Tech Pioneers

Allen O’Neill



Winner 2024

Allen O’Neill

What’s your background? How did you get into social listening?

My personal background is in deep tech engineering, and I am used to being called upon to solve very hard technical problems. Like many others I have drifted away from text-based platforms and moved towards video for social content – let’s be honest, it’s more vibrant, exciting, and engaging!  As I learned more about social video, it struck me as strange that despite being wildly popular, none of the big Social Listening platforms had yet demonstrated a credible technical solution to deep video analysis. I love solving big audacious problems, so I gave myself and my team the goal of inventing a new technology that would be game-changing for the category! … thousands of hours of painstaking research later, we have solved the problem, filed the patents, and can now ‘unbox’ insights from video at scale in a manner never seen before – I don’t think there has been such an exciting time to be in the Social Listening space😊

What attracted you to social listening?

Short of going door-to-door with a clipboard and pen, or sitting with a consumer panel, there is no other form of market analysis that can give such a wealth of fascinating insight as Social Listening. Analysing a one-sided conversation by looking at meta-data and comments is simply not good enough.  Combining the power of examining the message someone put out, with the feedback given by literally millions of engaged listeners in a social audience, is pure gold. The ability to provide this deep level of previously unseen, alpha market-insight for our clients is the key attraction for myself and my team and what drives us to keep perfecting our technology engine every single day!


What’s the most innovative way a client has used your tool?

To be honest, all our agency clients are being innovative by using our first product, the “Influencer Integrity Report” platform. Until now they’ve had to spend hours upon hours watching the social videos of influencers to have some level of confidence that the influencers they are recruiting are brand safe or the right fit for a campaign. Now, that huge pain is gone as they are utilising our patented AI technology to analyse everything an influencer has ever verbally said, across TikTok, YouTube and Instagram, in a matter of minutes. They then report the objective ‘Trust My Voice’™ score, together with the brand safety, brand synergy, topic specialism and quality of voice analytics onwards to the brand client. Now everyone, including compliance teams, can have far greater trust, not only in specific influencers but in influencer marketing as a whole.

The most interesting client project you’ve worked on?

We recently released an API that allows other Social Listening companies to integrate our cutting-edge influencer video analytics technology directly into their existing legacy platforms. It has been deeply rewarding working with some of the biggest influencer and social listening platforms in the world, seeing how they will be using our technology to hugely improve the experience for their existing clients when discovering and recruiting influencers. For example, one platform is working to provide an on-demand ‘Trust My Voice’™ report capability to their existing user-base of thousands of clients. This opens a new revenue stream for them and is truly exciting for us. Another very respected industry titan is using our alpha-data to greatly enrich their existing data-lake. Their current situation is very typical for the industry - it contains a large volume of data, but the quality of the data and depth of the insights are really shallow. This is as a result of being restricted to analysis of superficial meta-data such as comments, likes and follower count. Adding our incredibly rich data to the mix will allow them to make a genuine leap over their competitors, and adds significant value to their product.

What’s the one thing that no social listening technology has cracked yet?

This one is easy – unboxing video insights at scale! … but the cool thing is, the Social Listening platforms no longer have to struggle to try to solve this mega problem – we’ve done it for them🤯. The hard research has been completed, and we have built a foundational model and platform that can do the heavy lifting needed to extract deep insights from video that up until now have been locked away in a black box. We are really excited as we talk to new customers every day and demonstrate how we can add such amazing value to their existing platforms by allowing them to integrate our category-busting technology.

What do you see as technology’s role in social listening?

As an industry, we must never forget that Social Listening is first and foremost about people and the role they play across the entire marketing spectrum. Technology’s place lies in helping us understand our most critical resource, the individuals who make up our audience, and enabling the talented teams who work for us, empower the audience to achieve their goals.

What do you think is the future of social listening?

The future is very clearly tied to current innovations in AI and hardware miniaturisation and will be heavily skewed toward video and mixed-media content. I predict there will be an upcoming wave of hyper-focused ‘live social’ channels that will emerge and reach a tipping point in the next few years. This will happen as lightweight augmented reality devices move from research, get popularised by early adopters and then explode into mainstream usage. The challenge for the industry is to keep up with the ever-quickening pace of innovation. It is a simple fact that organisations that invest in research and innovation will survive long term, those that don’t quickly become irrelevant and disappear.


Let’s talk about 2024, what are your goals? what obstacles will you be overcoming? what are you looking to achieve?

Our goal in 2024 is to continue on the path of becoming the leading global provider of social video analytics. This has been tried before, but no-one has achieved what we have, at such a scale. Technically, speaking, this is hard engineering!

At present we are wholly focussed on helping influencers, agencies and brands solve the trust issues that exist within the world of influencer marketing. However, our unique technical capabilities that are supported by a growing patent portfolio, mean that in the latter half of 2024 we will release new products and services that by all indications and commentary, will be category changing … watch this space 🙂

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