Cision acquires ShareIQ visual recognition technology

This marks Cision's tenth acquisition since it merged with Vocus in 2014.

Cision CEO Kevin Akeroyd
Cision CEO Kevin Akeroyd

CHICAGO: Cision has acquired the visual recognition technology of Berlin-based company ShareIQ.

The technology will allow Cision clients to track image content downloaded and shared across websites, blogs, and social media. This will help clients to understand what content performs best, and monitor how it’s manipulated and where it’s placed.

The visual recognition technology can also identify the influencers using a brand’s imagery and logo, while watching which ones are using the images most effectively.

Lastly, it can understand the followers themselves, providing information on how many people viewed the content, who viewed it, how many shared it, and who shared it.

Previously, Cision could only track text- and hashtag-based content.

ShareIQ doesn’t store the images. It "hashes" the images into a kind of digital fingerprint, explained David Barker, Cision’s president of data solutions and innovation.

Barker’s team will continue to build out the platform and add new capabilities.

"We can recognize the images as they propagate and basically build what is a ‘share tree’ and see how the image flows from, say, Vogue.com, and how it’s propagated through social media," Barker said.

Using this hashing prevents performance issues, as ShareIQ doesn’t store the image itself; this allows the platform to scale more easily, he added. More than a trillion hashes are in the platform.

"When a client uploads an image, we just match it against our existing dataset," Barker said.

Eventually, Cision will fully integrate ShareIQ into its Cision Communications Cloud product. Integrating ShareIQ into clients’ workflow will take place over the next four to six months, Barker said. With Cision owning its technology assets, ShareIQ will be dissolved.

Increasingly, Cision has been filling out its ranks with people with adtech backgrounds, said CMO Chris Lynch. Adding people like Barker, an Oracle alum, to its workforce has allowed the business to grow organically. However, Cision has also acquired ten companies, including ShareIQ, since 2014 when it was combined with Vocus.

"The goal really is to deliver on that idea that earned media should be a data-driven science," Lynch said.

Financial details of the deal weren’t disclosed. It was finalized on July 23. Additional details will be discussed during Cision’s earnings call on August 8. Earn-out periods for ShareIQ founders Bernhard Weisshuhn and Brian Killen are still being worked out.

Cision and ShareIQ previously worked together on client engagements over the past eight months, Barker said.

In Q1 2018, Cision reported 2% revenue growth, with total revenue up 23% to $179.3 million.

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