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Social Media Monitoring: Listen and Learn

  • June 2014
  • -
  • Frost & Sullivan
  • -
  • 16 pages

This report assesses the value of social media monitoring to the enterprise, and explores the products and perspectives of three prominent social media monitoring providers. It should be of interest to both buyers and sellers of these solutions as they navigate the emerging social sphere.

Executive Summary

Social media platforms like Facebook, Google+, Instagram and Twitter have opened up a vast new commons in which people can post pictures, videos, comments and opinions for all to see. The barriers to entry are nil, enabling the rapid expansion of all manner of content. Along with this content, and unseen by the people who share it, goes a steady stream of data noting who is posting, where else they have been online, and how they are connected to one another. From a business standpoint, the emerging social sphere presents a rich new source of market data, as well as a new medium for sales and service.

Accordingly, businesses are beginning to monitor social media, and experimenting with social marketing and customer service, primarily in the B2C markets, and to a somewhat lesser extent in B2B. Social media monitoring and participation are expected to improve customer engagement, build brand loyalty, and attract additional revenue. While such hopes seem intuitively reasonable, and anecdotal use cases are accumulating, reliably quantifiable returns on investment (ROI) have proven to be elusive thus far. Folding social media activity into traditional marketing strategies presents additional challenges, the most obvious of which have to do with the brand’s inability to control its public image in the social sphere.

Businesses also are under a great deal of pressure to be socially accessible and responsive, at least in the B2C realm. As workers, people still follow the usual corporate procedures for problem-solving, but as consumers, they have stopped looking for help on corporate websites or suffering “unusually long wait times” on 800-numbers while being told periodically to “find answers on our website.” Instead, they expect that a quick Facebook exchange with the company will resolve their complaint or get the answers they need. On the other hand, consumers don’t want companies to get “creepy” with social advances that are deemed too personal, and they punish companies whom they perceive have failed to protect their privacy. Clearly, businesses will need to tread carefully as they use social data and participate in social media.

In other words, the social sphere is a new public realm in which businesses can find both risk and reward; and it is one which they cannot afford to ignore. Stratecast|Frost & Sullivan (hereafter, Stratecast) believes several trends are clear. First, social media is well on its way to becoming a new marketing and customer service channel. Second, the power of social media monitoring is just beginning to dawn upon most businesses. And finally, some level of social media engagement is, or soon will be, mandatory for all modern businesses.


“Half my advertising is wasted; the trouble is, I don’t know which half.”
When department store pioneer John Wanamaker uttered this famous phrase in the late 1800s, he was in the forefront of modern marketing and advertising.2 From the earliest days of advertising in newspapers and flyers, through radio, television, direct mail, email and the World Wide Web, marketers have been challenged to cost-effectively attract customers. Focus groups, surveys and customer advisory groups have been used to elicit customer opinions about products and marketing; but, as recently as 2006, the authors of What Sticks: Why Most Advertising Fails and How to Guarantee Yours Succeeds calculated that as much as $ billion of the $ billion spent on advertising in the U.S., or about percent, was wasted. Driving costs out of marketing, without driving customers away, is a much more difficult goal than optimizing supply-chains, distribution networks and other business processes.

In the early days of the Web, the authors of The Cluetrain Manifesto introduced the idea that the Web would transform marketing into an authentic conversation between newly-empowered buyers and humbled, re-humanized sellers.3 The concept didn’t take hold at the time; and for about ten years, businesses continued to use the Web primarily for traditional, one-way marketing, in the form of search engine optimization (SEO) and paid Internet advertising.

By 2010, however, social media sites like Facebook (founded in 2004) and Twitter (founded 2006) had caught on with the public, and the marketing conversation had begun, albeit without the passion for dis-intermediating corporate marketing that the Cluetrain authors predicted. In fact, many corporate marketing efforts are beginning to include paid advertising and postings on social media websites, as well as monitoring the effects of these activities on the brand, as perceived by other social media users. The users are, for the most part, unaware or uninterested in these corporate efforts; they enjoy social media primarily as a way to connect and share pictures, videos and comments with friends and family. They will share a very clever video ad for its entertainment value, and they do engage directly with companies on social media to get information about a product, track a delivery, make a complaint or get post-purchase assistance.

Companies naturally want to satisfy these expectations, and they also want to use social media to grow their customer base—which is why they pay Facebook, Twitter and others to promote their own social media content. There is no doubt that clever content does stimulate people to like, share, retweet, maybe join in a company-sponsored game, register for a discount coupon, even visit the company Web site and make a purchase.

The importance of good content, and the particular technicalities of social networking, have made social marketing a vibrant new specialty; and the quest to quantify its impact has made for a very crowded social media monitoring market. In fact, Stratecast has identified more than suppliers of products and services that address the range of social media activity, from simply “listening,” to designing and managing social marketing campaigns. This report assesses the value of social media monitoring to the enterprise, and explores the products and perspectives of three prominent social media monitoring providers. It should be of interest to both buyers and sellers of these solutions as they navigate the emerging social sphere.

Table Of Contents

Social Media Monitoring: Listen and Learn
Table of Contents

Executive Summary . 4
Introduction .. 5
What Businesses Can Learn from Social Media .. 6
More Data on Customers and Competitors Adds Value .. 8
Sysomos 10
Brandwatch . 11
Sprinklr . 12
Market and Industry Dynamics .. 13
The Last Word .. 15

List of Figures

Figure 1: North American Social Media Preferences (N = 1250) 6
Figure 2: Consumer Data from Online Activity and Other Sources .. 8
Figure 3: Younger Consumers Less Troubled by Social Data Collection .. 9
Figure 4: Younger Consumers Less Skeptical about Social Data Collection 9
Figure 5: Sysomos MAP Dashboard 10
Figure 6: Brandwatch Vizia Display 11
Figure 7: Sprinklr Listening Screenshots .. 12
Figure 8: Smartphone Coupon Offers Resonate with Consumers 13
Figure 9: Younger Consumers More Interested in Smartphone Offers . 14

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