2016 Net Gain – Social Insight in Action

The following are notes from Margot Acton and Vanessa Killeen’s Net Gain 2016 presentation: “Social Insight in Action: The Power of Combining Social Media Analysis and Traditional Survey Research”. This post has had limited editing and hence there will be typos.

A lot of noise, and challenges for brands to cut through the clutter. P&G Chief Brand Officer pulled back on advertising because: “as the world was getting louder and more complex, we were simply adding to that noise”.

The bar of acceptability for brands is higher than it was 20 years ago, and it’s getting higher every day. ¬†Harder for brands to break through – best in class advertising is going up.

Not every touchpoint matters? Consumers filter and manage their relationships with brands in new and powerful ways

20% of touchpoints can deliver – and this varies from one brand to another

Social media has allowed consumers to move from passive relationsihps with brands to co-creators or destroyers.

Q: If a research project is delivered and no one remembered it, did it happen?

Often brand tracking falls into this.

  • Tracking – often long surveys, with many people who have put in questions.
  • Declining response rates on panels.
  • Flat-line metrics – what do you do if nothing is changing? What is the insight?
  • Problem – data can take weeks or months to be received

Social media

  • full range of opinion
  • real-time
  • low cost?


  • Data is a bit spikey, volume of tweets can go up and down day-to-day
  • Too much noise – one study looked at 100k pieces of content for a brand, found 380 were relevant
  • Automated sentiment coding is poor
  • It’s not representative – though the real issue is not representativeness it’s predictability
  • Challenge – can we model survey KPIs for social and search data sources?

TNS study – reproduced survey based KPIs for 80 brands in six categories. Building models that can predict brand equity four weeks in advance.

Can predict sales accurately for categories such as cars and toilet paper.


A lot of the traditional metrics are focusing on the wrong things and are not predictive.

Critical assets and what brand is generating is not being gathered by traditional KPIs.

Result: Turning off some metrics while leveraging predictive power of social.

Obtain much more dynamic insights from social media, as things change more often.

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