Social Media Analytics and Big Data ROI

eMarketer wrote a brief piece on linking digital data to ‘big data’ that caught my eye with some interesting research from the New York Marketing Association.

While I have written hundreds of pages on social media analytics in the past, I’m still troubled by the focus of social media being directed/controlled/managed within the marketing silo.

I’m hoping the trend of social business (instead of social marketing) will continue in the direction it is heading, but I fear that the core issues of properly identifying analytics that count are still outside the reach of 99.9% of marketing executives (and outside 99.99% of business executives in general.)


The #1 Problem of Social Media Analytics

social media analysisAccording to the survey, the number one obstacle of measuring ROI of marketing is lack of sharing data across the organizagtion.

While I agree with the #1 problem: it isn’t limited to marketing ROI.

It encompasses the ROI of the entire business.

If we don’t examine other business silos that have inherent ties to social data and streamlined knowledge management, we fail to realize ROI in PR, product development, customer retention, talent acquisition, process refinement, and executive leadership.

Any one of those ROI areas could be the ‘magic bullet’ that defines an organization as a market leader or as an unknowing victim of business evolution.

Problem #2 – The Shelf Life of Data

social media data and realtime metricsIf you are nimble and fast moving, social media analytics and real time data can be amazing.

The problem with that statement is the requirement that you are nimble and fast moving.

In most enterprise organizations it days weeks or months to make simple direction changes. This makes real-time data collected in the past hour nearly worthless…. sure you know that an iceburg is right in front of you, but you simply can’t turn fast enough to avoid it.



Problem #3 – It isn’t ‘big data’ ; it is ‘evolving data’

social media data, analysis, analytics

In addition to thinking about social media analytics from a marketing perspective, current definition of the social data silos revolving around the term of ‘big data’ are contaminated in my opinion.

Examining the answers from the survey: we no longer have demographic, customer, social media, and mobile phone data.

All we have is ‘evolving data’

Mobile data = Social data = Customer data = Demographic data

We have a constant pipeline of new data points that are injecting thousands of invaluable data assets into our current business processes from hundreds of sources.


The End Crisis – Analysis Paralysis

The massive injection of data is completely disrupting most executives ability to take actionable decisions.

We have executives who are simply looking at a Web 3.0 chessboard and they are trying to interpret the market they are playing in by traditional rules of chess. They don’t realize (and or accept) that the rules are changing on a daily basis and that entirely new pieces are being played.

When we combine analysis paralysis with marketing isolation (problem #1), slow reaction time (problem #2), and changing market data (problem #3) we end up with an interesting business dilemna.

What other problems are social media analytics facing?

What is Social Business Intelligence?

Before I can answer the question of “what is social business intelligence?“, we need to think about some of the ramifications of what I’m talking about at an individual level.

The reality of the digital world is that a majority of our actions and relationships have dual lives.

We create information we can comprehend and consider ourselves full participants in, while we also create information that is completely outside of our normal realm of process. Both of these types of information are archived online… all of these digital footprints overlap from sources we actively know about, the sources we subconsciously consider and disregard, and the hundreds of sources we technically never knew about.

The pervasiveness of this digital archive is fairly shocking. A good portion of our society has willingly and unknowingly abandoned many traditional concepts of personal privacy in favor of having easy access to information and being socially connected. Read more

Competitive Intelligence with Social Media Monitoring

How do you turn social media data into a business tool?
Listen to the data with focused and tactical opportunity on your mind.

The reality of the social media adoption trend is that relationship information has shifted; the past few decades had given us the  luxury of forming relationships on a personally managed level.

That isn’t a 100% true anymore.

Ten years ago it was pretty difficult for an outsider to know who was in a circle of friends. A private investigator could have researched where I was and who I met on a daily basis, but the act of knowing who was in my social circle took a tremendous amount of effort to discover, track, and visualize.

Skip ahead to today’s current social experiment and a majority of us  have ‘opted in’ to sharing our social connections. In many cases the act of using tools like Google and Facebook have opened up a Pandora’s box of social data that very few of us understand.

Data researchers like myself can sit down at a keyboard with some advanced computer scripts and draw a picture of an individual, community, or marketplace in a fraction of the time it would have taken ten years ago.


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Understanding Page One Results

It wasn’t that long ago that the concept of searching the web gave a visualization of finding the desired information in a like-minded format with our ‘search term’ at the top of the page and results listed out in a pretty basic format. Every business wants the sacred ‘1st page result’ on search engines (hopefully earning the fabled revenue that comes with it.)

The search engine struggle also became like a big game of poker: some businesses risked everything on the wrong hand only to have search giants such as Google ‘change the game’ on them. This made progress and expertise in winning the game a difficult proposition (when the house knows the players are winning, it wants to change the rules…)

As search engines like Google began indexing more and more information, the format and availability of non-text information became available. The influx of different types of information give search engines a continual excuse to change the game. It leads to a constant shift of how page one results appear; having visual elements inserted into the mix, along with information that was ‘related’ to the search.

Understanding the game

If we take this basic concept and then visualize the fact that people are simply creating millions of pieces of data every single day, search engines have an infinite playground to test different formats and functionality.

The shift of different formats affects the functionality that businesses rely on for promotional and brand exposure. Every shift creates a gap in learning and opportunity. Depending on the nature of your service and profession, how search engines present your information alongside of competitors and related businesses can drastically alter the way you need to coordinate your online presence. Read more