Social Media Analytics for Digital Marketing: The Need to Look Beyond the Statistics

social media analytics

The Indian middle class is becoming increasingly urbanized, with regular access to opinions and trends from around the world through the Internet. There is a big opportunity and a very urgent need for marketers to engage the urban Indian on the Internet. Also, not surprisingly, with the explosive rise in mobile penetration, the rural Indian is not too far behind.

With information and reviews quickly and increasingly moving to social networks, people are now more empowered and in a better position to judge and decide. For marketing strategists, simply knowing so much more about their target audiences through their social conversations, puts them in an excellent position to develop focused campaigns that resonate with each individual – something that wasn’t possible a few years ago.

The Social Media Revolution Is Spreading

Brands and companies around the world have already started leveraging the power of big data analytics on social data to make their campaigns more effective and relevant. But this is not limited to just reaching out to consumers.

Google India released a study in October last year titled ‘Urban Indian Voters’, compiled to understand the impact of the Internet in the upcoming Lok Sabha elections. 42 percent of the urban Indian voters were undecided about whom to vote for, and with this population today spending an enormous amount of time online, the Internet will play an important role in influencing this largely undecided population.

Police forces across the country are waking up to the misuse of social media, but are also looking closely at how social media can be used for effective community outreach, scotching rumors and identifying potential flashpoints.

In an earlier case study on Chennai Express, we demonstrated the power of using big data analysis techniques in a marketing campaign. Critical actionable insights derived from the social response to its digital campaigns was used by the marketing team to ensure that the buzz was sustained for weeks after the movie’s release, resulting in a direct positive impact on the movie’s collections.

Unfortunately, most social media watchers rely on largely superficial statistical information that encourages a false sense of confidence in the marketing strategy, while denying digital marketing strategists the tools needed to dig deeper into what the social networks are desperate to reveal!

The 4A Approach to Digital Marketing

A successful digital marketing strategist needs to be able to quickly zoom into relevant feedback contained in the millions of social conversations on the Internet, and use these insights to design, fine tune and execute marketing campaigns. While there are enough tools for processing social data, what digital marketers sorely miss are the deep dives that can be used for actionable insights.

Levels of engagement
Fig: Digital Marketing Strategy should be based on the 4A Levels of Engagement

Brand managers need to be able to take users up the 4A levels of engagement – from aware to active, and from addicted to amplified. With each level comes a different set of techniques that work, and others that, at best, can be a big waste of time and money, and in some cases, cause serious damage to the brand.

While technology provides a solid decision making framework, expert insights are critical for a coordinated and successful digital marketing strategy. These insights need to be culturally and contextually relevant, and to achieve this, the marketing team has to have an ear on the ground and understand every nuance while providing recommendations. This is an art as much as it is a science.

The Top 5 Deadly Oversights

Here are some of the most common mistakes digital marketing strategists make, primarily due to an over dependence on superficial statistics provided by off the shelf social media analysis tools:

1. Over dependence on social data. While social networks provide interesting insights, the real benefits for brands lie in understanding the correlation of the social media buzz with other enterprise data including CRM, sales and customer service logs.

2. Limiting analysis to high level sentiment analysis and geographical hotspots. It is critical to be able to drill down to specific data points, and quickly provide actionable insights for the fine tuning of the campaigns and responses.

3. Not paying attention to crisis management, until it is too late.

4. Not exploiting the network of key influencers, fan clubs and brand advocates for greater reach and positive sentiment.

5. Not paying attention to what competitors are up to.

A Big Data Framework For Social Listening

Big data platforms like Hadoop and Hive provide the computing infrastructure needed for detailed analysis of the humungous amount of social data generated on the Internet today.

In addition to statistics, a good social listening platform uses carefully calibrated metrics to gauge engagement levels of the audience. Once the framework is set up, data is pulled at scheduled intervals from the configured data sources and sent to the data ingestor for filtering, noise cleanup and co-relation. It is then pushed to big data clusters, where different data processors chew out insights – Sentiment & Mood Analysis, Campaign Optimization, Competition Analysis and Influencer Targeting, to name a few.

Fig: The eMee Social Media Radar
Fig: The eMee Social Media Radar

This is complemented by advanced data analysis by social data scientists to provide ‘Actionable Insights’ to brand managers.

Wrapping Up

As brands, celebrities and political parties try to differentiate themselves on digital platforms and social media, the use of advanced analytics and big data tools in the designing of effective digital marketing strategies is becoming crucial.

Technological innovations enable a holistic 360 degree approach to digital media campaigns – the use of digital media properties such as social networks, mobile apps and websites, combined with insights from social data scientists to multiply campaign effectiveness. By leveraging the insights gained from these analyses, brand managers can make more engaging digital campaigns and ensure the buzz around their brand is bigger and made to last longer.

Featured Image  Courtesy:  gurmeen22

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Siddhesh Bhobe is Chief Architect of eMee, a unique gamification and social media-focused customer engagement platform developed by Persistent Systems. Siddhesh is exploring the use of game elements coupled with advanced big data analytics and social tools to increase engagement between brands and audiences. He believes this innovative approach will fundamentally change the way brands engage with their fans and audiences. Siddhesh can be reached at [email protected] or through his Twitter handle @siddheshb.
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