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ExciteM: Origins and History

ExciteM, a leader in interactive reserach and audience engagement, began as a way to help a college student wake up for his exams.

Brothers Belal and Baker Hummadi dreamed up the original idea over breakfast in 2011 as a way to help Baker, then a college student, to get out of bed. The concept of Snoozy.inc was for an automated calling system that would only stop making calls when the sleepyhead entered a specific code in the phone.

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When the brothers, who were both electrical engineers, researched how to make their plan a reality, they discovered a coding language that had other applications — including automated phone polling.

Their company had a new mission: to enable people gather data in real time. They used a robot dialer to call people and get them to use an interactive voice response system (IVR). This way researchers were able to gather information.

Shortly after building this product, the founders thought of developing their market research platform into a consumer-based product that people could use to poll their friends about places to go out and other recommendations.

With their creative product out in the market, Snooozy received the attention of a broadcasting group. The company was rebranded from Snooozy to ExciteM.

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The mission of ExciteM was to change the broadcast industry from being a one-way flow of communication to one where companies can inform, engage and analyze audience reactions, integrate that into a story and make broadcasting more inclusive. By creating a two-way communication, companies would have more engaged audiences. This would build customer loyalty backed with actual data.

On this page of their new story, the founders of ExciteM started modifying their product from being an outbound interactive voice response system to an inbound audience engagement system used primarily by TV stations. The audience submitted responses by texting or calling and the results were shown live on TV. The TV stations and networks could collect real-time data and feedback from their audiences and viewers could see how their votes influenced the stats on the screen and how they could help shape the broadcast. The product ensured very high audience engagement in a short period of time.

ExciteM’s first partner in this field was NBCUniversal. This partnership resulted in multiple successful campaigns.

After witnessing the success of the product as an audience response system, the Hummadi brothers started creating add-ons and expanding the feature set of the product.

The very first features were the addition of Facebook and Twitter as polling channels — places where votes can be collected, so that the company’s clients could enlarge their audience and engage them as well. The brothers also added APIs and a graphic system on TV to the SMS and IVR systems.

The second product launched by ExciteM was the contesting platform. It allowed customers to build contests and sweepstakes, collecting user generated content such as photos, videos, essays and more. The contests could appear on a Facebook page or be embedded into a website.

The third product by ExciteM was the Facebook Live studio. Later, Reaction Polls were developed as an addition to Facebook Live. With Facebook Live, the users can have a studio-like experience managing their livestreams. It features multi-page publishing, graphic overlays and complete reaction and comment statistics shown in real-time from Facebook.
 

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The initial mission of the Silicon Valley-based company has evolved through the years.

Now ExciteM’s mission is to be the leader in interactive market research and audience engagement. ExciteM’s clients can leverage tools such as surveys, polls, on-air graphics and cross-channel vote collection, poll scheduling and more to research their target audience and the market, drive educated decisions and shape their content based on strong data rather than intuition.

 



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