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CIO Review >> Magazine >> April - 2013 issue

Sign-in to a New Opportunity with Big Data Analytics

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Headquartered in Menlo Park, GraphDive's API gives actionable insights into your users' top interests and key demographic data. Founded in 2011, the company has raised a total of $1 million from Correlation Ventures, Crosslink Capital, Roham Gharegozlou and Plug and Play Ventures.

Every time a user logs on to your business
website, an opportunity is born to connect
with her at the deepest levels. But for most businesses, this opportunity instead becomes a
"missed connection" as they throw up the usual login gateway in front of new users, leaving these visitors gasping: "another username and password to remember? ..." Imagine how many visitors to your site have not connected at all when faced with this hurdle.


Our online lives are governed by an interminable collection of usernames and passwords. The standard site specific username-and-password, with account confirmed by email, is no longer scalable as users suffer from
password fatigue. Just as important, the data collected from users (basic user name and email) through this ancient method pales in comparison to the modern, social alternative: social sign-in tools like Facebook Connect
and Google+ Sign-in.


Facebook Connect was the first widely adopted solution of its kind that permitted users to leverage one set of credentials across the
entire web. Instead of creating a new username and password and confirming by email, a new user can register with one click, using their preexisting profile credentials. By some
estimates, over eight million unique sites are now using Facebook-Connect authentication to save their users time.


And the implementation is easy. In addition to the plugins provided by Facebook, Google, Twitter and LinkedIn for their respective signin
tools, companies like Janrain and Gigya bundle all of these different options into convenient widgets that are easy to implement. Just as
important, social sign-in tools have explicit user opt-in click-through gateways that maximize user privacy while minimizing the hassle of signing onto a new site.


But even most online sites that are leveraging tools such as Facebook Connect are not using it to the fullest. That is because these sign-in tools bring with them a trove of valuable
data that businesses cannot adequately analyze on their own. To fully unlock the potential of this information, your merchandising and marketing teams will need analytics tools that use state-of-the-art semantic analysis and
machine learning technologies to turn raw data into actionable insights.


A simple example will illustrate the value of social graph data when touched by Big Data analytics. Imagine a typical user John Doe
who uses Facebook to talk about his favorite athletes (like Buster Posey), his favorite events (perhaps the World Series) and his favorite foods (…beer and nachos?). Analyzing this data through the latest technology in
natural language processing will help you uncover that this user is almost certainly a huge baseball aficionado, likely a San Francisco Giants fan, and into select beverages and snacks. If you are a commerce site, now you
have a better grasp of which offers to send him (hint: sports related items would be more relevant than feminine hygiene); if you are selling content, such as mobile apps, now you know that he will care more about ESPN's
latest score app than Angry Birds; and if you are an online services recommendation service, perhaps you should target John a deal at
Chevy's Mexican over a fancy French restaurant. Knowledge is power, and properly leveraging social data puts you in the driver's seat to better serve your users.