In our last post, we discussed classification in general, arguing that structured labeling helps businesses leverage more information with fewer resources. For the next couple of entries, we’re going to focus more specifically on semantic classification, which is eContext’s core specialty. eContext labels massive volumes of content by subject matter, so our clients can better manage and learn from their data without having to manually take stock of each individual item. These Twitter posts mention NFL players; this video is about Silicon Valley; this customer survey is focused on retail jewelry, etc, etc. As previously mentioned, our clients typically access our classification by way of the eContext API. Before digging deeper into concrete use cases, we thought we would answer a few of practical questions that come up when new clients use the API for the first time.
What does the eContext API actually do?
The eContext API allows subscribers to map their content to eContext’s Categories. A category could represent a thing, person, place, product, service, or an abstract concept. Categories are organized in a huge taxonomy that houses specific topics beneath broader ones; each category exists in a single location within this structure. A user submits a batch of content (such as a list of social posts or URLs) and receives, for each individual item, a list of corresponding categories that includes the following information:
- Category name
- Category ID
- Category path
- for example, the category path for “Breaking Bad” is Arts & Entertainment::Movies & Television::Movie & TV Products::TV::Drama TV Shows::Breaking Bad
- A few statistics on the category’s prevalence within recent social conversations
- the importance of the category within recent social conversations
- the percentage of conversations in the past 28 days that have been about the category
What are the different functions available through the eContext API?
Clients can make different classifications calls depending on the kind of data they need to label. This is because eContext uses different language processing for different types of content. The core classification functions of the API are:
- Classify/Text – The most basic functionality, designed for free-form text.
- Classify/Social – Used for social media posts and other user generated content. The language processing used for Classify/Social is optimized for short-to-medium length content, and also includes functionality to consider usernames and hashtags.
- Classify/Keywords – This function is optimized for very short text strings. While other calls can map content to multiple results, Classify/Keywords will give each keyword a single, best-possible category. This allows keywords to be bucketed into discrete groups without duplicates.
- Classify/URL – Users submit a list of URLs and eContext labels the topics that appear on each of those web pages. Our processing method ignores advertising and other irrelevant elements, focusing only on the core content of the page.
- Classify/HTML – An alternative to Classify/URL, this call allows users to hand-select which page elements are to be classified.
In addition, the eContext API offers a few ancillary functions, allowing users to see a list of eContext’s top-tier categories, obtain keywords that have been pre-mapped to individual categories, and check their own usage information. For a more tech-oriented guide to the eContext API, feel free to check out our documentation.
What can I do with eContext Classifications?
It depends on your goals, but broadly speaking, applications for semantic classification can be divided into two groups: utility and insight. UTILITY APPLICATIONS: eContext classifications are used to facilitate some other (usually automated) process. Examples include:
- tagging browseable content for intuitive navigation, related content suggestions, etc.
- deriving user profiles that can be used to automate personalization
- organizing data in CRM so an organization can quickly source information by topic
- automatic content filtering for improved relevance and/or brand safety
INSIGHT APPLICATIONS: eContext classifications are used to analyze large-scale digital activity, typically for marketing and research purposes. Examples include:
- discovering the distinctive interests of a target audience
- identifying optimal channels for efficient media buying
- content ideation to publish media that resonates with consumers
Of course, many of our clients use eContext in ways that combine these “utility” and “insight” benefits. For instance, an online retailer might classify product descriptions so they’re easier to search, but can also get the added value of topic-by-topic conversion stats. In customer service, classification can help dispatch tickets to the best representative, but it can also help the company analyze the kinds of problems their users are experiencing. Check back soon for an in-depth look at how clients are putting eContext to use.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]