Reston-based Zoomph partners with sports teams, leagues to measure social media reach
With regionally based clients that range from the Washington Football Team and D.C. United – and national clients such as NASCAR and the Team Liquid e-sports league — Reston-based Zoomph created a digital measurement platform for social audience intelligence, and sponsorship measurement and evaluation.
A homegrown company, the concept for Zoomph began as a team within Reston-based MetroStar Systems, and spun out to forming an independent company in 2016.
While now focused on sports and e-sports clients, Zoomph started as a social media monitoring project with the State Department during the Arab Spring, a series of anti-government protests, uprisings, and armed rebellions that spread across much of the Arab world in the early 2010s, said Amir Zonozi, president of Zoomph.
“We were looking at the reaction in areas of the Arab Spring when people like Secretary Hillary Clinton would make a speech,” Zonozi explained. “But that capability wasn’t really possible in social media. So we had to build things to make that happen. They loved what we built and then they wanted more of it.”
Zoomph eventually pivoted to focusing on partnerships, business intelligence and research around digital marketing at sports, e-sports teams, leagues, brands and agencies. To gather this business intelligence, Zoomph utilizes innovative processes, such as artificial intelligence (AI).
“We have AI that tracks all of the media content, whether it’s an image, a video, a GIF,” Zonozi said. “We can also capture the assets. So we’re training AI to look at physical objects and understand the value of that physical object digitally.”
This process is unique, Zonozi said, because it evaluates social media on the basis focusing on the audiences, including niche audiences, as more than just purely impressions and engagements.
“We help understand those insights to tell that full picture of not only was this content well received, but who was it well received by. This helps these organizations understand the value of the attention that they’re generating with the audience that’s behind it,” said Zonozi.
When the pandemic shutdown resulted in a pause in fans returning to stadiums, Zonozi said it created an opportunity for sports and e-sports organizations to understand questions such as: Who is their digital audience? What is the value of their audience? How can they still provide their partners exposure that they’ve contractually promised them in front of this?
“So that made Zoomph a must-have in order to understand the digital landscape. It’s an honor for us to help these organizations navigate forward and understand where they make the biggest impact,” Zonozi said.
As a small company with about 25 employees, Zoomph is growing very quickly and Fairfax County is a great location for sourcing talent, he said.
“Fairfax County is such a great location for diverse talent,” Zonozi said. “What I love is you could walk through Tysons Corner Center and just hear three different languages within five minutes, and that just gives you so many different people. We have a philosophy that the best output comes from as much input as possible. So if you want diversity, this is the place.”
Part of that emphasis on diversity is connecting more women and girls with sports technology.
“There’s not a lot of women that that are in that industry,” Zonozi said. “What we’re trying to do is get more of that next generation interested in sports and technology. We really need the smartest people. And half the population is women, of course, and we selfishly want the smartest women at Zoomph.”
In addition to being a great place to source talent, Fairfax County is an ideal location for the company because of the proximity to Washington Dulles International Airport and Reagan National Airport, along with nearby access to Amtrak, according to Zonozi.
“There’s (also) tons of things to do within Fairfax, from Tysons Corner Center to Reston Town Center for employees to shop and engage and interact with others, community-based,” he added. “This is really the perfect place to be.”
And what about the origin of the name of the company? “It’s a mystery,” Zonozi said.