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Microsoft Case Study: Discourse Analytics Builds Demographic Profiles, Boosts Business with Consumer Insight App

In 2011, startup Discourse Analytics launched Votifi, a peer-to-peer network for voter engagement that uses a mobile polling and web-based platform to capture respondents’ political views in real time. “We created an online community that facilitates political exploration and network building,” says Cofounder and Chief Executive Officer Lou Aronson. “Members can participate in daily online polls through their computers or mobile phones, engage with other members about political issues, and read our site’s curated content.”

Discourse Analytics used Votifi to build a profile of each user’s access of political content on the site and what they share based on predictive algorithms that sort members by issue preference and leaning. “The voter insights we develop provide a deep understanding of the motivation behind their convictions,” says Aronson. “For those who volunteer to be polled, we market that data to political campaigns, advocacy groups, and media companies.”


Votifi cofounders wanted to broaden its business potential. “We soon saw the value of extending our methodology to understanding consumer behavior,” says Aronson. “So we started looking at how we could market consumer insight and analytics in a commercial arena.”

Discourse Analytics needed a standards-based platform that offered greater scalability and interoperability with potential social media partners and customers, and a computing platform that embraced mobility. “The key to our business model is the ability to identify and connect with users across multiple channels and computing scenarios,” says Aronson. “The more we can engage people on multiple platforms, the more data we can capture, model, and market. We needed the right computing ecosystem to serve our needs.”

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