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Case Study: BrandTrackr

An aggregation and analysis platform that indexes web content sponsored or funded by the world's major brands

Screenshot of the BrandTrackr platform's main user-facing content search screen

BrandTrackr is a powerhouse insights resource for brand-funded content. Branded content is articles, videos, and other forms of media that a publisher receives sponsorship for. The BrandTrackr service aggregates this material, creating an index of online content that's been funded or created by a party external to the publisher.

Sales and creative teams use BrandTrackr's empowering search and analysis capabilities to discover opportunities, inspect where organisations are investing, and find partners in their industry. BrandTrackr's solution is the tool for anyone who publishes, develops, or consumes brand-funded content.

Heron Web built and delivered the entire BrandTrackr platform. Development began in early 2020 with the service launching later in the year. Regular ongoing enhancements have been made since.

A visual content solution

BrandTrackr's primary objective is to make branded content simple, convenient, and enjoyable to find. The interface is highly visual with the main Content search screen using a card-based layout to present critical information about each indexed article.

Screenshot of viewing content items in BrandTrackr

Comprehensive search filters, numerical data insights, and CSV downloads allow users to interrogate and manipulate information. Users can save combinations of filters for quick reuse in the future. A "Favourites" system is also available to mark brands and publishers of particular interest.

Selecting a content item initially displays its details in a quick overlay view. The user can see the media associated with the content, such as a full-page article screenshot or an embedded Facebook video.

Screenshot of a content item displayed in BrandTrackr

The BrandTrackr team provides a curated view of the data too. The Collections facility groups content items thematically, permitting quick browsing of topics related to the user's industry.

Screenshot of BrandTrackr's collections view

Comprehensive administration centre

The Admin Centre is the essential second half of the system. While it's never seen by public users, BrandTrackr staff members rely on the Admin Centre to manage and enter data about brands, publishers, industries, and content items.

Screenshot of the BrandTrackr content administration screen

Tabular views are provided to interact with each of the entities in the system. Robust filtering, sorting, search, and selection capabilities are included.

The Admin Centre is also where BrandTrackr's dedicated content discovery team adds new material to the database. Several convenience features prefill information where possible, detect existing duplicates, and guide accurate data input. When a new content item is saved, a screenshot capture is scheduled using BrandTrackr's integrated capture system.

Screenshot of BrandTrackr's content data entry screen

Besides these content-oriented functions, the Admin Centre also exposes user account and system maintenance controls. It's a complete management plane for the BrandTrackr service.

Technical challenges

Several unique technical considerations affected BrandTrackr's development. There were challenges in producing a design that would be clean, uncluttered, and visually appealing while still surfacing the detailed data that BrandTrackr provides. The card-based layout proved the most optimal solution, allowing frequently used details about content items to remain visible at-a-glance.

Performance was another recurring problem: with over 50,000 content items and thousands of brands and publishers, maintaining rapid search and filtering with arbitrary user-defined conditions required several iterations. The internal data schema is relatively complex and individual users may possess specific account-level constraints, such as only having access to three months of data, or only the data from specific publishers.

BrandTrackr also allows user-level modification of displayed data values. Some organisations perceive a brand to operate in a different industry to its assigned one; for example, Microsoft could be labelled as an Electronics company but viewed as a Software business by a particular BrandTrackr customer. An overrides system allows this perception to be recognised so the customer sees content from Microsoft when they search in the Software industry, but not when they look at the Electronics industry. This is a further source of complexity that required significant optimisation efforts.

One of BrandTrackr's important administration components is its screenshot capture system. Newly added content items are automatically captured. The process runs periodically and has been developed especially for BrandTrackr, to maximise reliability. This eliminates the administration burden of manually taking and uploading screenshots, which would drain human resources when hundreds of content items can be added in a day.

BrandTrackr is a software system that necessitated a bespoke development approach. Heron Web can deliver the unique solutions you require, whether to sell as a service to customers, or for use inside your organisation. Please contact us today if you'd like our input on your own software project.

Screenshot of the BrandTrackr.com homepage

The BrandTrackr service is commercial software that BrandTrackr licenses to customers. Visit BrandTrackr.com to enquire as a prospective customer. Please note Heron Web is not involved with BrandTrackr's business operations and cannot assist its customers.

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