5 Signs that Social Listening and Social Analytics are Gaining Traction in Market Research

5 Signs that Social Listening and Social Analytics are Gaining Traction in Market Research

On October 26th I participated at the first Research Analytics: Digital Advance Research (RA:DAR) symposium in New York, organised by ESOMAR. The symposium took place at a superb venue in the AOL offices; a 21st century conference venue with live streaming capability. I think the future of conferences, as such, will be to combine physical and virtual presence of delegates who can interact with the speaker and audience regardless of whether they are in the room or at their desk anywhere in the world.

I had the privilege to chair the social listening session which was more of an interactive session that helped the delegates better understand how:

  1. irrelevant social media posts are eliminated from a search on social media about a specific product category
  2. to create a hierarchical taxonomy
  3. to train a machine learning algorithm to predict brand sentiment

Two case studies were presented by Norine McDonald from ICOS and David Rabjohns from Motivequest; with the latter winning the “best presentation” award for his presentation on how Prius increased its sales 88% above expectations. 

My impression from this meeting and other recent interactions is that we are getting closer and closer to making social listening a mainstream discipline, suitable for multiple verticals and use cases in market research. The following 5 signs support this impression: 

  1. the few market research end-clients at the symposium reached out and asked lots of questions, and some even proposed a one to one meeting to further explore possibilities 
  2. market research agencies from different countries mentioned that more and more clients are asking them to integrate social listening and analytics in their research projects
  3. a pilot with a blue-chip multinational and  a multinational market research agency is under way to establish the correlation between the net promoter score(NPS)  from their monthly surveys and DigitalMR’s net sentiment score (NSS) from social media monitoring
  4. a project was commissioned for a private equity firm who want to conduct commercial due diligence on a company they are considering to acquire
  5. two regional market research agencies in LATAM recently became partners of DigitalMR in order to offer listening247® to their clients

There are varying opinions about the total spend on social listening, ranging from US$ 600 million to over US$ 1 Billion. Of course we do not know how much of this is  for consumer insights, versus the already established spend on social media monitoring tools for PR purposes. This is still a small fraction of the US$ 60 Billion spent on market research globally. The observed social traction however, indicates that this amount will grow exponentially during the coming years.


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