Case Study

Social Networking Firm Leverages Splunk Analytics Solution to Drive Revenue

Executive Summary

Founded in 2008, Socialize (a ShareThis company) was created to provide developers with a platform to build applications for mobile devices. The company also offers tools that let developers add social networking capabilities to their mobile apps, allowing consumers to interact and share content. Socialize confronted a host of challenges because its businesses are data intensive and rapidly growing, supporting daily API requests that number in the millions. Since deploying Splunk software, the company has seen benefits including:

  • Real-time operational visibility and analytics
  • Automation of tedious manual processes
  • Improved operational efficiency
Challenges
    • Needed to support data intensive, rapidly growing businesses
    • Analyzing massive amounts of data with a MySQL database was time consuming and error prone
    • Needed solution to troubleshoot infrastructure
    • Required sophisticated reporting capabilities
Business Impact
    • Revenue producing business intelligence
    • Greater value for developers and publishers
    • Data driven, real-time decision making
    • Efficient and reliable delivery of services
    • Reduced staffing needs
Data Sources
    • Mobile social networking applications, databases, servers and mobile SDKs
    • Mobile application advertising campaigns
    • Daily API requests numbering in the millions

Why Splunk

Socialize ingests and processes over 20 million data points daily, each data point being a user interaction with a "Socialized" app such as a click or a comment. The company needed to extract intelligence from this data, troubleshoot its infrastructure and keep developers informed of the usage of their applications, presenting analytics for each app in real time.

Socialize also connects with advertisers via automated real-time bidding (RTB) exchanges, allowing marketers to target consumers most interested in their products or services with advertising on mobile apps. These RTB exchanges demand a response time of only 100 milliseconds. To make effective bidding decisions, Socialize therefore needs to analyze hundreds of gigabytes of data, with literally millions of API requests sent per day. Analyzing this volume of data with a MySQL database was time consuming and error prone. Moreover, Socialize required sophisticated reporting capabilities in order to provide advertisers with metrics on their campaigns, such as the number of impressions and their cost per thousand.

Socialize installed Splunk software as its business analytics solution, feeding a large volume of logs into the platform for indexing, building charts and graphics. According to the CTO of Socialize, "Splunk collects and analyzes machine-generated data from IT infrastructures, but it also offers invaluable insight into user-generated data. What makes Splunk special is the ease and precision with which we can extract business intelligence from hundreds of gigabytes of data, then graphically display any metrics we want in dashboards."

"Splunk collects and analyzes machine-generated data from IT infrastructures, but it also offers invaluable insight into user-generated data. What makes Splunk special is the ease and precision with which we can extract business intelligence from hundreds of gigabytes of data, then graphically display any metrics we want in dashboards."



Chief Technology Officer, Socialize

Powerful analytics to leverage data

Splunk has empowered Socialize with the intelligence to meet the needs of advertisers, application developers and publishers, and to grow its business. The Splunk platform indexes 200 to 300 gigabytes of data every day and this is doubling every month. According to the CTO, "Splunk gives Socialize powerful analytics with which to leverage our data for business development, all without resorting to complex MapReduce routines. Analyses that once required weeks of laborious coding are now done in hours."

“Splunk gives Socialize powerful analytics with which to leverage our data for business development, all without resorting to complex MapReduce routines. Analyses that once required weeks of coding are now done in hours.”



Chief Technology Officer, Socialize

Real-time visibility and analytics

Building on the Splunk REST API to integrate at the application level for business intelligence, reporting and alerting, Socialize exposes Splunk data to its customers through highly customized dashboards reporting campaign metrics. Socialize plans to extend this intelligence gathering to all of its advertisers to deliver real-time visibility into every ad campaign.

Splunk is also an essential part of Socialize's real-time bidding operations. Splunk Enterprise forwards pre-computed aggregated data to a MySQL database every minute. The data is then put into an in-memory Memcached cluster that enables Socialize to respond to bidding requests within the 100 milliseconds time constraint of the RTB exchanges. Socialize utilizes Splunk Enterprise's analytics to determine the efficacy of campaigns and to make more informed bidding decisions. For example, it uses Google Maps for Splunk to identify the regions where users are most responsive. It then can target these regions for particular campaigns, yielding greater value and returns.

A valuable diagnostic tool

Thanks to the Splunk solution, Socialize enables publishers to capture and display all key metrics for their mobile apps in dashboards. The software also provides developers with event logs and machine-generated data for debugging their applications. Relying on the Splunk SDK for Python, the platform alerts developers of any issues in their applications' performance.

Similarly, Socialize's operational staff depends on Splunk software's reporting and notifications to ensure the firm's distributed IT infrastructure operates within prescribed thresholds. Additionally, the staff uses Splunk Enterprise as a diagnostic tool to check that a new hardware or software system is working properly before putting it into production. Because the Splunk platform automates the delivery of data to developers, Socialize's staff no longer has to manually support them, eliminating hours of tedious work routines to reduce costs and improve operational efficiency. The company’s CTO concludes, "The Splunk platform gives us the visibility, analytics and insights into our business that drive our success."