The Global Source for Social Media Researchers

SMRA Blog 

  • 17 Jun 2018 3:05 PM | Kathy Doering (Administrator)

    Image recognition is a great addition to any social media listening program. Read what Kalev has to say about using it to determine Fake News! 

    Kalev Leetaru CONTRIBUTORI write about the broad intersection of data and society. Opinions expressed by Forbes Contributors are their own.


    Last month an image purporting to show children in cages as a result of current immigration policies went viral on social media, accelerated by a number of high profile journalists, activists and former government officials who shared it widely – their visibility and stature leading many to trust the image at face value without the level of suspicion and verification that users might apply to other viral images. The image was real, but taken out of context and spread virally before users began to realize it actually dated from a 2014 news article. Yet, when I first saw the image I simply right-clicked on it and ran a reverse Google Images search that immediately turned up the original 2014 source. Could social media outlets like Twitter and Facebook automate such image searches to help combat fake news at scale?

    Social media today is an ocean of false and misleading information spread for nefarious purposes, but far more often by well-meaning individuals who share first and ask questions later. The ease and rapidness with which a 2014 news image went viral, made famous by the very individuals ordinarily tasked with helping to combat false information stands testament to just how easy it is for false information to spread in today’s speed-over-accuracy information ecosystem. In contrast to unverifiable citizen imagery that lacks provenance, professional news photography is particularly easy to verify, yet such ease of verification did little to slow the spread of this image.

    The problem is that social media norms encourage sharing over understanding, creating an informational ecosystem in which users act more as transmission nodes, receiving and passing onwards information, than as true consumers that digest and reason about the information they receive. According to one study, 59% of links shared on social media were never actually viewed, while an increasing body of research emphasizes that in our click-happy world of social media, our social capital is dependent on being the quickest to share new information with our connections, with little incentive to take the time to actually read and digest that information to vet it first.

    The mobile interfaces that dominate social media consumption today worsen this effect, entrenching the walled garden in which we consume social content and making it difficult to perform extensive research to verify a post. After all, juggling multiple browser tabs and wading through multiple websites to verify the provenance and context of an image seen on social media takes time even on a desktop, but is especially hard in the resource and screen-constrained environment of mobile devices.

    On a desktop using the Google Chrome browser it is relatively trivial to right click on a questionable image, click “Search Google for image” and instantly see all of the places on the web that Google’s search engine has seen that image before. Google’s commercial Cloud Vision API goes a step further and can even OCR the image to recognize all text seen in it in 55 languages, making it possible even to fact check visual memes that contain textual quotes or statements. Even more usefully, the Cloud Vision API scans all previous appearances of the image on the web for the captions associated with the image in each case across all of the languages it supports, assigning it topical labels that summarize the most common descriptions of the image online.

    Imagine if the major social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook adopted a similar reverse images search and OCR for all images shared on their platform. Every single image shared on their platforms would be compared against a database of unique images and for each new image seen for the first time, the system would perform an open web image comparison to find all previous appearances of that image online. The date the image was first seen on the web and a links to a few high-profile appearances of it would be displayed prominently under each instance of the image being shared online.

    In the case of the immigration image, the photograph was shared with a link to the article it came from, which was clearly dated 2014, but when shared on Twitter and Facebook, the presentation display formats used by those platforms do not clearly and prominently emphasize the publication date of a link, meaning that all most users saw was the photograph and a citation to Displaying the publication date of shared links more prominently might have slowed the spread of the image if users could immediately see that the article dated to 2014.

    However, most such images are shared out of their original context and thus a reverse images search that could return a list of high prominence previous appearances would likely dramatically decrease inadvertent sharing of incorrect information. Perhaps one of the greatest contributors to misleading image sharing on social media is the fact that images are shared without any inherent native context. On social media anyone can take an image, write a new caption or description for it and share it at will.

    Imagine if instead of contextless sharing, social media platforms performed a reverse image search and created a basic machine generated caption for each image based on the most common captions used for the image across the web in the past. In other words, coupling the topical label approach of Google’s Cloud Vision API with an automatic summarization algorithm. The result would be an immutable caption displayed prominently underneath every shared image that contains the date the image was first seen online, a few links to the most prominent previous uses of the image, favoring those from major news websites and a machine generated summary of how the image was captioned in those past uses. This would ensure that users are aware of the actual context and original sourcing of any image they see or share online.

    Instead of an anonymous image blindly ricocheting through social space under a myriad different descriptions, photographs shared on social media would now be reconnected to their origins and maintain provenance throughout their sharing life, reconnecting the walled gardens of the social world with the real world outside their borders from which the content was sourced.

    Putting this all together, improving the social sharing experience by reconnecting shared content to its origins, especially grounding it with a machine generated caption that summarizes its consensus description across the web, the date it was first seen and a set of high profile sites that have displayed it in the past, would go a long ways towards cutting down on inadvertent sharing of information in misleading ways and accustom users to incorporating better information literacy into their consumption of social media content, all for comparatively little cost.


    According to one study, 59% of links shared on social media were never actually viewed, while an increasing body of research emphasizes that in our click-happy world of social media, our social capital is dependent on being the quickest to share new information with our connections, with little incentive to take the time to actually read and digest that information to vet it first.
  • 11 Jun 2018 3:08 PM | Kathy Doering (Administrator)

    Will Text Messaging Surveys Replace Traditional Surveys?
    Probably not in the near future, but they can be a beneficial supplement to your current survey strategy.

    Admit it, you are one of the 72% of smartphone owners who report checking their phone at least once an hour. With 9 in 10 adults owning a cellphone,  text messaging (SMS) has become the communication norm for most of the U.S. population. Text messaging appears to be a useful way to contact survey respondents, particularly those who tend to have lower response rates with traditional survey methods, such as young adults.

    But according to Gallup's research, text messaging is not yet ready to replace traditional surveys. This mode of contact has legal limitations, yields lower response rates than telephone surveys and restricts question length. So don’t use it as your only means of contacting your audience, but do use it as a supplements.

    How Text Message Surveys Work

    Text message surveys can be administered in two different ways:

    The first option is to text questions and answers back and forth, which works well because anyone with a cellphone can respond. But there are significant limitations. Questions are limited to 160 characters, including the question wording and response options. Messages that are longer than 160 characters are broken into segments. While some devices rebuild the messages so that they appear as one cohesive message, messages may not be received in the correct order.

    The number of questions must also be kept to a minimum. Questions and responses are sent one at a time, and research finds that respondents tend to lose interest more quickly than with other modes of data collection.

    The second option is to text respondents a link to a web survey they can complete from the browser on their phone. Although this option gives researchers greater flexibility with question wording, about 25% of the population does not own a smartphone and will be unable to launch a web survey, and those who do have a smartphone may have to use or pay for data to complete the survey.

    Experiments Reveal the Pros and Cons of Text Message Surveys

    Gallup conducted two experiments to test the effectiveness of text message surveys.

    In the first experiment, they wanted to see how an SMS survey compares with a telephone survey in terms of response rates and substantive responses. There were 3 treatment groups: a traditional telephone survey administered by a live interviewer, a text message survey or a text message with a link to a web survey. Two questionnaire lengths were also tested: 5 questions and 12 questions.

    Results - Response rates for the SMS-to-web surveys (12% for 5 questions and 11% for 12) and SMS-only surveys (12% for 5 questions and 13% for 12) were significantly lower than response rates for phone surveys (38% and 41%).

    In the second experiment, Gallup tested sending survey invites and reminders to Gallup Panel members via email and text message. Respondents were randomly assigned to 1of 3 treatment groups: email and text invites and reminders, email invites and reminders only, and text invites and reminders only. All emails and text messages directed respondents to a web survey.

    Results - Response rates were highest when using a combination of email and text reminders. This finding is consistent with other research, which has found that employing a variety of contact methods can increase the likelihood of participation.

    It appears that surveys deployed over email are among the best and easiest to supplement with text messaging. At the most basic level, texts can be used as a reminder/delivery system for web surveys. A study by Mavletova & Couper (Journal of Survey Statistics and Methodology (2014) 2, 498-518) indicates that surveys sent via email got a much higher response rate when they were accompanied by a text reminder. Even more effective is to use text to deliver the web survey directly. Because 53% of emails are opened on phones, making sure your survey is mobile compatible. By serving the link directly through text, you can remove the need for them to take any intermediary action between receiving the reminder text and beginning the survey.


    Currently, the major obstacle for conducting a survey via text message is obtaining the consent to send a message. This legal barrier greatly limits the scope for conducting text surveys.

    It is important to note that FCC regulations make it illegal for companies to send text messages without expressed consent. This means Gallup or its clients must have explicit consent from respondents before sending them a text message survey. Simply having permission to contact the respondent via cellphone is not enough. Individuals must give consent to be contacted via text message, which is a major obstacle for most survey projects.

  • 4 Jun 2018 5:51 PM | Kathy Doering (Administrator)

    Approximately 2.62 billion people use social media daily, posting everything from videos, images, and selfies, to news updates and everything in-between. And importantly for brands, some of these posts are likely to be about your business. If you’re not engaged in social media listening, you’re ignoring your clients – and that’s just bad business.

    But first, what exactly is social media listening?

    Social media listening is the act of using a tool to monitor - or 'listen to' - what's being said about a brand (or any other keyword or set of keywords) across the social web. The first step in effective social listening is identifying the right keywords and terms you need to stay on top of. When you select which keywords to track, don’t just focus on your brand name. Here’s a sample list of the elements you might want to monitor:

    • Your competitors’ brand names and product names
    • Industry buzzwords
    • Your slogans and your competitors’ slogans
    • Public people in your company and competitors’ companies
    • Your hashtags and your competitors’ hashtags
    • Hashtags related to your industry
    • Common misspellings and abbreviations for all of these 

    Staying on top of these keywords will ensure you remain aware of how people perceive your brand, what your competitor's are doing and the current trends in your field.

    Now let’s dig a little deeper. Use the following tips to help you get the most out of your social media listening and how you can use social media listening to grow your business.

    1. Improve Customer Service

    Social media has become the go-to for many consumers who have a question, suggestion, or even a complaint. In 2013, a study conducted by J.D. Power Ratings found out that 67% of consumers use social media for customer care and that figure increases each year. Another survey reported that 36% of people who had a negative experience with a brand will post about it. Monitoring social media allows you to respond quickly online to customers who are talking about you.

    It may not be a contact to the brand itself, sometimes it’s just a rant or a side note in a post dedicated to something else, but through social media listening, you have the capability to discover these comments, and respond to them, improving your customer experience.

    To see if your customers are having troubles, set up the keywords mentioning your product or brand name and choose a filter to show you negative mentions first. That way you’ll be able to find unhappy customers and solve problems right away.

    2. Better Understand your Audience

    To satisfy your customers you need to know them first. The traditional way to get customers’ feedback is to ask them through a survey or a questionnaire, which can prove unreliable since few people like spending their time answering questions that are not directly related to them. But through social listening, you can get unbiased opinions of your customers without any effort from their side, and minimal effort from yours.

    You can analyze large volumes of data and see specific opinions using your social media listening tools. Look for trends in preferences and dislikes. You might be able to detect some not-so-obvious tendencies that your audience has, and use them to your advantage.

    3. Find new clients

    As a general rule, the more active you are on social, the more people you reach – but you’re still limited to your followers and their friends. However, there is a way to contact people who might be curious about your product - yep, through social media listening.

    For example, Hilton Hotels regularly finds potential clients by monitoring queries like “Where should I go on vacation?”. The company then offers advice where Hilton employees reach out to people to recommend places of interest in their area.

    You have to get into the heads of your prospects and think of the keywords they may use when they ask for recommendations. Based on this, you can then use specific keywords and combinations to improve your results. And use this opportunity to create meaningful interactions by responding to people’s questions and being helpful – that way you can create a positive image of your brand, which will help you stand out.

    4. Utilize Industry Influencers

    Logically, people are far more likely to accept the advice of someone they trust - be that a friend, a family member, or these days, even a blogger whose content they like. So use these customers to promote your product! 90% of consumers trust peer recommendations, while only 33% trust ads, which makes influencer marketing one of the most efficient ways to sell.

    So how do you find influencers?

    Search the name of your brand to see who's already interested in it and offer them an early trial or a free product. You can also track buzzwords relevant to your industry and find people in your field who create relevant content and engage with others.

    Once you establish a relationship, reach out to them and offer a collaboration - guest material for their platform, a review of your product, a paid promotion or anything else that your marketing team can think of. But don’t just leave it at that - ensure you thank them for the attention and the consideration they've given to your product, and seek their feedback where possible.

    5. Keep an eye on your competition

    You can learn a lot from your competition - their success will tell you what works and their failures will help you to avoid making the same mistakes.

    Learn what people are saying about your rivals and their products. Set alerts for all your competitors’ brands, their campaign names, slogans and hashtags. And use this information to create engaging opportunities for your brand.

    So now you see how social media listening can help you - from product development to customer service to marketing. I encourage you to dive into the world of social media listening and discover more ways to use it on your own.

    Need help creating a social media listening strategy?

    Click here:

  • 31 May 2018 4:54 PM | Kathy Doering (Administrator)

    Posted on May 31, 2018 by eChatter

    Open Source Investigations

    Corporate responsibility and risk management for any corporation goes well beyond what happens within the walls of everyday business. A very overlooked practice for companies of all sizes is digital research on their unique business and industry. With the rise of user generated content and social media, reputation management takes on an entirely new level in 2018.  In comes OSINT, or, Open Source Intelligence (the collection and analysis of publicly available data in an intelligence context).

    Frank Figliuzzi, Chief Operating Officer of ETS Risk Management, Inc., which consults with global clients on intelligence analysis, insider threat, and investigations puts it this way:


    “Increasingly, security leaders systematically incorporate OSINT analysis from proven experts not only to get results, but because it is has become the new professional standard in the industry.”


    Of course with the EU Privacy law in effect, hiring an expert in this area is key to be sure your firm is in compliance.  With the digital universe doubling in size every two years, the time is now to be sure your business has a plan in place. Archiving and preserving  your own online data may be beneficial down the road as well. Lawsuits pop up all the time, and having this data collection secured may help your case. In fact, many corporate attorneys are now insisting on this type of data capture for their clients.


    Pew Research updated the stats on the U.S. consumption of social media sites online or on their cellphone. 


    Pew Research and OSINT


  • 25 May 2018 9:52 AM | Kathy Doering (Administrator)


    CBC News Reported: By Ian Sherr 

    How do you solve a problem like Russian propagandists? How do you keep them from meddling in elections?

    Well, at Facebook, the answer is to be more transparent about political ads.

    Starting Thursday, the company said, it's following through on its promise from late last year to add verification, disclosures and additional information to all political ads.

    The way it'll work is that when you see a political ad on Facebook, there will be a "Paid for by" disclosure at its top. If you click on the label, you'll be taken to a page where you can learn much money was spent, how many people saw it, and a breakdown of their age, gender and location.

    Facebook will also make this data publicly accessible at for seven years from the day they run.

    "This is a tool that makes it easier for you to find problems and is something that we want to invite you to report as well so we get better faster," said Rob Leathern, Director of Product Management at Facebook, in a conference call with journalists Thursday.

    To many, the new policy couldn't have come quickly enough. The social networking giant has been under increasing scrutiny following two scandals over Russian propagandists and a data leak that exposed up to 87 million user's profile information to a UK-based political consultancy called Cambridge Analytica. Together, they've pushed Facebook, and its 34-year old wunderkind co-founder Mark Zuckerberg, to go before lawmakersinvestorsadvertisersdevelopers and even us users to apologize for failing to properly manage one of the world's largest websites.

    Now Facebook is playing catch up. It's set new privacy policies and data protection rules and instituted audits to prevent app developers from improperly leaking user information again. And now it's making good on its promise to begin tackling the specter of more disinformation campaigns during the upcoming midterm elections in the US.

    But, as Facebook is quick to point out, these moves are just the latest in a series of efforts to strengthen its service from further abuse. It's not a guarantee this all won't happen again.

    "As long as there are people sitting in Russia whose job it is to interfere with elections around the world, this is going to be an ongoing conflict," Zuckerberg said when speaking to Congress last month. "This is an ongoing arms race."

    Doing something, at least

    It didn't take much for the Russian propagandists to make a splash on Facebook. Last year, the company said it found $100,000 worth of ads purchased from Russian-linked accounts. That bought 3,000 ads seen by 10 million Facebook users. When Zuckerberg disclosed the ads, he vowed to work for more "election integrity."

    Facebook has since partnered with researchers to establish an "independent election research commission" that Zuckerberg said "will solicit research on the effects of social media on elections and democracy." The group is also helping to analyze political advertising on Facebook and help others access it more easily for their own research.

    Facebook isn't along tackling the issue of political ads. Twitter and Google both are instituting new rules around political ads, too. Facebook and Twitter have also expressed support for the Honest Ads Act, a bill moving through Congress that would require political ads on the internet to have similar transparency as those on radio and television by, for example, identifying who paid for them.

    To help make sure no one tries to run political ads outside Facebook's rules, the company is turning to its artificial intelligence technology to help. These AI programs are trained to help identify which ads might be trying to circumvent Facebook's rules. 

    Users themselves can also flag questionable ads, which will then be reviewed by the company. Facebook says that by adding a second reviewing step for reported ads, and offering copies of them in the ads archive, that will protect from when people might report an ad in bad faith.

    "Part of how we're going to be held accountable and how we're going to involve folks is by providing the archive, which will show you all the different ads we have," Leathern said. "We believe we have very good coverage in place."

  • 23 May 2018 12:28 PM | Kathy Doering (Administrator)

    • Published on May 23, 2018

    Kathy Doering

     I have used this saying a few times in my life and have recently begun reading the book, "Know What You Don't Know, How Great Leaders Prevent Problems Before They Happen." This book promotes information sharing among employees, and that in and of itself, is critical in today's customer centric environment. How many times have you, as a customer, realized that an answer to your problem depends solely on who you speak to in the customer service department? Try making the same call twice purposely and you may end up with two very different answers to the same question. It happened to me just this week.

    At a recent software conference, one CEO shared that he has clients who come right out and tell him that they don't want their superiors to know how to use the software. Why not? Usually, there are a variety of reasons. In my opinion, the big picture issue is that it is a company culture problem. When people just want to do what they know and don't want to expand into the unknown, it can stifle growth and is many times harmful for the company and its reputation. Creating an everyone "in" for the good of the company is many times very hard to achieve.

    The best place to start is to have a set strategy around your company's KPI's. In the above mentioned book, author Michael A Roberto discusses the importance of how to listen to learn, and even goes as far as to suggest it be taught within the company. He suggests management needs to become an Ethnographer.

    You Can learn a lot just by watching. Yogi Berra

    Watching or listening to your customers while they are in the moment of experience will tell you a lot about their needs. General Mills, for example actually has their own grocery store right within their headquarters. The General Market, as it is called, is not open to the public. Instead consumers are invited in to shop while researchers watch their shopping behaviors.

    With so many conversations shifting online over the last 10 years, listening to social media and the web can identify misconceptions of your product or service, identify trends, consumer buying habits and so much more. Most companies are "listening" to conversations around their social media marketing. This is very important, however it can be expanded on to gain even more research. Technology has made it so much easier for researchers to do this very thing.

  • 9 May 2018 12:27 PM | Kathy Doering (Administrator)

    By:  Jim Matorin, Business Catalyst at SMARTKETING: Tech-friendly pragmatist that specializes in innovation and revitalizing businesses.

    The influence marketing debate continues.  As I explored in my last SMRA guest post The Evolution of Influence Marketing,  marketers recognize the need to utilize macro or micro influencers.  Based on what I have experienced this past month working on a project to identify micro influencers and then reading this past weekend about Meghan Markle’s global fashion influence, I am leaning towards macro influencers.  It is obvious, especially when it comes to pop culture, they consistently deliver the big bang (numbers).  For the record, Ms. Markle had deleted all her social media accounts, but thanks to photographs of her and Prince Harry at the Invictus Games last September that circulated around the world exponentially, she unofficially evolved into a British fashion icon. 

    Before I share some of Ms. Markle’s social media statistics I reviewed, I want to take timeout to share a marketing history lesson.  My apologies, but influence marketing really is just the current descriptor for buzz marketing generated via social platforms.  The power of one photo/video was first discovered back in 2002 when Sandra Bullock popped a Listerine PocketPak strip in her mouth while she was walking the red carpet at the Academy Awards.  Boom, along with other integrated marketing tactics, Pfizer Consumer Healthcare Listerine PocketPak strips became an overnight sensation.

    Back to Meghan Markle, global fashion trend setter.  She was photographed wearing distressed Mother jeans and carrying a Everlane tote back in September 2017.  Mother experienced a 200 percent increase to their website; a 60 percent increase in Google searches versus the same period the prior year.  The company sold out their inventory in 3 days and cultivated a reorder waiting list of 400 people.  Everlane reported they now have a waiting list of 20,000 people for the tote she carried.  As her first post-engagement appearance, the Strathberry bag she carried sold out in 11 minutes and website traffic to the bag’s manufacturer (Scottish) soared 5,000 percent.  Now all eyes (a.k.a. Instagram) are on the brands she will wear for her upcoming wedding.  Fashion industry analysts believe Meghan projects the fairy tale image of a modern woman with a straightforward idea of luxury.   Consequently, young women gravitate towards her unconventional fashion statements.

    Macro vs. micro influencers?  My final take: It varies by industry.  Definitely macro when it comes to fashion.   

  • 3 May 2018 5:43 PM | Kathy Doering (Administrator)

    Pew Research does it again! Great information here.


    Millennials have often led older Americans in their adoption and use of technology, and this largely holds true today. But there has also been significant growth in tech adoption in recent years among older generations – particularly Gen Xers and Baby Boomers.

    More than nine-in-ten Millennials (92%) own smartphones, compared with 85% of Gen Xers (those who turn ages 38 to 53 this year), 67% of Baby Boomers (ages 54 to 72) and 30% of the Silent Generation (ages 73 to 90), according to a new analysis of Pew Research Center data. Similarly, the vast majority of Millennials (85%) say they use social media. For instance, significantly larger shares of Millennials have adopted relatively new platforms such as Instagram (52%) and Snapchat (47%) than older generations have.

    This analysis reflects the Center’s recent decision to establish 1996 as the final birth year of Millennials, marking that generation as those who turn ages 22 to 37 this year. (Those born in 1997 or later are post-Millennials.)

    Unlike with smartphones and social media, Gen Xers have outpaced Millennials in tablet ownership for several years. The gap between them now stands at 10 percentage points, as 64% of Gen Xers and 54% of Millennials say they own tablets. A majority of Gen Xers also say they have broadband service at home. Some 73% of Gen Xers have home broadband, compared with 66% of Boomers and 34% of Silents.

    And while the share of social media users among Millennials has remained largely unchanged since 2012, the proportion of Gen Xers who use social media has risen by 11 percentage points during this time period. As a result, comparable shares of Gen Xers and Millennials now report using Facebook (76% and 82%, respectively).

    Baby Boomers continue to trail both Gen Xers and Millennials on most measures of technology adoption, but adoption rates for this group have been growing rapidly in recent years. Boomers are now far more likely to own a smartphone than they were in 2011 (67% now versus 25% then). Further, roughly half (52%) of Boomers now say they own a tablet computer, and a majority (57%) now use social media.

    Although Boomers have been enthusiastically adopting a range of technologies in recent years, members of the Silent Generation are less likely to have done so. Three-in-ten Silents (30%) report owning a smartphone, and fewer (25%) indicate that they have a tablet computer or use social media (23%). Previous Pew Research Center surveys have found that the oldest adults face some unique barriers to adopting new technologies – from a lack of confidence in using new technologies, to physical challenges manipulating various devices.

    In addition to these differences in their use of various technologies, Americans across generations also differ in their overall views of the broad impact of the internet.

    Regardless of generation, the vast majority of those who go online think the internet has been good for them personally. But younger internet users are more likely than older Americans who use internet to say the internet has had a positive impact on society: 73% of online Millennials believe that internet has been mostly a good thing for society, compared with 63% of users in the Silent Generation.

    At the same time, Americans today are less positive about the societal impact of the internet than they were four years ago. Gen Xers’ views of the internet’s impact on society declined the most in that time. In 2014, 80% of Gen X internet users believed the internet had been mostly a positive thing for society, a number that dropped to 69% this year. Millennial and Silent online goers are also somewhat less optimistic than in 2014.

    The new analysis also finds that almost all Millennials (97%) say they use the internet, and 28% of them are smartphone-only internet users. That is, they own a smartphone but do not have traditional broadband service at home. A similarly high share of Gen Xers (96%) also use the internet, as do 83% of Boomers, but just 52% of Silents. When it comes to smartphone-only internet users, 18% of Gen Xers go online primarily via a smartphone, as do 13% of Boomers and 8% of Silents.

  • 28 Apr 2018 10:05 AM | Kathy Doering (Administrator)

    We loved this article at SMRA because it digs into the science behind the research. 

    About the Author

    Olivia Ryan is a young journalist who is passionate about topics of career, recruitment and self-development. She constantly tries to learn something new and share this experience on coursework service  as well as on other relevant websites.

    First things first.

    Data science is a complex combination of algorithm development, technology, and data inference. The purpose of “data science” is to solve complex problems that organizations face by means of analytics. In digital marketing, data science becomes critically important. It is the most real, concrete, and logical way to keep your progress steady and to improve it slowly. By analyzing your actions, you can identify the results that were eventually caused.

    Well, if you’re into marketing and business, here are 3 effective ways to leverage data science to skyrocket your marketing results.

    1. Advanced Customer Persona Research

    Customer persona research is much more advanced today than ever before. Therefore, it may be more effective than any demographic description. Target personas are developed to personalize the marketing and selling process. By doing so, the user will have a better UX (user experience) while he/she stumbles upon content, a platform, or a product/service.

    Data science-backed tools can bring change to the typical methods used by brands to conduct their market research process using only social media data. By listening, watching, and adapting to the present condition of today’s social media networks, marketers are capable to engage in conversations at a global scale to bring together broader data volume, and also to capture the most important trends and buzzes.

    Here’s how to do advanced customer persona research:

    • Start by using social media analytics tools to research a central topic.
    • Pattern the general data and track the critical consumer conversations.
    • Clean the unnecessary data from your data sets regularly.
    • Monitor the discussion through a listening dashboard.
    • Once you get to understand your audience, try to become accustomed to using language that your specific selected audience uses. This will improve your engagement and conversion rates big time!

    2. Forget Word Clouds

    At one point, word clouds were the most reliable tools for analyzing social conversation and understanding discussions. In fact, word clouds are not really focuses tools, unless you’re very active. Otherwise, the information you’ll get could be unrepresentative and you’ll have to work more to avoid using all those irrelevant words.

    Fortunately for marketers, there are better tools which are also based on the power of data science. Every digital marketer will be able to use these tools together with specific algorithms in natural language processing. Therefore, marketers will have an easier life while dealing with contextualizing the word usage and delivering meaningful insights.

    Entity Analysis and Buzz Graphs are only two examples of such tools that will help you associate words with their semantic type in a much easier fashion.

    3. Make Use of Community Groups

    Data science can be your best friend when it comes to targeting specific social media groups. Everything begins with a community grouping campaign, which will start when you identify the topic areas where you can find good responses (feedback from customers).

    Data science will do the rest of the magic. It will help marketers find and identify the most frequently discussed topics, all based on the frequency of the observed keywords. Then, all the topics will be analyzed to be classified through the social platform you choose.


    Data science is probably the new “big hit” that’s taking the digital environment by storm. Because we “swim” in data each day, the importance of it will continue to grow as the time goes by. As a marketer or entrepreneur, you should immediately acknowledge the importance of data in your business success and you should start taking action now!


  • 21 Apr 2018 1:15 PM | Kathy Doering (Administrator)

    *Article from Fast Company which offers some concrete research done on this subject. 

    Consumers’ expectation of data privacy is highly contextual.

    You’ve probably heard the saying, “consumers don’t care about privacy,” which I’ve always found to be an odd phrase since it seems like a logical fallacy.

    As a part of my day job as an industry analyst, I spend a lot of time with company executives talking through our firm’s research on consumer behavior with technology, which often touches on issues of privacy. It is in these conversations that I frequently hear the adage “consumers don’t care about privacy.” The reasoning behind this phrase is as follows: Because people post pictures of themselves or their family on social media–sometimes doing weird things–they must not care that much about their privacy. But it’s not that simple. After doing years of qualitative and quantitative studies on this subject, I think we need to reframe how we think about consumer privacy.


    Many consumers say they’re concerned about their privacy, and then post a bunch of personal stuff on Facebook, or Twitter, or Snapchat. But this says more about their feelings concerning social networking services than their overall feelings about privacy.

    Consumers’ beliefs and behavior around privacy are largely contextual. In some situations, they care about privacy; in others, not so much. When it comes to things like banking and finances, or medical-related information, consumer behavior will line up with their stated beliefs in caring about privacy. The reality is, social media may not be one of those places.

    Our findings suggest that consumers fully understand that the content they post on Facebook is public. They treat Facebook as a public forum. Therefore, the expectation of privacy on Facebook is not as high as it is with their bank, medical institution, or insurance company.

    So maybe a narrow version of that phrase, such as “consumers on Facebook don’t care about privacy” may well be true.

    Source: Creative Strategies


    After Facebook’s Cambridge Analytica scandal and Mark Zuckerberg’s recent Congressional hearings, we at Creative Strategies decided it was a good time  to conduct a new consumer study. We performed a broader study last year on consumer privacy and security and felt this would be a good way to update our results and glean new insights. We wanted to ask consumers about their use of Facebook and test some new privacy-related theories.

    After the responses were all in, some important data points stood out.

    • We discovered that approximately 20% of the consumers in our study did not have a currently active Facebook account. The vast majority of that 20% cited privacy-related concerns as a primary reason for not having a Facebook account.
    • 9% of the respondents had a Facebook account and deleted it at some point in the last few years. Again, many cited privacy-related reasons as a motivating factor.
    • 51% of consumers we polled disagreed with the statement that they enjoy using Facebook today as much as when they first started using it. 39% of those polled said they wish Facebook was more like it was when they first started using the service.
    • The top two main motivations for active Facebook users, by a large margin, are to stay in touch with friends or family who don’t live in the area (67%), and to keep up with friends or family they have lost touch with (59%).
    Source: Creative Strategies


    Consumers are becoming more sensitive to companies’ aggressive tracking of their online behavior. That tracking is beginning to affect consumers’ expectation of privacy.

    Our research shows that consumers don’t seem to mind seeing ads on Facebook. They even indicated some level of gratitude when they found a new product or service on Facebook that fit their interests. But consumers feel that Facebook crosses the “creepy” line when it targets its ads using personal information it gleaned outside of Facebook. To this point, 58% of consumers in our study said they’re less than comfortable with how good Facebook has become at tracking their general online activity.

    It’s here I believe the technology industry needs to start a broader conversation on privacy. The industry may need provide some protections for consumers who do not want their non-public online behavior to be tracked by companies like Facebook and Google. Any regulation of Facebook and companies like it should focus on this. Perhaps some consumer data should be off-limits to companies like Facebook and Google even if that activity happens on their own platforms.

    Consumers are becoming more aware of the sophisticated tracking and ad-targeting technology used by Facebook, Google, and others have become. That awareness is raising privacy concerns.

    No, people will not leave Facebook in droves. But people may start using Facebook less, as 45% of our study respondents said they were. Or more consumers may change their privacy settings and on-Facebook practices to limit how much information they share. Our survey found that 39% of consumers had already changed their Facebook privacy settings because of privacy concerns.

    And the impact on Facebook’s business is likely to be nominal, at least in the near term. Facebook already controls a massive store of user data. But it may call into question the long-term viability of business models that dispense some “free” service for which the consumer pays with their data rather than their dollars.

Copyright 2017, Social Media Research Association. All rights reserved

Powered by Wild Apricot Membership Software