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Strike a Chord: Is Banjo Your Next Secret Weapon for Social Media? editorial staff editorial staff

The Banjo app reports on what is happening right now, anywhere. It mines social media content based on geographic location. An opportunity?

Banjo social media homepageImage via

What can your business pluck from Banjo? Just about anything happening anywhere in the world, gleaned in real-time from tweets, Facebook updates, Instagram photos and other social media.

Banjo founder and CEO Damien Patton told Vegas Inc. that if someone hits a fire hydrant that forces a road closing, the only person who knows about it before Banjo is the person driving the car that hit the hydrant and posted a photo of the accident.

What started in 2011 as an app to search for geo-located social media posts has evolved from a means to grab data to a global analytics tool. A self-learning algorithm provides what Patton terms a “crystal ball” to view aggregated social media data from a specific geographic area and search for either a pattern or an abnormality in an established pattern.

According to The Wall Street Journal, a grid of 35 billion football-sized squares is overlaid on a world map. Whenever a new image is shared on the web or tagged to a specific location within a given grid, Banjo software classifies it and tracks it. When Banjo detects an abnormality or responds to a search request, it posts visual pins to the grid and transmits continually updated feeds relevant to the tracking. Using the Banjo app on your smartphone, you can see all the related trending events in real time.

Banjo App screengrabsImage via Fast Company

Peering Into a Virtual Crystal Ball

This process involves about a quadrillion computations every 10 seconds. If that isn’t mind boggling enough, Banjo plans to offer even greater tracking power by increasing its processing speed to a quadrillion computations a second, as well as augmenting social media feeds with other sources, such as weather data and satellite images.

Using Banjo, you can cover breaking news anywhere in the world without reporters or other resources on the ground. Banjo started to make its reputation for this use when, based on a single tweet, it broke news of a shooting at Florida State University ahead of the news media.

Sinclair Broadcasting, with 162 television stations in 79 markets, is currently using Banjo in eight of its stations and plans to roll it out further, News Media Solutions reports. Banjo also partners with BBC, NBC and Fox, according Tech Crunch.

Banjo recently announced $100 million in funding from Softbank. According to its press release, the investment will help Banjo move beyond “social signals” to attempt to know and understand everything, about any location, at any time.

Banjo is Playing Your Brand’s Tune

Do you know what your brand is? Banjo does.

Fortune reports on Banjo’s enterprise service to keep tabs on where products and brand logos appear in specific places and how people interact with them. More than half of videos and photos posted on social media lack meaningful text descriptions or tags that could identify the use of a product or brand display its location. The power of Banjo is its computational ability to not only identify a brand or product displayed on an image, even if the original poster did not, but aggregate these images to report on an event in real-time.

You could, for example, look at selfies posted while people wait in line for some event, then look to see how many of them are wearing t-shirts with your company logo on them. Budweiser uses Banjo to drive social media feeds to determine the success of its "House of Whatever" marketing campaign, and identify issues with line length or find out if a sponsored concert is well received.

Some 30 companies currently pay for this service. As Banjo expands and further refines its software, SMBs can expect an affordable option for their needs. In the meantime, the free consumer app provides you with access to unfolding news stories that can help you assess if your brand is popping up at certain desirable places, e.g., a store opening or business expo.

Speaking of branding, in case you’re wondering what connection there is between Banjo the company and the actual instrument, there isn’t any. According to Adweek, Patton wanted a single name in the tradition of tech giants Amazon and Apple. Banjo is real word, is easy to pronounce, is instantly recognizable and is short. No strings attached.

Image Credit: ViewApart / Getty Images editorial staff editorial staff Member
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