Simply put, social analytics refers to the collection and analysis of collected data on how users interface with an organization. The majority of applications monitor activity online, but we also engage with these tools whenever use a members card to buy groceries, purchase items with a credit card, or even having something as simple as a gym membership. Every interaction we make, from simple “clicks” to purchases, records tiny bits of intelligence that can be cataloged, mapped, and analyzed to better track user interaction and forecasting future trends.
There are a broad array of tools that allow for different methods of cataloging and illustrating social data. Two common headings for the subject are: Web Analytics and Social Media Analytics. Web Analytics are the most basic and commonly used services today. These tools—such as Google Analytics—capture and analyze data in the following ways:
• Site visits and unique site visits.
• Pages that are most and least viewed.
• Search items used to find the site.
• Physical location of site visitors and time of day site accessed.
• Web browsers and operating systems that visitors are using.
By acquiring this information, administrators can gauge the effectiveness of the site’s objectives and suggest what areas need to be changed.
Social Media Analytics often use more sophisticated methods of tracking and organization’s influence over social media by tracking a variety of social media sites and even the emotional quality of the comments made on these sites. For example, Mood of the Nation is an analysis tool that catalogs tweets and maps this data across population, geography, time, and emotional tone. These tools can process this data into video feeds that demonstrate how these qualities change over time rather than providing snapshots of data in static, fixed cross sections. This can aid in the inference of the data as is simulates the information in the dynamic environment that we live in; providing a more timely and thorough assessment of an organization’s actions upon their customers.
Social data analysis is a crucial element to the constellation of data an organization must understand to effectively steer the ship in the right directions at the right times. With the speed social dynamics shift and the often unpredictable nature of human behavior, social analytics are a vital tool to making more effective decisions.