Social media provides a wealth of information that marketers can use to understand their target audiences’ behaviours and preferences, but it can also be a tumultuous hubbub of thoughts and opinions. To arrive at any reliable conclusions requires vast amounts of data to be analysed and visualised.
Here Glen Rabie (pictured below), co-founder and CEO of Yellowfin, looks at how Business Intelligence (BI) tools can help marketing departments make the most of these important channels to market.
There is no disputing that marketing has become an increasingly data-driven industry. Social media has also become a gateway to collect data, interact with customers, understand their preferences and gain direct feedback. However, vast amounts of social data needs to be more than simply monitored – for true strategic insight it needs to be both analysed and visualised.
Beyond monitoring tools, marketers should be tapping into BI tools that have API connectors and the capability to analyse and visualise third-party social applications. These BI tools provide a quick way of understanding the impact of social media marketing activities. What’s more they can be an incredibly useful and cost-effective way for time-pressed marketers to demonstrate the ROI of their social media campaigns.
Using BI in social media marketing can also help improve resource management, increase conversion rates and predict future trends and issues. Social media is an ever-changing environment that needs a reactive and flexible marketing strategy based on data insights. Today, certain BI tools are enabling marketers to gain a holistic view across multiple social media platforms, ensuring quick and reliable decisions can be made based on a myriad of data sources.
Point and Click Technology
But most marketers are not technology experts. A product marketing manager does not want to have to construct a new BI chart or dashboard to track performance of the company’s YouTube channel and compare it with social commentary on Facebook. Marketers want pre-built charts and reports that provide classic ‘views’ of data.
Because the main social platforms have accessible APIs, plugging into your BI tool is straightforward and becomes a matter of point and click. This approach means marketers can have all their social channel performance ‘in one place’, negating the need to chop and change through specialist analytics platforms developed only for one social channel or another.
The democratisation of data
A few years ago this kind of comprehensive data analytics was reserved for corporate giants, but we are now seeing the democratisation of data and the demand for BI software from across different business departments, as well as much smaller businesses without IT departments to manage it for them.
The latest BI tools that allow easy access and analysis of social media applications such as LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook and YouTube are likely to see an even greater number of smaller companies invest in BI software to help them garner customer insights and feedback on product offerings.
Making the most of marketing analytics
Market research on the use of social media analytics shows the extent to which the technology is already being used. Demand Metric and Netbase surveyed 125 marketers and found that 60 per cent of respondents use social media analytics for campaign tracking, 48 per cent for brand analysis, and 40 percent for competitive intelligence.
Interestingly, the same research found the vast majority (66 per cent) of respondents found the most valuable insight from social media analytics tools to be levels of engagement.