2016: Integrating social and digital media insights

In February 2014, we predicted that companies would gradually move from monitoring to actionable insights from social media.

This prediction has come true. Social media data is now a recognised as a trusted source of consumer insights in many areas including customer experience, brand image, reputation tracking and campaign analysis, to name a few.


So what does the future hold for social media research? Here are our predictions for 2016.

1. Social media research is recognised as a discipline

To borrow words from an authority on the subject, Forrester: “Social intelligence —   consumer and business insights derived from social media channels used to drive business strategy and answer business questions — is a critical aspect of adaptive, customer-obsessed businesses.”  With courses being run for the Market Research Society around the subject and ESOMAR adding social media research into its pricing roster of research capabilities this year, the age of social media research is well and truly upon us.

2. New sources of insights

As an input to this article, I was reading recent predictions around social media marketing and one common thread of the past few years has been that social media is becoming increasingly private and Snapchat is taking over the conversation, especially among young millennials (those under 25).

Conversation being held privately is an ever increasing concern for social media research as a discipline because we rely on consumers continuing to express their thoughts and feelings in the open. Luckily, there are still plenty of conversations for us to mine to derive insights.

There are also new sources of insights for social media researchers to mine. There is an increasing focus on images as a medium, driven no doubt by the phenomenal growth of Instagram’s user base, especially among 16-24s. With several major social media platforms announcing the integration of image recognition techniques to their data collection, untagged images are the next frontier. As demonstrated in our recent blog post, meaningful insights can be derived from the analysis of image content.

Another potentially significant source is aggregated Facebook Topic Data, providing selected partners with access to public and private posts, likes, comments and shares. We see this as a source of leverage in 2016 to provide further context around brand launches, activations or segment markets through access to rich demographic profiles, among other applications.

3. Integrated insights

Social media insights can inform many aspects of the marketing mix, as we have demonstrated over the life of this blog, and not surprisingly lend themselves particularly well to informing and measuring the impact of online activations and communications. Together with insights from owned (web, mobile, social) and paid channels (search, advertising, social), connected social media insights help break down silos, provide context to metrics and validate findings. We have recently proved the value of uncovering consumer language through social media insights and using our findings to inform search strategy. This is only the beginning though…

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So here is to an insightful 2016!

Gaelle Bertrand, Head of Brand Insight, Precise