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MasterCard's Conversation Suite: Bringing Insights and Analytics to Social

Entered in Social Media Tool


MasterCard sought to increase the company's social share of conversation among key stakeholder audiences in owned and select online channels; increase online engagement among key stakeholder audiences and influencers with the MasterCard brand and; improve MasterCard's ability to react and engage in real time to online conversations relevant to its brand and industry.

To move beyond traditional "listening", MasterCard created the Conversation Suite – a dynamic, global insights and engagement engine that shifted the company from monitoring social and traditional media to applying purposeful listening to inform business decisions and foster more impactful engagement.

From mobile payments to the shift to EMV, cross functional teams within MasterCard globally engage in purposeful listening which is helpful to inform business decisions. Conversation Suite data and insights aid in execution of real-time communications- whether in identifying and responding to an issue via MasterCard's customer service Twitter handle, @AskMasterCard, or leveraging insights to help inform new product launches.

Strategy and Execution

MasterCard also built a number of content-led social channels to support its social engagement objectives and establish a more distinct, accessible voice and online brand identity to interact with consumers in the online community.

Three years ago, MasterCard CEO Ajay Banga challenged his team to transform the 45+-year-old B2B financial services giant into a more consumer-focused payments technology company. From a communications standpoint, MasterCard was squarely B2B, so there was an opportunity to shift engagement online and develop a direct relationship and dialogue with consumers and influencers. Early data revealed more than 30 million online conversations weekly related to MasterCard and its industry, but MasterCard was engaged in just 1 percent of those discussions. Further, commerce – the center of MasterCard's business – was shifting online and increasingly via social media channels.

In response, MasterCard built the Conversation Suite.

The Conversation Suite is a Web-based analytics tool supported by a global team of social experts that monitor, analyze, and engage in conversations around the world, in real-time, 24/7. The data mining and analysis serves as a foundation for communications decision-making, helping set the communications roadmap, enabling active response and engagement, and serving as a barometer and resource to the business. It also takes physical form with hubs at Corporate Headquarters in Purchase, NY, as well as in Toronto, Miami, Mexico, and Brazil, along with a mobile version. The innovative space, comprising a 40-foot LED screen that features a 'live' look at conversations shaping the brand, provides a creative venue for discussion and ideation around the MasterCard story.

Powered by a customized, proprietary platform designed by PRIME Research, it comprises a global set of tools in 56 markets and 27 languages. The platform spans the most popular social media channels, including Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube, as well as traditional and online media, blogs, forums, and bulletin boards.

These tools provide real-time updates and put data/conversation into a set of standard dashboards that are categorized by themes and business unit keywords and industry topics. The tools are also designed for ad-hoc search and analysis similar to Google search.

Additionally, MasterCard Communications engineered the platform to go beyond serving as a communications tool to fuel insights that not only drive better business, but also better partnerships. In fact, MasterCard launched the Partner Plus program, which allows MasterCard Communications to share with partners, including issuers and merchants, Conversation Suite data and insights relevant to their businesses and industries. It also works collaboratively with partners to develop and implement joint social media programs informed by the platform.

Conversation Suite data and insights aid in execution of communications campaigns in real time – whether by identifying and responding to an issue or by facilitating creative opportunities to position the brand with media, influencers, and consumers.

Since implementing the Conversation Suite, MasterCard is exposed to 40MM+ people per week globally and engages directly with almost 200K people per quarter through social media. . Over 500K pieces of unique content is created quarterly which exposed the brand 1.3B times to people over 2014 alone.

Over the past year 1.8MM users contributed to telling the MasterCard story, while 79% of conversations were independent of competitors.

The physical Conversation Suite has become a coveted destination for MasterCard employees, heightening awareness of the importance of the millions of online conversations shaping the brand and industry and serving as a flexible space for brainstorming and information sharing. The Conversation Suite has helped to evolve the company culture to be more open and collaborative, demonstrated best-in-class engagement within the industry, and met the challenge of transforming MasterCard into a more consumer-focused, aware, and insights-led technology payments company.


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