Alexey Orap

CEO and Founder


Winner 2022

Alexey Orap

What was your journey/career path to your current position?

I majored in Computer Science and started my career in the ISP/telecom industry, where I worked for local and international companies, such as Nortel and Alcatel-Lucent; initially in technical/engineering, and then increasingly in management roles. Meanwhile, I launched my first startup, decided to get a more formal business education, graduated from an MBA program, and then moved into the consumer internet industry. For a few years, I worked as a director of business development at Yandex. That was then when I witnessed the meteoric rise of social media and realized the market opportunity for building one of the first social media listening platforms, YouScan.

What's your proudest achievement of your career to date?

We prototyped YouScan back in 2009 and got our first customers in 2010, so it is accurate to say that we were among the pioneering players of a nascent social media intelligence market. I'm certainly pleased to have played a role in creating what now has become a well-established, multi-billion industry.

But more importantly, I'm proud that I was able to build a successful startup from the ground up and gather a fantastic team of talented people who truly enjoy their work at YouScan, in the meanwhile creating value for our customers and investors.    

What does social intelligence mean to you?

Me personally and the entire YouScan team see our mission in helping companies listen to their customers and improve. This statement accurately describes why social intelligence became such a vital part of any data-driven organization and why it benefits consumers, too. SML tools like YouScan uncover consumer insights that help companies to improve their products and services, serve their customers better, and, we hope, ultimately enhance their customers' lives.

After the pandemic hit, many traditional research methods became unavailable, so many companies realized the need for another reliable source of unbiased customer feedback. This is where social media data came in handy and helped boost the growth of numerous organizations.

I'm really proud that we are helping more than 600 brands and agencies better understand how their customers feel by analyzing conversations happening online. And I believe that we at YouScan make this process a little easier by constantly enhancing our platform‚Äôs AI-powered analytical capabilities.    

What's been the biggest challenge you've faced while trying to get brands to integrate social intelligence within their growth strategy?

The lack of understanding of the real power behind social intelligence. The use cases where social media intelligence can be applied are not limited to only one department, so it might be difficult for prospects to get all the value aspects. Our platform can be used within one company by marketing, PR, customer support, research, product development, and even HR departments, so one of our main challenges is to showcase all the possible business benefits that our solution can bring to an organization.    

Given the above, it is vital to educate users about all the new features that we keep adding to our product. We constantly conduct educational webinars and workshops for our customers, so they stay up to date with the latest updates and understand the value behind them.¬†    

What do you think is the biggest missed opportunity for social intelligence?

One of the most significant missed opportunities that currently exist in social intelligence is the slow adoption rate of image analytics. Every day, users upload over 3.2 billion photos, making visual content one of the largest datasets for finding insights. Images shared on social media contain a wealth of information about our consumer habits, which cannot always be found in text captions.

Unfortunately, tons of companies still do not leverage visual analytics within their social listening strategy. Still, I believe that this technology will soon find its use in any industry. Our customers love to use it to find new consumption patterns, identify brand ambassadors, enrich their buyer personas, and find ideas for new marketing campaigns.    

What's on the cards for you and your team/organisation in 2022?

Last year, we started to put a serious effort into expanding our business globally, and we plan to double down on this in 2022. We're a challenger player on social media intelligence markets in the UK and the US, and we like it when customers choose YouScan over major competitors because of our platform's powerful analytical capabilities, freshness, and superb usability.

Our AI-powered social image analysis capabilities are truly outstanding, as well, so we'll keep investing in their development, too. We are also looking to deepen our partnerships with major social media platforms, like Twitter and others, to increase the scope and fidelity of the data for our customers.


How do you see social intelligence and its use evolving?

The continuous evolution of social media will undoubtedly affect social intelligence - increasing data volumes will provide greater possibilities for more granular analysis. Vendors will develop new approaches to interpreting the data, making social media intelligence an irreplaceable solution in the decision-making process.    

As AI technology constantly develops, social media intelligence tools will become even smarter, ensuring faster delivery of insights to their users.    Given the rise of visual content, image recognition and visual analytics will also evolve, expanding the number of use cases and becoming a treasure trove of valuable data.    

I truly believe that social media data can be applied within almost every business process, so we will witness an increase in the use of social media intelligence solutions.    

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