Social Media Analytics Turns Customer Sentiment into Actionable Data

While many retailers may still be working to best utilize the data they currently collect —such as sales per store, region or time period — they now need to up the ante and realize the benefits of Social Media Analytics. Using sentiment analysis — which analyzes the words used in conversations on social media — new analytics products can help retailers turn conversations into actionable information.

Sentiment analysis software locates adjectives in close proximity to specifically selected nouns to determine whether the communicated sentiment is positive or negative. “Sentiment analysis will allow retailers to understand consumer emotions and give them a connection to the customer that goes well beyond whether a product simply sold well or not,” said Steve Rowen, Principal at RSR Research.

Recently introduced by SAS, Social Media Analytics has the ability to archive and analyze more than two years of social media conversations from Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, discussion forums, blogs and the like. After developing several years of experience with text analytics, SAS was poised to bring comprehensive social media analytics to market. “We have the infrastructure in place to continuously collect and archive social media conversations,” said John Bastone, Product Marketing Manager for SAS customer intelligence.



The SAS product provides predictive analytics capabilities, delivering the ability to quantify influence, forecast future volume of social media conversations, then predict their impact on the business. Retailers can then correlate key marketing metrics such as brand preference, web traffic, online campaign effectiveness and media mix.

Offered as an on-demand service, SAS Social Media Analytics can be targeted to deliver insights in four key areas:

  1. Brand and market tracking
  2. Public Relations and reputation tracking
  3. Customer feedback management
  4. Online media analysis


Getting Started with Social Media Analytics
Typically companies can be up and running with Social Media Analytics in four to six weeks, says Bastone. First SAS collects information about the retailer’s core issues and the key information that retailer would like to glean from social media. Then, working with data aggregators, SAS begins to monitor and collect information.


On Day One of the implementation, SAS is able to deliver reports and dashboards in an online framework that will show right away what the online space is saying about the company and its products, such as product assortment, product quality and store location. Each retailer is able to customize the information delivered.

Anticipating Quick Adoption of Social Media Analytics
With the dramatic increase in social media adoption, social media analytics could be close behind. Rowen expects retailers to quickly jump on the Social Media Analytics bandwagon. “I anticipate we’ll see a fairly rapid rollout, particularly among large retailers and those whose brands and products invoke passionate allegiance, ownership and identify among consumers,” Rowen said.

Additionally, SAS expects to see the quickest adoption among companies that already have one or more of the following criteria in place:

  1. high consumer engagement in the product area (example: Apple)
  2. strong public profile of the brand (example: Walmart)
  3. highly competitive industry (example: grocery)
  4. progressive Internet marketing strategies in place (example: Abercrombie & Fitch)


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