Market Research Goes Social

“Data Driven Thinking” is written by members of the media community and contains fresh ideas on the digital revolution in media.

Today’s column is written by Laura O’Shaughnessy, CEO of SocialCode.

Today’s social advertising campaigns and branded social communities reach tens of thousands, even millions of people. Brands now benefit from cultivated communities that act on special offers and provide powerful word-of-mouth endorsements. However, only the most progressive brands have realized another noteworthy advantage to building a social community: market research.

Traditionally, brand marketers spend substantial resources on offline market research to gain an in-depth understanding of their customers and how best to reach them. Social networks have that information built-in at a fraction of the cost. They reveal powerful demographic, geographic and lifestyle data about potential advertising targets and community members. This rich data can inform a brand’s social, online strategies, and offline decisions, too.

Now by analyzing social communities, brands can leverage interest data that tells a detailed story about the fan base — who they are, what they are interested in, what they consume, how they live, and how they behave.

This data not only informs how to effectively grow the community, it provides information with powerful practical applications for brand marketing strategies and tactics including: Media Planning (Online and Off), Brand Positioning, Creative and Sponsorships.

I have seen Fortune 500 brands use the knowledge of their social fan base to better inform various aspects of their marketing strategies.

Here are the top three uses of community analysis research I’ve seen thus far:

  • Informing Offline Media Targets: Brands have uncovered additional interests, causes, and media properties their own fans associate with. This insight has enabled them to target an entirely separate audience in on- and offline media plans.
  • Targeting New Business Partners:  Brands use community analysis to reveal potential partner companies that their fans have also engaged with to determine which brands would drive maximum traffic for co-promotional campaigns.
  • Finding a Corporate Cause: For many companies, analyzing social communities’ has revealed their fans’ top ten philanthropic interests, helping them to decide which company to partner with to fulfill their own corporate social responsibilities in alignment with branding objectives.

Follow Laura O’Shaughnessy (@lgraham) and AdExchanger (@adexchanger) on Twitter.


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