Social Media Analytics Trends and Predictions

By Rebecca MacDonald

In 2011 I observed two major social media trends, and based on these, I make three predictions for the coming year.

2011 Trends

1) Big Data Cast a Big Shadow: Big data, created by the explosion in social media users, is driving the need for social analytics (including text analytics). Comments from 800 million users on Facebook cross large organizations on a daily basis, not to mention the 230 million tweets sent every day, with over 20 percent of these tweets concerning products and services.

Text analytics has been around for years, but this explosion of big data is forcing enterprise organizations to look for ways to analyze and get insights from social customer conversations. Even though 2011 saw significant inroads in the ability to mine social media, challenges remain.

2) Social Media Drove a Convergence of Customer Service with Marketing: Social media was originally driven by marketing departments, but companies found that the questions generated in social media required input from customer service. In 2011, in order to address the need for more useful and deeper insights from social conversation data, market demand evolved from social listening and monitoring to social analytics.

Organizations began moving from experimenting with social media to getting real business value from their social initiatives by tying them to business processes in marketing, sales, and customer service. For that reason, the worldwide social CRM (customer relationship management) market is estimated to reach over one billion dollars in revenue by the end of 2012, up from approximately $625 million in 2010.

2012 Predictions

1) Real-Time Social Analytics Will Become the New Standard: In 2012, text analytics and CEM (customer experience management) tools will be sharpened to specifically target certain industries and time-sensitive events. In 2011, some industries, which included financial services, hospitality, telecommunications, consumer electronics, and IT, made inroads in this area, but there are still industries that have barely tapped into the social stream.

Across the board, the demand for real-time social analytics on timely events and topics like marketing campaigns, product launches, emerging issues, and news events (such as the ongoing election and debates) is going to become the new standard for success. Those who can analyze social customer sentiment in real-time – and share that information the fastest – will win.

2) Social Engagement Will Move from Specialized Social Teams to Business Users Throughout the Enterprise: With social media, customer issues and opportunities appear and spike very quickly. Enterprise organizations must find ways to address this by integrating social media into their customer interaction processes. The focus will be on solutions that combine social engagement with workflow and business process rules, alerting, and routing.

3) Companies Will Implement Multichannel Tools That Integrate Social Analysis with Other Enterprise Systems: There is an increasing demand among large, global organizations for text analytics solutions capable of analyzing multilingual customer conversation data from millions of sources, while integrating with other systems (such as business intelligence and CRM).

Big data is predicted by analysts to be the next “must have” competency in 2012 as the volume of digital content grows to 2.7 zettabytes (a zettabyte is one billion terabytes or 1021 bytes), up 48 percent from 2011. Over 90 percent of this information will be unstructured, including images, videos, MP3 files, and files based on social media and Web-enabled workloads. It will be full of rich information, but challenging to understand and analyze.

Rebecca MacDonald leads Attensity’s marketing efforts in North America, drawing on more than fifteen years of experience in marketing management with high-growth companies in the enterprise software industry.

[From Connection Magazine Jan/Feb 2012]

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