Australian startup Yacket launched in public beta this week to help people and companies get answers to any question on Twitter. The site lets brands, organizations, and individuals pose yes or no questions to their followers, and then Yacket collects data and demographic insights based on the amount of information individuals decided to reveal.
Aaron Smith said he created the site to help people not only get answers to their questions, but to get demographic data about the people who answered those questions. “I thought it was a bit crazy that there was no simple-to-use tool that would get a number to a question quickly. And then, the other side is that there is a whole load of demographic information as well, so people contribute information about themselves and in return they get that information about their question,” Smith said.
Yacket integrates with Twitter to let users post questions, and also uses hashtags and mentions to filter results and search for trends. Users sign on to the platform and are asked to provide personal data around six key areas: demographic (gender, age, generation), living situation (at home, buying, renting), relationship status (orientation, married, single), education (highest level), technology, and political/religious leaning. Based on what the user chooses to disclose, they then receive the same level of insight into the people who answer their questions. To protect the privacy of its users, Yacket only ever reveals the data as an aggregate.
Once signed up, users can then poll yes or no questions with hashtags or mentions, which are then Tweeted out to their followers. Others can “adopt” the question, which is analogous to retweeting something, but instead means sending the same question to their followers. As the question spreads, individuals can access the responses and the information of the people who responded.
Currently, the company’s focus is on growing its user base and discovering how they interact, use and adopt the platform. However, some of the options for monetization include paid questions, which would let brands and other organizations pose questions to a very specific set of user profiles for insights and responses. “The product can only be successful once it gains a significant number of users and traction. In order for it to work, an organization would need to be able to target quite specifically, but the reality is it’s quite early, we’re only at 25 percent of our planned feature set,” Smith added.
Surveying tools for individuals and brands can vary in depth and breadth of functionality, from web-based tools like SurveyMonkey to informal social media polls. However, the company isn’t the first to leverage Twitter as a polling tool, with companies like GoPollGo fairly established in the space and providing custom polls that go beyond yes or no questions, in addition to social debating sites like TwoSides. However, Yacket’s depth of user profile data could be of interest and prove to be valuable resource for a wide array of organizations, if users willingly see the benefits of the give and take behind the concept.
In order for Yacket to take off, it will have to convince users that getting access to demographic data about the people they poll is worth disclosing the same information themselves. Smith said that in the first few days of beta testing 66 percent of people entered personal information, which he said was higher than he anticipated. It will likely be brands who need the kind of profile data Yacket is offering, not the average user, so the company may be hard pressed to get people to reveal the amount of information the company needs to take off.