Actionable Insights from Big Social Data


I recently represented Kantar Media at the WPP Data Date Night. Joining me were (amongst others) Facebook, Uber, Amazon and Cannes Lions. Data Date Night is a WPP data community event where WPP-ers are exposed to and engaged around new and interesting ideas connecting big data and data-driven marketing.

I was asked to share examples of how we are helping clients unlock strategic insights from big social data.

First, it’s important to know:

  • Social media research reveals previously unknown insight.
  • Insight from social media informs your entire marketing activity, NOT just social media.
  • Automated tools ALONE do not deliver insight.

Social data is now an integral part of the research mix. The challenge is identifying the right data to derive insight, especially since we are always connected, liking, sharing, commenting; together creating vast amounts of data.


60 Seconds


Too often tools and analysis produces too much information and not enough insight for example:


Amazon 3

uber 3

This is interesting, but it is not insight! To uncover insights we need a process:

Speech                                             funnel

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Here are some stories to show how we have helped unlock strategic, actionable insights from big unstructured social media data and uncovered the #unknownunknowns:


Get your game face



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The insight can help with creative copy and getting the right message to the right audience. For instance, use the words and images this segment use to describe their problem “Canopy Control” and offer your product up as a solution:



Place adverts using their language on the most popular sites where your target audience reside:


Here is a Summary of what my Co-Presenters had to say:

  • Facebook told us it’s all about audiences; how their focus is on enabling advertisers to reach the right people. From a data perspective there are some big changes on the way. The new Topic Data Stream, a thin layer of aggregate data including non-public anon Facebook data, will be available soon. Lots of excitement on this, watch this space!
  • Uber head of data science showed how he is overlaying GPS data of taxis (which he says is still quite messy) with customer needs and time of day. The aim is to help taxi drivers better plan their routes around demand, creating win win scenarios for both passengers and taxi owners.
  • Amazon explained that people are more likely to buy something with one bad review than no reviews. They also showed how advertising and paid search on their e-commerce site can dramatically improve awareness and sales.
  • Cannes Lions were there to introduce a new Lion award for creative data. Great to see the importance of data being recognised at this prestigious event and we’re looking forward to seeing the entries. Deadline is the 24th April.

At the end of the night the big question was who owns the data? There are a multitude of data sources from Amazon, Google, Twitter, Facebook, the list goes on. And that’s not to mention client owned data. The challenge is using the right people, tools and sources (data) to help clients make better decisions in today’s “always on” world.

Andrew Nelson @AIFNelson
Director, Brand Insight