93% of digital marketing and advertising professionals believe that utilising social media as a mechanism for customer feedback provides an exceptional opportunity for product development, according to the latest research by Crimson Hexagon.

With the unfiltered honesty social media allows consumers, it is unsurprising that companies are seeing less promise in traditional tools for gauging customer feedback, such as focus groups and surveys.

These methods are increasingly thought to lack the reliability sentiment analysis software and tools can provide as a measure of public emotions regarding a product, brand or service.

‘No brand or organisation can afford to overlook such a rich source of feedback, ideas and opportunities to engage with customers and prospects…’

In fact, 72% of survey respondents agree that social media analysis provides the benefits of trustworthiness and relevance in the new age of market research.

Social platforms offer free access to a vast pool of subjects, with whom brands can engage and converse in real-time, adopt a proactive approach by digging deeper into issues critical to product success and implement the most feasible of recommendations or solutions offered by customers within a collaborative setting.

Social analysis in practice:

Although agreeing in theory, the practice of sentiment analysis for product development has still not been taken up by brands and agencies alike, with only 16% embracing social media monitoring and 13% adopting social media analysis.

The majority of surveyed brand marketers and advertising agencies alike disclose that there is a lack of investment within the field of social analysis. A number of free sentiment analysis tools are available on the market, but the accuracy of their results may be more limited compared to the development of more proprietary technologies. For example, a Twitter search for the brand ‘Apple’ may include sentiment entries for the fruit, thus distorting results.

Despite any such shortcomings, Curt Bloom, president for Crimson Hexagon promotes the uptake of social analysis, “Social media is the world’s largest focus group, with millions of consumers regularly sharing their honest and candid opinions online. No brand or organisation can afford to overlook such a rich source of feedback, ideas and opportunities to engage with customers and prospects…the awareness and influence of social sentiment is undeniable, and what is needed now is investment in the tools capable of extracting raw data, giving it meaning and context, and harnessing it to develop better business decisions.”

As the world converges online, mining opinions through social analysis is set to become an effective and international form of research, for input into all aspects of the marketing mix.

Muniba Tariq

Muniba Tariq