Crowd Media Turns Messy Data Into Powerful Insights

Executive Summary

Founded in 2009, Crowd Media is a global mobile entertainment and micro job company that allows customers to crowdsource answers to questions from experts around the world. Knee-deep in Excel spreadsheets, CTO Ian Clark began searching for a BI tool that could provide visibility on their most effective experts and best performing ads with the goal of replicating that success across all resources and targeting underperforming projects.

After a lukewarm experience with a competing BI tool, the company switched to Sisense and never looked back. Sisense was quickly deployed, widely adopted, and is used to improve the efficiency of marketing and operations as well as to generate reports.

The Challenge: Sorting Through Large Data Faster and Easier

Ian explains that employees would come to him and say: ‘I need to understand X’. He would enter a query into the database and come back with an answer. But when someone needed a daily or weekly report, it had to be built from scratch, which was much more difficult.

The company’s marketing, operations, and finance departments all collect large quantities of data. The performance of various marketing channels (social media, television ads, influencer outreach, etc.) would generally be stored in spreadsheets, in addition to operational and financial data. As the business is global and data is coming in multiple formats from a variety of systems, the data was not uniform — it needed to be standardized before analysis.

In the beginning, the company was working with a ‘data dump’ — a webpage with the relevant numbers, which could not be filtered or drilled into. As Crowd Media grew, so did their data and number of data sources. Suddenly, they were integrating Redshift DB, MySQL, and connecting to various APIs from Facebook Ads and App Annie in addition to their question/answer database. Ian wanted to generate more detailed reports on a daily basis that could be easily filtered by any user. At first Ian used Excel, but it soon became clear that a more robust system was needed.

The Search is on

An external consulting agency implemented a competing BI product, but Ian wasn’t happy with this tool’s charting and dashboarding features. Searching for a replacement, Crowd Media considered three BI options, one of them Sisense. After building a few KPI dashboards during the trial period, Ian felt that Sisense was the most intuitive BI tool on the market due to its sophisticated charting abilities and how easy it is to grant contributor access to additional teams that could “get in and do their own thing”. For these reasons, as well as an attractive and flexible pricing model, Crowd Media chose Sisense.

A live dashboard is displayed on a large TV monitor that shows the most frequently asked questions in the past 15 minutes. It’s exactly what we needed.

Gaining Actionable Insight

Deployment of Sisense was a very straightforward process, and Crowd Media had an Elasticube and a dashboard up and running even before the first onboarding session. Today, Crowd Media uses Sisense to find the best-performing markets and channels, calculate earnings from text messages, taking into consideration the researchers’ fees and marketing costs, and increase overall customer retention. Today, Crowd Media uses Sisense to find the best-performing markets and channels, calculate earnings from text messages, taking into consideration the researchers’ fees and marketing costs, and increase overall customer retention.

The heaviest Sisense users are in the marketing department. A live dashboard is displayed on a large TV monitor, displaying the most frequently asked questions in the past 15 minutes, along with a map showing which countries have the highest usage. Different marketing campaigns and initiatives are tracked through Sisense and these insights are then used to improve marketing efforts. The dashboards are on all the time and also used to monitor problems — if there is a sharp downward percentage change, this could indicate an issue with marketing efforts or technical difficulty.

The operations department uses Sisense to generate a report that shows the response rate of individual researchers, and the researchers whose answers led to customers returning to ask more questions. This reveals who the best researchers are, and also enables the operations managers to improve the work of the other researchers. The finance department uses Sisense to visually represent data for board reports.

Hero Moment

What Ian has built for Crowd Media allows them to effectively manage and mobilize their team of over 1000+ dedicated researchers, working in 28 languages, across 40 countries, answering millions of questions per year. They are able to see at a granular level how well a marketing effort is working so that they can adjust any unsuccessful efforts, and emulate the more successful campaigns. This same technique is used to evaluate researchers and compare performance between the highest response rate and lowest response rate.

Crowd Media plans to launch a new line of products soon, focused on mobile apps delivering expert assistance on a variety of topics. They plan to use Sisense to track data gathered from these apps and expect to see similar global success as they have with their current products.