Social media has been a boon for the common man as well as brands. “According to statistics, there are about 1.79 billion users of social media in 2014 and it is projected to reach about 2.44 billion by 2018. Thus, it’s imperative for businesses to streamline their marketing endeavors strategically,” informed Titir Pal, Director – Products and Solutions at Absolutdata Analytics.
While social networks have given us immense power to create history, brands have been empowered by the medium too. Today social media offers the best analytics and measurement techniques like no other medium. According to a recent study, the social media analytics market will grow from $620.3 Million in 2014 to $2.73 Billion in 2019, at a CAGR of 34.5%.
But how will the crowded market of social media analytics (You name it and there is an app for a particular function!) evolve in 2015? Team Lighthouse Insights asked experts who breathe the space 365 days and here are the edited excerpts:
Titir Pal, Director – Products and Solutions, Absolutdata Analytics
One of the predictable trend that Social media analytics might witness in 2015 is the increase in digital marketing tools. These tools will be increasingly offered as a cloud-based solution (“marketing-as-a-service”) rather than licensed software.
Increased use of analytics & Business Intelligence - Advertisers and brands will be more and more concerned about their return on investment (ROI), hence digital marketing analytics expenses are expected to increase by 60% in 2015, marking a year of increasingly sophisticated social media dashboards with better metrics and KPIs.
2015 will also witness the expansion of the internet of things - Wearable technology will spread to everyday objects. According to specialists, about 26 billion of them will be connected around the globe by 2020, and about 40% of worldwide data will be generated by communication between machines.
Video will become more important - Marketing strategies will favor video above text or images. Companies that invest in video could see their shopping cart increase by 174%. Content marketing and predictive analytics will continue to be hot areas of interest and investment for CMOs.
Bhupendra Khanal, CEO and Co-Founder, Simplify360
Social Media Analytics in 2015 will be more KPI driven that focuses on direct ROIs. The value of engagement and trends will come down, while customer insights and targeting will see an upwards trend.
Customer Analytics primarily focused on building single view of the customer from various networks and in-house CRM will be the key development. Work has started in this direction, and we can expect 2015 to bring the right analytics solution that brings unified profile of the customer.
Puneet Pahuja, CEO and Founder, Webenza
In 2015, companies would still continue to carry forward their concerns about Return on Investment (ROI) from social media and would be looking for more sophisticated mechanisms to improve and measure engagement and conversion performance.
The Internet of Things (IoT) is expected to change the dimension of Big Data and hence, the need for Big Data Analytics, at least for large and complex enterprises, would change based on how they store and analyze Big Data. Cisco already rolled out its new suite of analytics software that will be integrated into network switches, routers and other systems.
Tremendous growth would be seen in Affinity based Targeting/Marketing in 2015. This will drive the need to evaluate and identify Customers based on their preferences, interests, hobbies, professions, ethnicities, etc. This would drive the need for integration of Ad Networks with the Social Analytics platforms as well as the integration of all possible social media platforms with CRM platforms to be able to serve relevant content or ads at the right time to the right audience. This will maximize conversions and effectiveness of campaigns to a large extent.
Vivek Agarwal, SVP, Dun & Bradstreet Technologies and Data Services
In last two years, there has been a lot of excitement as well as scepticism around ‘Social Media Analytics’. There is no doubt that availability of data from unconventional sources and technological advancements in data storage and computing ability today allow us to develop a new set of analytical models that were not possible few years back. In 2015, I expect to see social media analytics evolve further especially in areas of text analytics and usage of ‘bots’ to engage the target audience in interactive sessions to gain further insights about their buying behaviours and motivations for more precise campaign developments. At D&B, we are already working on developing new advance models that use new sources of public data as proxies for conventional data, not available in some markets.
However, while technology and analytical capabilities are advancing in terms of their ability to provide more accurate answers, the businesses are still learning on how to use these capabilities for real business benefits by asking right questions.
Rohan Chandrashekhar, CEO, Buzzvalve
Personally, I think the social media analytics space is fairly convoluted, and I mean globally.
Here’s the thing: If you were to speak to any talented social media manager today, they’d tell you that there is not a single tool in the market today that gives them what they need exactly. The two big challenges remain: 1) what to measure; and 2) how to measure it. The future needs to be about addressing these challenges in the simplest way possible, by identifying only the most relevant metrics to one’s business and by connecting the disparate dots!
Nishith Sharma, Co-Founder, Frrole
The triad of advertisers, TV and social analytics will continue to get more interconnected. The decision of which TV shows to advertise on will be largely affected by the social following of TV shows. While it has already started happening with Nielson Twitter TV ratings, 2015 will see the real explosion of it.
Another big development will be in the area of lead generation – brands will try to reach out to very specific users based on what they speak on social media. The relevance and timing of reacting to these conversations will play a pivotal role in the success of new products.
Thirdly, social analytics will start replacing traditional ways of doing market research. Decision making will continue to get more quantitative, and social analytics will start answering questions in a more holistic way than traditional market research ever could. It will play a big part in answering the who, when and where aspects of business decisions.
Saurabh Arora, Co-Founder & CEO, Airwoot
We will see a major shift in social media analytics from community growth to community engagement. While community growth was about fan acquisition, community engagement is about
conversations. With technology now enabling the consumer profiling and fan-to-customer mapping, conversation is set to go mainstream.
Social media listening tools will be deeply integrated with internal CRMs to provide a unified view of transactions, conversations & customer profile, which will further enrich the engagement experience.
Measurement and competitive insights will see a shift — from sentiment snapshots to sentiment conversions (customer satisfaction) and from incoming traffic volume to responsiveness (% of conversations responded).
Sentiment has clearly proven to be ineffective where brands had spent resources to set up social advocacy programs in order to curb down the negative chatter, often failing to understand how vital the negative feedback could be for their internal business processes. We will see analytics maturing to evade questions like how many Twitter followers we gained each week in favor of Who are those followers? How many of them are our existing customers and potential customers? What are they talking about? What can we learn from them?
Ranjit Nair, CEO, Germin8 Solutions
2015 is going to see much more mature and outcome-oriented adoption of social media intelligence. Everyone agrees that social media intelligence is an extremely powerful way of understanding stakeholders. However, very few brands have leveraged social media intelligence to its full potential, linking it to business decisions and outcomes.
Social media analytics has largely been focused on metrics that relate to eye balls (reach, impressions, views) instead of metrics related to behaviour (conversions, sign ups, adoption). Social media listening has been limited to measures of sentiment and monitoring brand mentions without enough attention on insights for product improvement and innovation, customer care and customer acquisition.
I believe that 2015 will see much more focus on business use cases, with brands adopting social media intelligence with well defined outcomes in mind. This will force tool vendors to make their tools more actionable and will force agencies to speak the language of measurement, insight and return on investment.
Lux Narayan, CEO & Co-Founder, Unmetric
I think we’ll see two emerging trends in 2015 when it comes to social analytics. The first will be the introduction and rise of predictive analytics. Brands have already gone from “what happened,” to “what’s happening” with the introduction of real time social analytics dashboards. Now comes the time of “what is going to happen” - predicting the future based on past events.
The second significant development is going to be in the social workflow, where ideation becomes more data-driven and brands will need to analyze and compare more in depth before they come back to content creation.