Margulies, the company’s CEO, told Business Insider that while step one is launching this marketing tool, the next step is building technology that can analyze internal company data.
That could be valuable for a company like Tinder, he said, which has massive amounts of user data. Scale Model’s technology could analyze that data to find patterns, identify connections or similarities between users, or spot smaller communities of people.
But there are broader uses for the software as well, he said.
“The technology could be used to analyze the gun debate or women’s rights,” Margulies said. “The lens through which you consume information is solely based on your network, and the crux around what we’re building is this idea that networks matter. Analyzing the structure of a network can tell you a lot about the people in the network than they ever say about themselves.”
Moving away from the ‘spray and pray’ approach
Margulies admits there are a lot tools like this already on the market, and that they’re launching into a crowded space.
Twitter and Facebook already offer analytics and ad tools that can tell a lot about audiences. But those tools only tell users about their own audiences and followers. Margulies says Scale Model can help find communities that already exist — like “mommy bloggers” who are looking for organic household products, for instance — and tap into those networks outside the company’s current audience.
“There’s a lot of buyer fatigue in this space,” he said. “But there are brands that realize the way that the world is moving, which is away from ‘spray and pray’ — like, ‘we’re going to send the same message to 100 million people.'”
Scale Model offers its technology at three different tiers: Basic, which costs $99 per month, gives you access to something similar to what I tried above. As you go up in pricing tiers, you can access more features like an engine that detects trends in the communities you follow, or more organization tools. The Pro tier costs $599 per month and the Enterprise tier costs $1,899 per month.
The goal, Margulies said, is that anyone from a small business and to a huge corporation can use the technology to find out more about the people they’d like to connect to.