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Tuesday
May112010

Impact of Recent Mergers on Social Media Analytics

Most companies, particularly in Canada, are just starting to get their feet wet when it comes to the first step of social media – listening.  The plethora of free and low cost tools make it easy for organizations to put their ear to the ground, and hear the faint murmurs of their customers amidst the noise which tends to predominate social networks.

But as I’ve mentioned in earlier blogposts, basic brand monitoring is of limited strategic value given the inherent challenges discerning a meaningful trend from an individual opinion, unless companies are willing to invest more resources.  Business outcomes will be tactical in nature and incapable of providing enduring strategic value unless brands start taking a more holistic, aggregated view of social media conversations.

Two recent mergers signal a maturation of the industry, and ultimately should make it more efficient for organizations to derive value and true business intelligence from social media.

First off, text analytics firm Attensity purchased Biz360, a social media monitoring service.  Based on their previous alliance with Radian6, Attensity already recognized the power of applying its data mining technology to social media. Their text analytics product is well suited to social media, an unstructured data source if there ever was one.  It can take a corpus of text and begin analyzing it for topic and sentiment down to the phrase level. Their enterprise solution can combine social media with other forms of customer data, in theory offering a broader context to customer feedback – delivering integrated results through a handy-dandy business intelligence dashboard.  We are no longer just social media monitoring, but looking at managing the entire customer experience.

Next up was last week’s purchase of ScoutLabs by Lithium Technologies.   Scout Labs came onto the scene about a year ago and lowered the price floor in the social media monitoring game, allowing companies to monitor mentions for about $200 per month.  Lithium’s social software as a service (SaaS) helps power some of the most robust crowdservice platforms out there, including the  Future Shop and Best Buy community forums.  While it’s not altogether clear now the two products will work together, what we might see is ScoutLabs aggregating and feeding social media conversations from the web into an established Lithium community, enriching the dialogue with relevant content.

Regardless of how these deals pan out, what they signify are attempts to extract more value out of unsolicited consumer generated content.  Overtime, look for more movement that helps brands elevate social media mentions to part of an integrated system of customer feedback which can be used to enhance the customer experience, or as an integrated business intelligence tool.