Social Market Analytics

Learn how Social Market Analytics helps companies gain a competitive edge using ServerCentral’s cloud.

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Social Market Analytics (SMA) was founded in early 2012 to create actionable intelligence from unstructured data. The company’s patented technology has the ability to harness unstructured, yet valuable information embedded in social media streams and provide actionable intelligence in real time.

Financial Services
Chicago, IL


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A significant challenge for any business is finding and leveraging competitive advantages before others even know they exist. This is precisely what Chicago-based Social Market Analytics (SMA) delivers to asset managers, hedge funds and brand managers who rely on it daily to make smarter investment and strategic decisions.


Social Market Analytics (SMA) analyzes the constant stream of social media data to predict where the market or brands are headed.

Beginning with stock ticker information, the company’s patented technology has grown beyond the ever-present $AAPL and $GOOG to include a rapidly evolving Sentiment Engine: a real-time tracking and alerting tool that helps financial and brand professionals understand the underlying sentiment around a company, product, brand or market.

Challenge #1: An Incredible Amount of Data

Social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, SnapChat, and even industry-specific networks like StockTwits, represent a significant portion of people’s online experience today.

They also generate an incredible amount of data:

Every day, there are:

  • 500 million tweets published on Twitter
  • 500,000 new Facebook users
  • 85 million photos and videos added to Instagram

As the provider of the most innovative platform to analyze sentiment within social media data, SMA is faced with the ongoing requirement to scale datasets, compute, storage and network capacity faster than their customers can think of new ways to use the data.

While SMA’s data sets massively grow in both size and complexity, so, too, must the infrastructure that processes it.

Challenge #2: An Incredible Amount of Data Value

For SMA, the goal is about much more than data collection:

“Our customers want to know what, specifically, is in our datasets as well as how we measure, analyze and test the validity of various aspects of sentiment,” said SMA. “Once they understand the foundations, these financial and brand professionals take these data and use it in their own unique ways. We have very limited visibility into how they actually do this until they come back and ask us for help in answering a specific question. At that point, we roll up our sleeves and get to work alongside customers to determine the best way to use the data to answer their questions.”

At the end of the day, SMA’s customers are all seeking alpha in the name of differentiation and competitive advantage.

“Back in 2012 and through 2014, really, it was about stock symbols. We were exclusively focused on the continuous improvement of our sentiment analysis and the rigorous back-testing of this analysis,” said SMA. “One of the first evolutions of this analysis and testing is our pre-market Edge Reports: a valuable way for our customers and for us to verify that we have the proper data with the proper algorithms, and accurately reflect sentiment tilting.”

Introducing Sentiment Engine

From this foundation came Act Two: SMA’s Sentiment Engine. The Sentiment Engine is designed to handle non-purchasable elements like interest rates and brand names, bringing the same value to brand managers that financial professionals have enjoyed for the past 5+ years.

“The focus on creating alpha moved beyond sentiment associated directly with ticker symbols.”


“This expanded focus and brought keywords like Fed hike, Fed meetings, interest rates, and many others into play so that the broader context of the market can be engaged,” said SMA. “It is all about helping our customers create their own dashboards and models to see what’s happening— and validate their models and hypotheses.”

A Growing Audience

In addition to expanding the capabilities available to financial professionals, SMA’s Sentiment Engine opened the door, widely, to brands and brand managers, as they were now able to build and test very specific models that reflect the most comprehensive sentiment analysis available for their brands.

With this rapidly expanding market opportunity, infrastructure requirements continued to increase along with it.

“As our customer base continued to expand, and the sophistication of their use of the platform grew, it became critical for us to provide 100% infrastructure SLAs and, specifically, have always-on connectivity to data providers and to customers,” said SMA. “If we’re not connected, we’re not in business. Period.”

“If we’re not connected, we’re not in business. Period.”


Solution: ServerCentral Cloud Migration, Enterprise Cloud, Managed Network

ServerCentral’s Managed Services team successfully migrated SMA’s data and core processing services from a third-party data center to ServerCentral’s Enterprise Cloud.

“Our objective was to execute this virtual migration in a seamless fashion,” stated George Nelson, Director of Managed Services at ServerCentral. “The criticality of market data is obvious. Factor in the unique nature of social media-driven data being always on, and the concept of a standard migration or maintenance window was no longer applicable. All SMA data connections and services had to remain online and available throughout the cloud migration.”

“SMA made their high standards very clear. Nothing short of a robust, always-on platform would be good enough for their clients.”

Lauren Hood

Account Manager at ServerCentral


“All SMA data connections and services had to remain online and available throughout the cloud migration.”

George Nelson

Director of Managed Services at ServerCentral

Today, ServerCentral manages a production cloud out of its flagship data center in Elk Grove Village, IL, and the backup and R&D clouds from ServerCentral’s presence in the world’s largest data center at 350 E. Cermak, Chicago, IL.

ServerCentral additionally provides managed network connectivity for SMA to data partners, the Internet, and critical customers. The architecture setup provides dynamic capacity with unparalleled speed and resiliency as demand changes and is optimized for improved security and overall application performance.

Looking Ahead

“Having a partner like ServerCentral to handle all aspects of our cloud and network connectivity—including data store redundancy, application migrations and state of the art network security—who clearly understands the importance of our SLAs, is critical to our success,” said SMA. “It’s cliché to say we can now focus only on our work, on our applications and research —but we can, and we do.”

“It’s cliché to say we can now focus only on our work, on our applications and research—but we can, and we do.”


“As our Sentiment Engine continues to improve daily in measuring degrees of positivity and negativity compared to coarse, up and down, measures from first generation sentiment analytics, and as our work on index development with partners such as Cboe Global Markets (Cboe) continues, we will be engaging current and new customers in many exciting ways,” said SMA. “Working as closely with George, Lauren and the entire ServerCentral team as we do with our customers and data partners is a solid foundation for our success.”