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 Using Social Analytics to Determine Channel Targeting

Knowing where to direct ad spend for promotions and other campaigns is super important. Wasting budget on a social site that your target segment doesn’t frequent is tragic, and easily avoided by using social analytics to determine channel targeting!

Understanding the sources your social analytics tool is retrieving data from is step one. Because if it isn’t capturing the larger conversation web-wide, you’ll miss out on talking points and trends that are headed your way wherever you end up. So, let’s take a look at exactly that . . .

Social Analytics Sources that Inform Channel Targeting

social analytics sources that inform channel targeting

NetBase retrieves sound bites from all sources listed above, and analysts can remove various sources by deselecting them. It’s a quick way to sort for one social channel at a time, if you like. But we’ll get more into specific source analysis in just a bit!

A more detailed source coverage list with examples of each type, follows:

  • Blogs – sites like the Mommy Blog, Kotaku, Gizmodo, Gawker, or LiveJournal.
  • Forums – including Reddit, Parenting Forums, eBay Forums, BabyCenter, Reddit, Gaia Online, CafeMom, or InvisionFree.
  • Microblogs – sites that typically contain significantly less content than a blog post. Microblog posts, also called microposts, enable users to exchange small content elements, such as short sentences, individual images, or video links. For Simplified and Traditional Chinese, the Microblogs classification includes Sina Weibo.
  • News – the New York Times or PR Newswire.
  • Other corporate, government, education, and other miscellaneous sources, such as Pandora or Netflix.
  • Professional Review sites like CNET or PCWorld.
  • Employee Reviews form brands’ pages on sites like Glassdoor and Indeed.
  • Comment data, capturing people’s opinions attached to posts.
  • Consumer Reviews from places like Buzzillions or TripAdvisor.
  • Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Tumblr, YouTube and other social networks.
  • Internal data that NetBase has indexed for your organization.
  • Google data – it’s important to note that this data falls under multiple classifications. Google News falls under the ‘News’ classification, for example.
  • Domain data – we capture data from millions of domains and work with clients to add new domains all the time.

And now that we’ve dazzled you with source potential, how in the world do you sort through all of that to determine where to your target audience is hiding? It’s time to analyze those sources to see!

summary of sources insight

Analyzing Sources for Channel Targeting

Having the ability to drill down into search results is crucial. Whether it’s a search spanning an entire category or something specific to a brand or, even more granular, a campaign created by a brand, capturing the top trending conversations happening around it on each source offers key intel.

Beyond sorting out what consumers are saying, and the Net Sentiment behind it, brands can compare conversation volume across sources.

And seeing where the love lies – which channels contain the most support for your brand, along with those that may be a haven for haters, shouldn’t be unsold here either! Spending your ad budget on a channel where they hate you, might not be wise. Or it could be an effort to change that feeling. Either way, having a solid sense of your Net Sentiment to use as a baseline is important. It runs from -100 to 100:

net sentiment and other channel targeting metrics

Knowing what you’re heading into before your brand posts blind is an amazingly proactive (and effective) brand health tactic. Not to mention, a smart PR crisis preventative.

Create a Source Analysis Dashboard

 creating a source analysis dashboard

With a Source Type Overview dashboard, brands can compare key metrics, including post/mention volume and those all-important positives and negatives across source types:

 source type overview dashboard for channel targeting

And also create a side-by-side comparison of top terms, top hashtags, trending terms, and most shared content across three top social media sites – Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram:

trending terms and top hashtags on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook

And top terms, trending terms, and domains across blogs, forums, and news offers additional conversational context:

blog, forums and news channel targeting insight

Getting Specific with Sources

From the Source Type Overview, we can see that Twitter is capturing the lion’s share of posts. Beyond that, let’s assume, from your initial dashboard search, that you decided to focus a bit more specifically on some other places where you’re seeing interesting intel. And that left you with Twitter, Comments, and Forums to explore:

how to filter out sources for deeper channel targeting

From there, brands can sort by either “posts” or “mentions.” The ‘posts’ view displays all posts matching your search analysis criteria (where you’d define your topic keywords, and any terms you’d like to include/exclude):

analyzing summary metrics

And the ‘mentions’ view shows each individual item matching your criteria. So, it naturally has a higher count than ‘posts’ in the summary tab. And that summary tab tells brands:

  • Total number of mentions for all source types
  • The number of mentions for any source selected in the main panel and its share of the total
  • A thumbnail trend chart for each metric

analyzing summary metrics by mentions

And expanding the “domains” view in the summary metrics offers the top domains for all source types, or for whichever source is selected in the main panel. This offers brands a quick list of sites to consider beyond social channel targeting for advertising/engagement purposes:

list of domains to use in channel targeting

But that’s all really just surface metrics to start your search.

Digging in to Channel-specific Metrics

From there, using those three defined sources, brands can look at top authors by count, followers/visitors or total engagement, to help identify potential brand ambassadors/influencers to be the face of their new advertising campaign. Or to help it along:

identifying influencers with channel targeting search results

Audience demographics, which can help determine messaging on this – and other platforms (as nothing is stopping you from rerunning with search with different ‘source’ criteria. You may find demographics that are exactly opposite on Facebook, for example, and that may be a better fit for whatever you’re advertising, even if it is a smaller audience. It’s important to explore all of the options:

using demographics to inform channel targeting decisions

Brands can also see where in the world these potential consumers are located, assuming location is important, and it definitely can be. If you’re wanting to target folks in the UK (for this search), you’ll be happy to see the extensive audience there. If not, you may want to rethink that platform and explore other sources:

geography as an importatn insight to explore when channel targeting

And then what are they saying on that channel/platform, right now, in real-time? Also, where they’re saying it, specifically? As mentioned at the outset, ‘forums’ can cover a bunch of sites. Reddit is a popular one though:

analyzing real-time stream of posts

And the Word Cloud can reveal terms, hashtags, emojis, brands, people and things that could make or break whatever it is you’re planning. It’s important to understand relevant conversation, and click through on these items to explore each in-depth:

Word cloud to inform channel targeting decisions

Advanced AI Audience Understanding

Brands get a huge assist here from AI Studio, as it surfaces semantically similar terms related to your topic search, to cut down on your initial search time and leave you free to analyze what’s important:

AI Studio revealing additional channel targeting considerations

And then there’s so much more beyond all of this too. Each item listed below comes with lots of valuable insight to explore, depending on a brand’s specific needs:

many ways to sort social insight for channel targeting in NetBase

Once you sort out where your audience is, and where the love is, you’ll know where to target your efforts. But the rest is required for making sure you’ve found the right audience. If it were just about numbers, it would be simple to say ‘focus on Twitter’ here. But quantity does not mean quality and this is why you’ll find so many valuable, and transparent, insight offerings, powered by next generation artificial intelligence.

Brands need to create engaging advertising that resonates with target segments; ads that propel potential clients along that purchase path. Just knowing where they are is important, of course, but is certainly is not enough!

Be sure to reach out for a demo so we can show you all of it in action!