9 Essentials for Measuring Brand Impact in the Age of Social Media

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The advertising and marketing industries have changed dramatically with the invention and growth of social media. As consumer information and opinions become increasingly available online and through social channels, social listening complements and in some cases replaces older market research methods.

In this paper, we introduce the essential components of online opinion monitoring. By incorporating them into your analysis, you can take full advantage of the opportunities that social media offers to you. Opinion monitoring will help you to develop informed advertising and marketing strategies that promote your brand’s market success.

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1. Social Media Archive

The world of social media is constantly expanding, forcing businesses to keep up with technological advances and changing customer opinions. As new social media platforms are introduced, customers are eager to express their opinions through new forms of media and channels. They also expect their favorite brands to keep up with the latest trends, by offering new and ingenious advertising that blends into their social media-driven lives.

While businesses must spot new trends, they must also incorporate a sophisticated understanding of their past into their online opinion monitoring. Focusing on the past, present, and future is a challenging assignment, but one that can pay huge dividends for businesses that are successful.

In order to get the most out of online opinion monitoring, pair current data with historical data in your analysis. Comparing current results to past campaigns offers analysts a benchmark that can inform future advertising strategies and answer important questions. How have your brand, product, and message changed over time? Has your customer base changed and what about their opinions?

2. Stop Counting, Start Learning

In order to conduct comprehensive social media analysis, you must select a tool that understands the complexities of language. Many opinion monitoring approaches simply count the raw mentions of a word in the hope that the massive sample size will drown any anomalies arising from the knottiness of language.

For instance, if you have a brand name like Sky News or Victoria Secret’s Pink, you will find millions of posts that contain your brand’s name but do not actually refer to it. References to the weather or your favorite color will provide little insight into consumers’ brand opinions and can damage analysis results.

The same problem applies to Crest. With a brand name can be used as a noun and a verb, neither of which actually refer to the brand, Crest analysts may experience significant problems if they rely on mentions rather than more sophisticated analytics technology.

Mere counting without an analysis of context does not give an accurate or comprehensive sense of opinion. At worst, the insight can be outright wrong. Instead, opinion analysis should be built upon a deep understanding of language so that opinions are sorted not by the words included but by the meaning and purpose with which they were written.

3. Filter Out the Noise

With the dramatic rise of social media, businesses face new opportunities and new challenges. It takes significant time and financial resources to sort through the thousands or millions of posts that mention your product or brand. When you embark on the intimidating process of analyzing online opinion data, you will discover that it is a task that is impossible to complete by hand and limited with most opinion monitoring tools.

Problems may arise from the sheer number of posts as well as the nuances of language. Words and phrases are complex and many have multiple meanings, are constantly being invented, refer to pop culture and passing fads, and present other ambiguities.

For instance, with the rise in image-sharing platforms like Instagram and Pinterest, users enjoy uploading photos of themselves and others as potential stars of Crest toothpaste commercials. Although Crest benefits from being the go-to toothpaste brand, these posts offer little insights into Crest’s advertising and marketing strategies. The ability to remove these posts and others that are unrelated to the analysis at hand, enables analysts to develop more precise findings.

It is necessary to filter out irrelevant data because its inclusion may minimize and obscure important trends, warnings, and opportunities. With irrelevant data removed from the data set, you can extract accurate insights from the remaining relevant data.

After eliminating irrelevant data from your opinion analysis, a variety of monitoring tools allow analysts to sort posts into positive, negative, and neutral categories. This process is useful for understanding how customers are interacting with a brand or product at a basic level. You can also compare the proportions of each category and analyze trends in sentiment over time. While this process may yield some insights regarding the performance of your brand, they are extremely limited and offer little help to future business strategies. As the industry matures, analysts are demanding more.

4. Ask the Right Questions

As social media monitoring capabilities become more advanced, you are able to conduct more sophisticated analysis. Removing irrelevant data and sorting relevant data into sentiment categories now serves as the foundation for opinion analysis.

Customizable categories give you the ability to create categories specific to your brand or product. If you were conducting analysis for a brand like Crest, you would be able to separate conversations by any number of different topics including specific products or lines, customers’ favorite and least favorite toothpaste flavors, and new advertising and commercials. These categories can be as broad or as narrow as the analyst sees fit, and may include topics such as:

  • Popular brand attributes
  • Different stages of the consumer life cycle
  • Best and worst product features
  • Customer service issues

Instead of simply measuring conversation sentiment, opinion analysis helps you to study the aspects of your business that are most important to consumers. You are able to see what themes dominate the conversation and how consumers relate to each category.

Crimson Hexagon’s BrightView algorithm allows analysts to define their own categories of investigation and measure how the proportions of these categories change over time. Analysts are able to train documents and BrightView builds a corresponding model, analyzing the remaining unlabeled posts. BrightView applies qualitative analysis with the analyst’s judgment to thousands or even millions of posts in the data set.

5. Grow More Specific Over Time

With access to millions of posts being written each day, there is no shortage of data nor any question that must remain unanswered. The continuously growing social media data library allows you to analyze every stage of the consumer life cycle or product launch, past or present.

When you begin planning for a product launch, you should start by analyzing consumers’ feelings towards the industry. Is conversation increasing or decreasing, is it positive or negative, are there aspects of the product that they love and others that they hate? Answering these questions before a launch will result in greater efficiency and success as you incorporate consumers’ honest and unsolicited insights into your launch strategy.

Once you’ve designed and launched your campaign, you can analyze the hype: what are potential customers saying, are they excited or exasperated, are they interested in specific features or simply ready for a updated product? With access to historical data, you can compare the conversation to previous campaigns to document your brand’s development.

As the campaign proceeds, you can continue monitoring the conversation. Are people happy with your latest product? Are they recommending it to their followers or warning them not to purchase it? Is your advertising still enticing or has it become stale more quickly than expected?

Gaining insights from each step of past and present product launches gives you the comprehensive insights you need to continue developing strategies that garner positive and lasting support from social media users.

6. Get to Know Your Audience

In addition to knowing what people are saying about your product or brand, it is equally important to know who is talking about it.

While a focus group or survey is built to capture the opinions of initiated and uninitiated consumers, online opinion analysis targets the initiated and the opinions they spread across the web. Those who choose to express their brand opinions via social media touch on a variety of different topics and have the potential to inspire or prevent their followers from becoming future customers. Therefore, it is vital to know what they are saying, who they are, and who they are talking to.

New tools are being developed to help you identify who is talking about your brand or product. Taking advantage of demographic and psychographic information can help you understand the conversation. For instance, demographic information brings clarity to your analysis.

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Crest offers consumers a wide variety of products that cater to many different demographics and tastes. Do people in different regions care for their teeth differently and how does dental hygiene vary by gender? Answers to questions like these can help brands develop advertising strategies that cater to the demographics that are the most interested in their products. Analysis guided towards specific products may also show differences, highlighting why certain people may be more or less likely to buy certain Crest products.

In addition to learning about the demographic composition of your audience, you can also learn about your audience’s interests. Insights gained from consumer affinities can inform campaign strategies, allowing you to determine if you are targeting the right audience and how you may build future relationships with potential partners or sponsors.

For instance, when we analyzed the conversation surrounding Crest over the past 7 months, we found that women author 74% of the posts that had identifiable gender. Not surprisingly, the Crest audience is interested in traditional feminine subjects such as beauty, fashion, and jewelry. They are also interested in popular culture, including being 14 times more interested in Real Housewives than the general Twitter audience.

Segment Insights allow you go even deeper, understanding the complexities of your audience’s interests. Find out what the Real Housewives conversation looks like by diving into a plethora data. View top mentions, hashtags, and influencers along with followers’ demographic information. This groundbreaking tool gives you the ability to dig into customer interests and create informed partnerships and advertising strategies.

7. Track Customer Driven Trends

When you measure the themes that comprise the broader conversation, you can monitor day-to-day or hour-to-hour trends that each theme follows, offering insights that can guide advertising, PR, and customer service response strategies.

Spikes in conversation can be caused by any number of situations, from an exciting product launch to a poorly worded Tweet. Real time opinion monitoring gives you the ability to react quickly and accurately to trending topics so that you can boost positive sentiment and minimize damage.

Measuring conversation trends is especially important for businesses that sell consumer packaged goods, since customers frequently tweet about the products they use in their daily lives. Opinion monitoring will capture trends as customers try out the latest toothpaste flavor or identify problems, sometimes indicating early signs of a recall.

Filtering out large amounts of data for targeted topics can highlight the current state of discussions, and you may witness a trend that appears as time progresses. Watching the direction of the trend and paying attention to who is talking about your brand will help you keep your message on track.

8. Monitor Your Social Media Persona

Today, brands are taking an active role in shaping their social media presence. Creating Facebook pages and Twitter handles that blend in with conversation on social channels helps brands incorporate themselves into consumers’ daily lives.

Online opinion analysis can help you monitor your presence and direct future advertising and marketing strategies. You can analyze changes in your number of followers over time and engagement, as customers retweet, reply to, or ignore your posts.

Businesses like Crest can track the popularity of their Tweets and how new products may spark engagement or even earn them new followers. Monitoring their successes and failures can inform future social media strategy so that they maximize their social media presence.

Affinities technology is also incorporated into this analysis so that you can see who is actually engaging with your brand on social media. Crest’s Twitter audience appears to be largely women and they can use this information to inform how they interact with their followers. Tweets and advertising can incorporate followers’ interests like fashion and beauty as well as partnerships that may be apparent through customers’ interest in certain television shows or celebrities.

9. Skip the Snapshot – Get the Motion Picture

While a study conducted for your brand may yield interesting insights, these findings are quickly outdated. Social media users are constantly tweeting, posting, and blogging about the experiences they have each and every day. This fast paced world requires equally fast paced analysis that will keep your knowledge of consumer sentiment up-to-date.

With a global company like Crest, your customers are never asleep. Continuous monitoring allows you to keep track of your social media campaign, product launches, and advertising strategies. The complex stories that surround your brand’s image can be monitored, giving you the control and peace of mind to take informed risks and earn significant rewards.

Conducting comprehensive opinion analysis that connects the past, present, and future will allow you to create strategies that incorporate customers’ changing opinions and needs as well as their feelings towards your competitors and the industry at large. Keeping all of these factors in perspective means that your strategy will be on target and adaptable as the market continues to change.


When you dedicate valuable time and financial resources to online opinion monitoring, you have to make sure that you are conducting efficient and effective analysis. Our 9 foundational steps illustrate how and why opinion monitoring is an important component of your business strategy.

Your success begins with access to unlimited and historical data that allows you to study industry and competitor trends over time. You can then maximize your results by using technology that allows you to filter out irrelevant data, use sophisticated language analysis, and develop opinion monitoring. You can also delve into other aspects of the conversation and determine who is talking about your brand, how conversation trends are developing, and what your social media presence looks like.

Each step provides a key piece of information that can improve your advertising and marketing strategy and help you develop a positive and engaged social media presence. In a world increasingly driven by social media and technology, informed brand strategy is increasingly important and it can be the catalyst for your brand’s market success.

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