Microsoft Power BI Turns Its Analytical Lens on Reddit

Businesses can use the new Power BI template to examine how well their brands are being received on the heavily trafficked online discussion website.

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Microsoft already supplies templates that brands can use to gauge their popularity on Twitter and Facebook using Power BI, the company's cloud-based business intelligence and analytics platform. Now, it has added another influential website to the mix.

The new Brand Management and Targeting on Reddit template, developed using APIs from social data specialist SocialGist, allows companies to keep track of how many times their brands and products are mentioned on the massive online discussion site, along with other insightful metrics.

"The Reddit solution template suite combines AI [artificial intelligence] with interactive visual analytics to reveal how different brands are performing across the Reddit platform, from companies and CEOs down to individual products," said Justyna Lucznik, a Power BI program manager at Microsoft, in a blog post. "Behind the scenes, it uses Azure services and technologies from Microsoft AI and Research to support rich exploration by sentiment levels, key words, and author communities."

In addition to tracking mentions, the template can be used to create reports that hone in on the communities that discuss a company's products—Reddit users typically visit and subscribe to so-called "subreddits" that reflect their interests—and identify influencers, Lucznik added. Of course, the template also allows users to perform the analyses on their competitors.

And there is no shortage of communities that users can glean information from, according to Reddit's Alex Riccomini, director of business development and media partnerships at the discussion site. Each month, 330 million users share news stories, opinions, images, videos and countless other forms of online content, and show their support or disapproval (via "upvotes" and "downvotes," respectively), on the site's 138,000 communities, she said.

Reddit-based Power BI workbooks include an overview of a selected brand along with the key communities and influencers that are discussing it on the platform. The Targeting and Activation workbook allows users to determine the strength of a community's or influencer's relationship with a brand while the Advanced Analytics workbook enables users to search for deeper insights.

The Brand Management and Targeting on Reddit template for Power BI is available here. According to Microsoft's cost estimator, businesses can expect to pay just over $200 per month in Azure services over the cost of Power BI to run the solution.

Microsoft also recently updated its Power BI Desktop client software. In the latest release, authors can use the software's Q&A feature to add the charts and other visualizations it generates to their reports.

Q&A allows users to ask questions of the underlying data in a Power BI dashboard or report just as they would a colleague or chatbot. Using AI, the software then automatically produces an answer, along with data point, chart, table or other visualization that illustrates the result.

"Once your visual is made, you can use it the exact same way as a normal Power BI visual, changing fields around and formatting it to match your report's style," blogged Amanda Cofsky, a Power BI program manager.

Pedro Hernandez

Pedro Hernandez

Pedro Hernandez is a contributor to eWEEK and the IT Business Edge Network, the network for technology professionals. Previously, he served as a managing editor for the network of...