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 human analysis, sophisticated keyword strings, as well as a better understanding of demographic profiles. Social data is increasingly being utilised or combined to overcome flaws with traditional research approaches.

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. Social research is evolving from just ‘listening’ to include ‘viewing’

Social listening has become an established research tool with many real-world applications and unique advantages. However, awareness of the limits of language-based listening models and the shift towards communication platforms like Instagram, have led to the rise of ‘visual listening' - to enrich social listening - through studying visual user-generated content. It is proving helpful in understanding brand meaning and how brands show up in people’s lives as well as generating broader social and cultural insights.