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What is social media analytics?

Expert.ai Team - 13 October 2016

Today, social media is often where “conversations” start and continue on a global level. Here, whether on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or one of the growing number of active social networks in use today by over 2.3 billion active users, there is no shortage of likes, dislikes, discussion of opinion and dissemination of information from everything to brands and products, to sports and politics. These platforms where people—ideally your present and future customers—express themselves in their own words is valuable information that can fuel intelligence for a variety of business functions.

Social media analytics is the process of analyzing social media data and content to provide insight from the millions of conversations taking place on Facebook, Twitter and more. This means identifying granular information from these conversations, comments and reactions, including the topics discussed, who is talking about it and how they are talking about it.

What is social media analytics? Topics, people, places

Social media analytics is particularly useful for brands that want to know what their customers or the market are saying about them on social media. Which of their products is being talked about the most? Is a brand getting a lot of attention in a particular geographical area? Social media analysis allows companies not only to be able to more effectively target their marketing, but even more importantly, it’s also an opportunity to provide real-time customer service, just by listening, in case things go wrong.

What is social media analytics? Trends, tipping points

The listening aspect of social media analytics can provide useful insight into how a product or service is being received (or if it’s being ignored), as well as identify trends or tipping points in consumer or market behavior. Many turned to social media to understand which side would prevail in this year’s Brexit vote, and social media analytics were particularly important to understand what happened, and how, after the fact. For example, we partnered with the University of Aberdeen to analyze the main topics and trends discussed around Brexit just a week before the vote (and we weren’t surprised at the outcome).

What is social media analytics? Emotion and sentiment

On social media, users frequently show how they feel, either through direct language but also through more indirect, nuanced expression. Social media analytics must be able to go further than measuring the polarity of positive vs. negative in social media content to identifying more complex attributes such as success, curiosity, etc. that can help indicate intent or give greater context to the sentiment expressed.

Understanding risk of social media analytics

Social media analytics is also of great value when it comes to understanding and assessing risk for both people and supply chains around the world. Analytics and monitoring of news outlets, political groups, state-affiliated organizations and key players often provide more nuanced and timely details than what can be gained from more official channels.


For more information on what social media analytics can reveal, take a look at one of our Expert IQ reports for analysis of the Brexit vote, Pope Francis’ visit to the United States, and more.