Social Media Analytics - A Threat on Personal Space

Posted in Marketing & Strategy Articles, Total Reads: 3406 , Published on 01 September 2014

With the rise in Social Media, the line between professional and personal is diminishing. We observe a paradigm shift in communication both on interpersonal and at a community level, all thanks to social networking sites.

In just 60 seconds, a plethora of activities take place on the online world. Here are few astounding facts that happen on social media every minute:

  • 2 million searches on Google.
  • On Facebook, 41,000 posts every day, 1.8 million likes and 350GB of data collected.
  • 278 thousands tweets on Twitter.
  • 11,000 professional searches take place on LinkedIn.
  • 1,04,000 photos shared on Snapchat.
  • 72 hours of video uploaded on YouTube.
  • On Instagram, 3,600 photos shared every second.
  • On Tumblr, 20,000 new photos are added.
  • Over 2000 Foursquare check-ins.

(source of information: Qmee 2013)

This means that many social media sites like Facebook, Twitter and YouTube generate massive amount of individual data like their likes, opinions, behaviour and other characteristics. This data would be unstructured, raw and pointless if there is no intelligence derived out of it. It has become imperative for digital marketers to actively listen to these conversations. Thus, the concept of “Social Media Listening” has emerged.

Social Media Listening helps in filtering the data to most revelant, importance and urgency.  It is also known as ‘Social Media Monitoring’ or ‘Social Media Engagement’. In simple terms, it is the act of using a social media tool to keep an eye on what is talked about on the Internet. Many social media tools like Radian6, Simplify360, Unmetric, Hootsuite, Oracle and the like help in listening by providing a centralised platform where all conversations are culled in from a variety of online sources such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, blogs, forums and other social networking sites. With the help of many free and paid tools, it is easier to cut through the noise and capture the right signal, in real-time.

Social Media Listening primarily helps brands in tracking mentions, providing resolutions and managing its repuation in the social space. Social Listening is the first step while considering social analytics.

Social Analytics is measuring, analysing, inferring digital interactions and connections between people, topics, ideas and content. While social listening helps in gathering, aggregating and conditioning data for presentation; analysing helps in generating a deeper insight of the data like sentiment, source distribution, total posts made and share of voice, to name just a few.

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There has been an exponential growth in social analytical tools. These tools provide more features to slice and dice the data thereby providing in-depth analysis. Tracking and monitoring becomes easier with the help of these tools as it acts as a single platform to guage the data from varied social media sites. Some of the free tools include Facebook Insights, Ice Rocket, Google Analytics and Twitonomy which gather platform specific data. Few popular paid tools include Crimson Hexagon, Adobe, Salesforce, Brandwatch which crawl the data from major social networking sites and provide a unified interface for analysis.

Key features of Social Analytics are:



Sentiment Analytics

Attempts to understand from social media posts how positively or negatively a company, brand, product or idea is perceived.

Share of Voice

The number of conversations about your brand vs. your competitors’/market.

World Cloud

Aggregate of the most popular words used.

Post Performance

Helps to identify what content is working and what is not working.

Source Mapping

Helps understand which social networking sites are resulting in more traction of noise.

Volume of the Post(Reach)

The actual or potential number of listeners a message may reach at some point in time.

Influencer tracking

Assessment of the followers who have the potential to spread a message to a wider network.

Some advanced social analytics techniques include text mining, semantic analyis, advance boolean keyword search, predictive modelling and recommendation and automated tagging of conversation, content, topic and people to reduce the noise clutter.

Social Analytics proves to add value in the following ways:

  1. Finding new leads
  2. Tracking influencers
  3. Managing reputation
  4. Creating a better pitch
  5. Addressing grievances
  6. Sales input
  7. Measuring the Social ROI
  8. Building CRM
  9. Decision-making process
  10. Campaign orchestration
  11. New product development and launch
  12. Customer advocacy

Social media analytics gives digital marketers a deeper customer insight to optimize the campaign to the right target audience. Analytics can also be done based on what are the current conversation trends about a specific brand or topic. This information would be useful while going for a sales pitch. Based on feedback from the customers through social analytics, new product development decisions are taken. It also helps in addressing customers complaints promptly.

The power of social analytics lies not just in resolving consumer complaints but also to enhance the customer sense. It is one step ahead of mere customer service. It helps to understand the overall health of a brand. More so, you can track conversations to identify leads and business opportunities by real-time listening and analyzing. Real-time social media analytics is used to identify the trends over time such as changes in sentiment, customer’s opinions, recommendation and preferences.

Tracking the brand advocate and reaching a wider audience can be possible through social insights. Through social analytics, it is possible for the marketers and developers to gauge which social networking sites are better for their purpose. It also acts as a basic for revenue generation through various campaigns insights. Social CRM is also possible by engagement with the customers and building a relationship using social media. It is also possible to predict customer behavior, thereby enhancing customer satisfaction.

The 5 C’s of Social Analytics

Social Media Marketing is a big revolution for marketing. As social media is becoming an essential part of our lives, data sharing has also seen to be on an increasing trend and that too open and public. But the major questions that need to be answered are privacy and reliability. I feel that social media doesn’t intrude into users privacy.

Let us take a hypothetical example in this case.

From the above image, it can be observed that people are easily sharing their live events on various social media sites.

So would it be right to interrupt someone else’s conversation? The answer is comes naturally as “No”. However, if there is something valuable to share which a person might find it relevant then it is “Ok”.

Many social media tools are only allowed to crawl into data which are publicly available. Therefore, all the content available is public anyway. Data about our likes and habits is captured in abundance by various tools.

Personal data helps the marketers to target the right audience. Personalized advertising is possible with the help of personal data. Many people don’t mind sharing their personal data by signing up to newsletters and other services.

Let us take a use case of Datacoup.

Datacoup, a New York based start-up, is in the view to becoming richer by selling insights mined from our personal data in exchange for money. It is running a beta trial in which people would get $8 a month in exchange for access to a combination of their social media accounts such as Facebook and Twitter, and the feed of transactions from a credit or debit card.

Many people already trade their personal data every day. By typing into Google’s search box, or using a grocery store loyalty card, or swiping a credit card, checking in through foursquare; in exchange, these customers get a free service or discount or sweepstake in return for letting marketers glean prized traces of their behavior.

“If a consumer wants to make an educated decision, they should be able to sell their data to who they want,” says Datacoup CEO and cofounder Matt Hogan.

The result of this beta trial was, almost 1,500 people signed up for this campaign.

(Case reference material:

I found this concept interesting. When most of our data is already being captured by many marketers, it would be a good option to earn from them. While there is an ongoing argument about whether the practice of collecting personal data is ethical, I think selling personal data makes sense because you know what is happening to your data and how an entity is using it and what the possible consequences are.

Another research by CISCO Connected World Technology Report indicates that, “Some 91% of Generation Y students and workers believe the age of privacy is over, while a third are unconcerned about the data that is captured about the.” It also says that more Generation Y workers globally said they feel more comfortable sharing personal information with retail sites than with their own employers' IT departments.

This shows that the attitude of the people are now changing in terms of voluntarily sharing their personal data on social media sites. One of the reasons for this could be the tangible benefit a customer gets from sharing his details. The sharing effects of social media and social networking provide a method of spreading messages beyond the instance of the message at a low incremental cost. Investment in social media analytics would be useful if it can assist digital marketers to act on customer information in a way that encourages ongoing engagement. Thus, Social Analytics is here to stay. It represents a key opportunity for brands to improve communication across the board.

The article has been authored by Saritha Iyer


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