Social listening has become an established source of insight relied upon by marketers to gauge unprompted insight into consumers' everyday conversations and opinions towards brands, products and campaigns in real time. Listening approaches have advanced with data mining, natural language processing and visual analysis as well as a better understanding of demographic profiles.

Definition

Social listening is the process of gathering data from audience conversations across social media platforms in real time and processing into structured insights leading to more information-driven business decisions underpinned by increased customer centrality for brands and businesses.

Key insights

1. Mining social data can help with understanding trends and product forecasting

Data-mining start-up Black Swan works with brands to predict product-based trends using natural language processing of unstructured written social and online data, and historical records to help model performance. It can track and predict both the growth in interest of a trend and its lifetime – distinguishing long-term trends and short-term fads. It claims up to 90% accuracy for a six-month prediction. Accurate forecasting like this can assist with direction or confirmation in new product development. Success stories include helping UK retailer Tesco better forecast the unpredictable barbeque season and Disney plan its supply chain and marketing investments behind the runaway success of the Frozen movie.