Monday, April 2, 2012

Reach: Taking Social Insights to the Next Level

Social Insights is primarily a qualitative research tool, however some quantitative metrics do exist and it is always exciting to add another metric to the toolbox.  The primary Social Insights tool at Directions Research is Netbase, and those familiar with Netbase know its popular quantitative metrics. 


First we have Buzz, that answers the question "How much is said?"


The next popular metric is Sentiment.  This is the bread and butter of the Netbase quantitative data.  Is it Positive or Negative? Now we are showing more about what is said.

Sometimes we need to look even further, and we use Passion to look at the emotion of what is said.  We are looking at the intensity of the author's speech.  Passion can be good or bad, and must always be paired with sentiment to have true context.


We have learned a lot about what is said on Social Media with the current offering of metrics.  Social Media is more than just people posting their thoughts.  Social Media is about the spread of information.  Tweets and re-tweets.  We need to know what is being heard, and the quality of what is heard.  Welcome to Reach.  We filter Twitter data through a service called Klout.  Klout analyzes social networks and determines an author's influence on the network.  Reach is more than just Twitter followers, it is also likelihood the followers re-tweet and share their influence with the original author.

In action, reach can vary much more than sentiment, mostly because you can't always have high impact influencers talking about your brand every week.  A tweet with a reach of 100,000 can have a significant weight on your data, just as that tweet can have in social media.  Here we are looking at McDonalds for Feb 13th - Mar 25th.  The sentiment level is between 50%-70%. There is a positive spike in the week of March 12th.

As we can see in the second chart the Sentiment of Reach is lower across the board.  The negative authors have a higher reach than the positive authors.  I would note that a positive spike in the week of March 12th is still present. 

Each week reach has a lower sentiment than just insights.  The biggest difference is in the week of Feb 13th with an 18 point drop in sentiment.  The consistency of the overpowering negative reach should be seen as a concern.  

Reach is a new metric for Social Insights @ Directions Research, and has a lot of potential.  There are still questions to be answered. How does reach correlate with traditional research metrics? How does reach fit into marketing mix models?  We have seen reach used in other tools, but never integrated with sentiment data.  Netbase itself is implementing reach into their service in the coming months, and I am very curious if it is a powerful as what we have developed at Directions Research.  We have been successful tracking what is said in Social Media, it is very exciting that we can now track what is heard.

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