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New study says businesses are undervaluing social data

31st May 2019
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Social media has been rocked by scandals in recent years, from the revelations associated with Facebook’s affiliation with Cambridge Analytica, to both Twitter and Facebook's ongoing problems with bot accounts.

Against this backdrop, it’s understandable that businesses might be increasingly cautious about the ongoing value of social data.        

However, new research from the Social Intelligence Lab suggests that many businesses are missing opportunities to make valuable customer experience improvements, by neglecting social data initiatives they are already invested in.

In the 2019 State of Social Intelligence Survey, SI Labs discovered that many data professionals were becoming frustrated by the inaction of their business leaders upon receiving valuable customer insights obtained through social data analysis.

Over half (52%) of the 200 social intelligence professionals interviewed for the study expressed concern that the social data initiatives within their business – along with the related objectives and outputs – were not clearly understood by the necessary decision-makers at their company.

80% of respondents felt that their social data analysis continued to offer unique insight into customer experience that could not be obtained through other forms of market research.

Yet many were increasingly feeling the effects of social media’s recent fall from grace - 60% felt that their budgets were impeding their ability to deliver a comprehensive social data programme.

31% felt they were being held back by a lack of integration with other data sources across their business, while 22% stated there was no clear vision at leadership level in terms of making the most of social data.   

“The survey results show a real contradiction at play in the marketplace: C-suite execs have invested  their budget in social data to deliver new and valuable insights about their customers and their marketplace, but way too few are reported to be able  to understand and act upon the insights,” says Dr. Jillian Ney, the founder of The SI Lab.

“There’s still a general misconception that ‘social data’ means ‘social media’, i.e. that the insights offered by social data are only relevant to an organisation’s social media strategy. That’s potentially a very costly mistake to make.”

Despite this, businesses continue to invest in technology to aid social data analysis. One recent study suggests the global social media analytics market will have grown in value from $2.7bn in 2017 to $9.5bn in 2022.  

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