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Social Insights: Emotion, Intent and Activation

We are a social-first market research agency specialising in the use of global social data to answer a wide range of strategic questions. Through human-led social data analysis across 45 languages, we deliver deep cultural insights that bring our global clients closer to local audiences.

This blog is a tailored transcript from one of our recent webinars, recorded and led by Jackie Cuyvers, CEO at Convosphere. If you want to catch up on the full webinar, you can visit the Social Insights: Emotion, Intent, and Activation, with Jackie Cuyvers complete recording on our YouTube channel. 

In this blog, we will be taking into context, not just the lingual context and the local social media atmosphere, but also the cultural context. We will be covering social insights, emotion, intent and activation. We will explore how you can use different social listening tools and other complementary tools to enrich data sets and achieve a holistic view of the true intent of consumer behaviour so that you can build or strategise effective activations. 



Social insights and consumer intent 

The first thing that you need to understand is that customer intent is often understood as the reason behind the action or statement of the decision process or journey towards a purchase or behaviour. This means that in a customer journey, where someone is intending to buy something or making the decision to buy, that’s a buying decision. There are also different journeys that should be considered, such as a patient journey. The patient journey is quite different because in the same way it can be linear where it goes from symptoms to diagnosis to treatment, but it flows in the similar way of customers, from researching, informing themselves, making a decision to purchase.

In the same way, these same approaches that we’re going to walk through can be used for a customer journey from a consumer perspective or a patient perspective, there may be other journeys that you want to consider that are appropriate for your business.

There are three keys to unlock consumer intent. From our perspective, to gain true insight, we first start with social listening, ultimately, hearing what people are saying. – whether that’s through an online conversation, a forum, a blog post, a post on social media, a conversation that’s happening or even review sites. Next, we put what they say in context of what they’re searching for.

When it comes to online consumption, ninety nine percent are engaging, while one percent are actively creating new content. So understanding what people are searching for is really important as well. And then lastly, to not just understand what people are saying and what people are searching for, but what people are doing online: What are their attitudes? What are their behaviours? How are they engaging? Who are they following?

“Use tools in combination to enrich your data set to uncover intent”

What type of activity are consumers partaking in? Looking at these three in conjunction can help you to uncover the true intent of your audience and develop either a strategy on how to drive them to action in a relevant and meaningful way. To carry out this process and analysis, we use a number of tools, and we find that using tools in conjunction with others can really enhance the data set.


The application of social listening tools: Making business decisions 

We’re going to start where we start all of our projects, which is with social listening. We’re a social-first agency and we specialise in social listening. Social listening is the process of using online conversation to answer business questions with actionable insight. It allows our clients to make data driven decisions. But social listening is the process, whereas the output is social intelligence. Social intelligence is then the application of those social insights to make the decisions and do business differently.

There are a lot of social listening tools out on the market, some are premium and some are free. Social listening tools are the software that license and gather the different data sets that are available online. Online conversations include millions of blogs, forums, websites and social media platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, Instagram. The reason we license these tools is because they are compliant. This means that you won’t run afoul of invalidating or breaking terms of service of different websites or social media platforms by crawling or scraping the data.

All of these tools get the data in a licensed and compliant manner. They are also data controllers, which is important in this day and age. It’s also their responsibility to follow the regulations for deleting tweets or the information that Google asks to be deleted. These tools gather the data for you and serve as a database, a repository for the data that you will be working with when you do a social listening project.

Many of these tools are established databases, with years of historical data. However, while these tools exist, they aren’t the only solution. Developing social insights isn’t as simple as licensing one of these tools and platforms. Unfortunately, it’s not that simple. You still need intelligent individuals who understand the business question, context and data that is being analysed to take those findings and develop insights.


Going beyond sentiment analysis 

Insight generation from social data or any kind of data is a very human activity. It takes people who understand not just that business context, but the social and cultural context as well. These different tools do have some analytics built into the software, and some have more than others. However, we find that while they do have a level of analysis, some very basic demographics. This gives you a high level picture of the aggregated data set, which if you’re looking for high level answers could be fine for you. But true insight comes from digging deeper. We find that some of the best insight that we’re able to gain is understanding the emotional insights.

Emotional insight is really important because it can help you in understanding drivers and barriers of your different stakeholders or customers. It can help you understand purchase intent, brand choice, user adoption, loyalty, adherence, churn or even customer satisfaction.

It is important to remember that none of the tools unveil the emotions that the customer is experiencing in their journey. Instead, they give you just the sentiment. They tell you it’s positive, negative or neutral, which is not overtly helpful when you’re trying to understand the drivers or barriers or how to increase customer satisfaction.

For example, if we apply this to the medical industry doing some research on cancer, most of these tools will tell you, seventy five percent of the conversations are negative. Well, that’s not really surprising, because cancer is a malicious disease. But what does this mean and how is this going to inform your choices on what to do differently? It really doesn’t. So this is where you really need to learn to dig deeper to understand what sits behind that sentiment.

The other challenge is that these are tools that are being licensed and utilised for people from many different industries, so they are using automated sentiment detection. Ultimately, automated sentiment detection can be tricky, and it requires working with the experts to really get it right. 

Using social listening tools can be challenging, but there are many benefits to reap when getting it right. If you are looking to learn more about social insights,and perhaps how to use them with emotion, intent and activation, please watch the full video, or get in touch with one of our friendly analysts today.