… but don’t use social media in their research.
A recent study from the Market Research Global Alliance (MRGA), based on a sample of over 3,000 respondents from over 50 cities and regions globally, sought to discover which social networks are favoured by market researchers.
The study identified LinkedIn as the number one platform for market researchers to communicate and monitor industry trends, with Facebook a somewhat distant second. Twitter was notable mainly for its outstanding growth potential.
What the survey didn’t make clear was how far social media data-mining tools can supplement or even replace traditional market research. The respondents’ lack of enthusiasm for Twitter, coupled with a wider absence of industry buzz, suggests that little work has been done in this direction – although the major players clearly recognise the potential.
Social data-mining operates in a different climate from traditional market research. There are obvious disadvantages, including confining respondents to particular technographic groups, the challenge of collecting fruitful volumes of data for low visibility issues, and the propensity for groupthink and unrepresentative views in public conversation. But there are also advantages, most obviously in the cost of the research itself, but also in the nature of feedback received spontaneously rather than in response to a questionnaire.
At Cision, we’re always trying to highlight how social media can be used to provide snapshots of public sentiment on the issues of the day – and some of our efforts using Cision Social Media have surprised even us with their accuracy and predictive power.
While social media data-mining doesn’t seem likely to supplant traditional methods any time soon – the automated sentiment and semantic analyses aren’t there yet – thoughtful integration of the two approaches will deliver more insight, more value, than either in isolation.