Social analytics are rubbish – discuss


To date, the strongest driver for social analytics investment has been to engage in rear-guard fire fights when bad karma about a brand gets propagated through social networks.

A whole industry of dashboards, social metrics and stat analytics has sprung up to service this need. Indeed, an interesting new form of Social-CRM is beginning to emerge.

That’s fine so far as it goes, but there’s a general suspicion it severely underestimates the full contribution that social listening data could, and should, make to business success.

We often hear marketing, research and communication professionals dismiss the producers and users of these tools as mere “number-wangers”.

This indicates that Social Listening, and the social analytics industry that promotes it, is getting something badly wrong. There are lots of viewpoints on this issue, but here’s ours.

People who use buzz monitoring systems continue to stare at reams of natural language messages and text, shovelled faithfully onto their PC screens by social analytics platforms, and still wonder, “what does it all mean, what are the narrative around my brand?”

We’re not saying the social analytics emperor is wearing no clothes, but it feels darn close sometimes. The intuition, the overriding faith, expressed by most social analysts I speak to is that something useful must be buried away under all that text data. But no one is really feeling the love yet.

People want ‘insights’, preferably ‘actionable’ insights if they can get them. So, what does that mean?

To find out more about Colourtext, you can download our presentation “Introduction to Colourtext” here.

If you would like to get in touch with Colourtext please email


1 Comment

  1. Sam Wass

    Really interesting post. An observation from me having recently set up a new (small) brand, is that social analytics will always play second fiddle to other analytics, until they are monetised.

    Web analytics are seen as almost web DNA and essential nowadays, mainly because big search engines have convinced site managers that they’re essential statistics. I’m not saying they’re not useful, but from a product perspective, web analytics are an after sales (added value) service from the search engines to keep us using, and needing the product.

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