3 Reasons Market Researchers Use Social Media Data

...and 3 misconceptions that can get in the way

Market Research teams are increasingly using posts made on social media about their brand, their competitors, and their market to gain timely, fresh insights. But why turn to this unstructured, large, dataset when there are already so many in their tool belt? The reasons are simple

1. Social Data is Unique from other sources: Unbiased and Peer-to-Peer.

Whereas most other sources of traditional data prompt consumers’ responses and are vulnerable to response bias, social data is unguided and peer-to-peer. This means conversations can occur here that would never arise in an interview room. This also affords researchers privy into the authentic language consumers use to communicate with each other, unbiased by the presence of outsiders.

2. It’s relevant, timely, and cost effective.

Social data is available in real-time, which shortens the research cycle from many months to just a few weeks. As a result, insights are relevant and up-to-date with the very latest trends and discussion. This allows researchers to get from inquiry to insight, to taking action faster than ever before.Social Media conversations are public.

3. Social Media conversations are public.

While the conversations had inside of an interview room are private, the ones happening on social media are extraordinarily public. Opinions and (mis)information shared online have the potential to reach far beyond one’s close circle of friends and impact purchasing behavior of complete strangers. Understanding what is being said about your brand, competitors, and your industry in general online is critical.

Misconceptions

Even understanding this, there remain some common misconceptions about social media data that could hold some teams back from taking advantage of it. Here are the three most common misconceptions that get in the way:

  • Social data is just for the Marketers, measuring social campaigns. By limiting social listening to only posts mentioning a few keywords, such as marketing campaigns or a single brand, research misses on the opportunity to learn about competitors as well as the market as a whole. Understanding, for instance, how consumers view the health concerns associated with drinking any soda, even before these are associated with a given brand, could impact anticipated buying behavior and inform strategic marketing messages.
  • Regulations prevent us from doing it. In almost every case, they don’t. In fact, to an increasing degree, Pharmaceutical brands have begun to take advantage of this data, successfully navigating pharmacovigilance standards. If Pharma can do it, any industry can.
  • We’re unsure what business questions can be answered with social data. Social media data is nuanced, and the key to getting the most out of it is finding an experienced partner to help shape the research questions and analysis in an appropriate way for the data at hand. Some examples include identifying reasons for switching and nonadherence, learning authentic patient language, DTC reaction and tracking, and preparing for a new product launch.

Social media provides brands access to real-time insights that capture, validate, and interpret the conversations key customers are having online, to optimize marketing strategies and help accelerate brand usage. To learn more about how social media analytics can help your team, head to our website.