It wasn't so long ago that social media analytics meant looking at one-off engagements—fans, followers, likes—and using this info to make major campaign decisions. That was the first generation of social marketing. Today, we're entering the third generation, and the landscape has never looked more exciting.
The realms of both digital marketing and customer care have moved beyond the Web to social media, and marketers have incredibly advanced technologies at their disposal. Business leaders are asking for ROI and getting it thanks to social data. Likewise, crises can be detected—and averted—before they spin out of control. This is why tomorrow's CMO is today's digital marketer.
Sixty-three percent of marketers plan on devoting more resources to analytics during the next year, while a paltry six percent currently consider themselves leaders in that area, according to the CMO Council's State of Marketing 2014 report. That means that marketers are still overvaluing old social metrics and have not yet mastered the technological capabilities available to them.
To successfully lead in social media—and hence in digital marketing—marketers need a strategy based on accuracy and speed using sophisticated real-time tools. Next-generation social analytics reveals not just who is engaging with your brand and what they're engaging with, but why they're engaging. The result creates a real value by measuring whether a campaign worked based on data and ROI.
Here are five examples of what next-generation social analytics can do for your brand:
1. Boost campaign performance in real-time
Intelligent analytical tools like what we offer at Netbase raise red flags when your campaigns underperform. If you're seeing limited results from a call to action for a flash sale, for instance, next-gen data will assist in crafting a message that's more aligned with the sort of content that's demonstrably engaging your customers. If you've enjoyed a successful campaign, social analytics will help you identify the difference-making facets, such as: Did your audience respond emotionally to the content of your video ad? Did they get excited about your product? Or did they watch the whole ad just because they liked the music? Using information like this to make real-time adjustments to a campaign can have an enormous impact on the overall outcome.
2. Discover what influences your customers' purchases
Ok, so most companies already pay attention to customer feedback via tweets, Facebook comments and so on. That's important, but it only scratches the surface of what's available. The next step is learning what motivates customer purchases. Progressive marketers already use tools that let them use this type of customer data to influence point-of-purchase strategy, brand positioning, product development and more. For example, by using a next-gen tool to analyze chatter across social channels, one consumer packaged goods company discovered that one of its beverages was routinely perceived as a reward for a good workout. This led to product placement near the exit of health clubs.
3. Get an edge on the competition
By monitoring your competitors and their audience, you can react to what's going on in an effort to capture market share. For example, if the competition releases a new product and customers are dissatisfied, this is an opportunity to target those users. Competitive benchmarking is easy with third-generation social technology. It's possible to know who has the highest share of voice, the happiest consumers or the biggest impact from promotions, PR or launches.
4. Fix problems before they escalate
Financial analysts are already using next-gen social analytics to predict future brand performance. Credit Suisse partnered with NetBase to compile sentiment data on handbag designers. The bank then uses the reporting to help steer investment recommendations to clients. As the New York Times noted in its coverage, the report challenged conventional wisdom about which brands to back. So if Wall Street is already relying on next-gen data for forecasting, surely marketers should pay attention, too. And not just marketers—every department is a stakeholder in customer experience. Aggregating negative brand commentary across channels can compel immediate action and reprioritization for any number of teams.
5. Learn about customers' interests outside your brand
Lenovo experienced a 40 percent lift in conversions after designing customized banner ads according to behavioral data. For example, "Saturday Night Live" lovers and business magazine subscribers were served different ads than country music-loving "Amazing Race" fans. If you're surprised or skeptical that those arbitrary-seeming audience segments would shop for computers in different ways, that's precisely the point. In contrast to showing funny videos because your social analysis shows they're generally popular, you can engage effectively with different customer segments by tapping into next-gen analytical data that's telling you something you didn't already know.