Social Insight

Social Mapping – streetwise research

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Concert crowd

Social Mapping is a new and exciting field of media research and market intelligence.  It builds upon traditional research techniques by mining unique insights from the social web that can be continuously tracked and updated.

Social Mapping has many applications, but one key area where it’s making an impact is in the field of Custom Content creation.

Custom Content plays an important role in the marketing mix for a growing number of brands and organisations.  It’s objective is to help companies engage more deeply with their customers and convert positive content experiences into new sales.

The natural providers of Custom Content are established media owners, who traditionally have the creative and editorial skills to produce compelling material.  But what media owners often lack is the deep and specialised domain knowledge of the clients who need their Custom Content services.

Without a sufficiently high level of knowledge about a client’s market, media owners are less able to produce content that will impress an informed or savvy target audience. This is a handicap that can sink new relationships.

The answer to this problem is Social Mapping.

Social Mapping delivers a fast and immersive deep-dive into the latest trends shaping a target field of interest.  It’s role is to bring media research, content teams and client account managers quickly up to speed on key trends shaping a client’s market.

Social Mapping is a fusion of classic media research techniques and advanced social data analytics.  It rests upon massive ‘Big-Data’ audits of web articles, news items and message posts that reflect a target research theme.

The process identifies global, regional or local communities of interest engaged with a topic.  It pin-points influential groups or individuals leading trends and opinion within a community and the key topics of interest or debate currently at play.  It equips research editorial and CRM teams with the contact details they need to monitor or reach out to Influencers in the market.

Social Mapping gives media owners, agencies and brand advertisers ‘live’ access to key developments within a community of interest as they happen.  But crucially it also provides a rigorous, high level framework for understanding fast-moving market trends.

Social Mapping delivers a state-of-the-art knowledge base for any consumer market sector or professional specialisation.  It reveals deeply practical, even street-wise, market insights about relationships of influence, vested interests and the evolution of trends that are largely opaque to traditional research methods.

We’d like to begin a conversation about how your company can benefit from the actionable market insights that Social Mapping can deliver.  You can reach us today by email to discuss recent case studies – we respond directly to every message we receive.

How to get to the top of the #MRX Influencer ranking

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#MRX Influence network image2

Colourtext was asked by Ray Poynter of Vision Critical (@raypoynter) if we could re-run the popular #MRX Influencer ranking we produced for Research Live (@researchlive) back in 2012.

The objective was to find the most influential members of today’s #MRX market research community on Twitter. We also hoped to discover new insights on how Social Influence can be won in any specific market vertical or community of interest.

We dusted off our original ‘market research’ keyword and key phrase list, which included the #mrx hashtag. Data came from Twitter’s public API and the collection period ran from 11th – 28th July 2014 inclusive.

Data cleaning for this re-run was pretty simple – Ray just wanted to focus on Twitter messages that contained the #MRX hashtag. Two small, but interesting, gremlins that came to light were a growing association of #mrx with mountain biking and Bollywood movies (#MrX – i.e. Mr X).

Twitter reflects a dynamic and fast-moving MR industry and Colourtext’s #MRX analysis reveals a new Influence ranking for the MR community. Several of the top Influencers from 2012 remain close to the top of the table but have been joined by a lot of new faces.


#MRX Influencer Top 20 2014

(data source: Colourtext, Twitter Public API) 

Previous #MRX Influencers that remain in the Top 20 include @raypoynter, @researchlive, @jhenning & @lennyism.

Key Influencers from 2012 that have been pushed out of the new Top 20 include @tomhcanderson, @lovestats, @oleandresen

However, it’s important to add the following caveat: the #MRX ranking for 2012 was based upon 12 months of data and a wider keyword list, whereas the latest ranking is based on just 18 days in July and focuses purely on the use of #MRX. It’s possible some of our previous Twitter champs don’t use #MRX that often or were taking a well earned vacation during the latest data collection period!

Nevertheless, the new data provides fascinating insights on what it takes to accrue Influence within a social media context.

Each of the top #MRX Influencers have earned their position because they are good at getting other members of the #MRX user base to engage with their tweets and / or share their content. In this sense it doesn’t always count if you have the biggest number of followers, but we do find that Twitter users generating the greatest number of relevant and on-topic tweets tend to be higher up the table.

For instance, @euromonitor (ranked #1 in July 2014) issued a daily average of 7.8 #MRX tweets, including weekends. Over the course of one particular week they issued 61 tweets containing 25 individual messages, some of which were repeated once a day at different times on up to 5 separate occasions.

However, this doesn’t mean @euromonitor is ‘spamming’ the #MRX network. Because their tweets often contain links to interesting and high-relevance reports they generate a lot of RTs, which contributes significantly to their network Influence. Tweets about the following topics generated the most RTs for @euromonitor:


#MRX Euromonitor Tweet Topics

(data source: Colourtext, Twitter Public API) 

Second position in the 2014 #MRX Influence ranking is occupied by @raypoynter. By using a personal (rather than a corporate) Twitter account Ray takes a different approach to building influence, and it clearly works. Ray authored 106 tweets containing #MRX during the collection period (the second highest overall) covering a wide diversity of message themes.

Interestingly, 46 of Ray’s tweets (43%) were RTs (i.e. re-tweeting other people’s messages) and a further 28 (26%) were replies to other Twitter users. This demonstrates that in contrast to @euromonitor, Ray’s influence rests to a large degree on frequent direct interactions with other members of the #MRX community.

Both of the approaches adopted by @euromonitor and @raypoynter have yielded winning Influencer scores, but how much more effective is one strategy versus the other? The following chart plots the relative degree of Influence acruing to @euromonitor compared to the next 29 #MRX Influencers.


#MRX relative social influence2


It shows that @euromonitor’s Influence score is twice the magnitude of @raypoynter in 2nd position. This suggests @euromonitor’s disciplined approach to selecting message topics, embedding links to reports, re-issuing tweets over multiple days and varying the timing of repeat tweets (perhaps to reflect different time zone needs) can increase Twitter network reach, boost brand awareness and increase perceived credibility within a target community.

For more details on the full #MRX Influencer Analysis please email us and we’ll respond asap.


Colourtext creates biggest ever TV + Twitter study of its kind

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In April 2014 Colourtext collected and analysed every tweet that could be positively identified as coming out of the Republic of Ireland on behalf of TAM Ireland, the country’s official TV ratings agency.  The objective was to better understand the strong connection between social media and TV.

A total of 15,600,000 messages were found to be generated by 170,000 Irish Twitter users. To our knowledge this Twitter study is the biggest and most comprehensive independent study of social media use in a single national market.  It’s findings are important for other advanced markets and media cultures like the US and UK.

The Sunday Times in Ireland has written an article about the study (with colour images), the text of which is copied  below.  You can read an Executive Summary of the TAM Ireland report here.

The television has been revolutionised

What’s on the box is one of the biggest preoccupations of Ireland’s Twitter users, reveals first study

Siobhán Maguire Published: 13 July 2014

IRISH Twitter users are telly addicts, 43% of them tweet at least once each month about TV shows they are watching [this first line has been corrected to address an editorial inaccuracy in the original article]

Findings from a study, the first of its kind, to monitor how people in Ireland use Twitter, also highlight an obsession with sports, our bodies, food and music.

TAM Ireland, the country’s television audience measuring service, commissioned the research, which studied 15.6m tweets by 170,000 users during April.

Jason Brownlee, the chief executive officer of Colourtext, a British data firm that conducted the study, said: “The results show us that patterns of peak viewing and the times when we use social media frequently overlap. It’s therefore not surprising that viewing and social media use often go hand in hand with each other.

“Viewers use social media to read other people’s live comments about a show and sometimes contribute a comment of their own. This adds to the fun and sense of engagement an audience feels with a programme. We expect this ‘second screen’ dynamic to play a bigger role in television formats in the future.”

The programme most tweeted about was the fourth series of Game of Thrones, which premiered in Ireland on Sky Atlantic on April 7. The second most tweeted about show was WWE WrestleMania, a pay-per-view event watched online. Tonight with Vincent Browne, TV3’s current affairs show, which is on each week from Monday to Thursday was the third most popular forum.

“The most highly tweeted shows are relatively niche ‘passion’ franchises such as Game of Thrones and WWE WrestleMania,” said Brownlee. “A vibrant social media fan culture has grown up around these shows, reflecting deep passion and commitment.

“In previous studies, we have suggested such shows can be poor ratings performers but their long-term content franchise value can be massive and often lies beyond the scope of conventional advertising revenue streams. This study backs up those findings.

“For instance, Star Trek’s early ratings in the 1960s were so poor that CBS threatened to pull the show after the first series. However, an unprecedented letter-writing campaign by fans of the show stayed its execution.”

Jill McGrath, TAM Ireland’s chief executive, said: “The findings tell us that 43% of all contributors tweeted about television during April. This 43% are among the heaviest tweeters and are the chattering classes of the 21st century.

“TV content has a powerful influence over the content of other media. It is the medium around which all others revolve. We wanted to understand that conversation a little better, which is why we commissioned the study.”

McGrath said the findings about our TV/tweeting habits show that users are most active at 10pm during the week. At weekends, tweeting about telly peaks at around 8pm when programmes such as The Voice of Ireland and Britain’s Got Talent are being aired.

“The two shows that generated the highest number of tweets in a five-minute period were WWE WrestleMania and EastEnders around the death of Lucy Beale [one of the show’s characters],” said McGrath.

The most popular sports tweets related to Manchester United being beaten by Bayern Munich in the Champions League; the future of its then manager, David Moyes; closely followed by speculation that Liverpool had a chance of winning the Premier League title.

People also felt compelled to share what they were eating as they were tweeting, or what they planned to eat later. There was a lot of moaning about diets and sharing of guilt over indulging in treats or sugary snacks. Commentary on personal appearance or how another person looked was another popular topic.

“Tweets are often written when someone is alone, which can make it feel like an intimate kind of communication, even though you’re wide-casting it to a large group of friends and followers,” said Brownlee.

Eugenia Siapera, chair of social media studies MA at Dublin City University, said determining a strong link between a social media outlet such as Twitter and television made sense.

“What is being tweeted is what we deal with and talk about in our everyday lives and to expect Twitter to be any different is counter-intuitive,” she said.

Siapera said that while politics and social issues are also important they are overshadowed in social media by lighter, less serious matters.

If you’d like to learn more about the methodology or data from this study please get in touch – we’d be happy to answer your questions.

Social mapping for Enterprise IT

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Social Mapping can be defined as using social data analysis techniques to identify and study select groups of individuals, typically people with significant influence over your customers’ brand perceptions and purchase decisions.

Social mapping can help to drive Influencer Marketing strategies designed to extend the viral reach of a brand campaign but also boosts the perceived credibility of a brand’s message.

Moreover, studying Influencers can give any company the edge in understanding, and responding to, new market trends and developments.

On a recent project with Samsung and Bloomberg Media, Colourtext deployed its Social Mapping technology to identify and map a global community engaged with the topic of “Enterprise Mobility”.

Our objectives were to reveal the hot topics of debate within the field of “Enterprise Mobility” and pin-point key Influencers shaping debate within the community.

The study drilled into the topic of Enterprise Mobility by analysing 30,000 blog posts and news articles, plus a further 268,000 Twitter messages. This material was authored globally in English over a 6 month period, ending April 2014.

The analysis identified and profiled 100 top Influencers in the Enterprise Mobility space, understanding their key interests or motivations and providing appropriate details for contacting each individual.

At the core of the Enterprise Mobility debate we found the concept of BYOD (meaning “Bring Your Own Device” to work). BYOD neatly summarises the dilemma of corporate I.T. departments struggling to please employees who want a more consumerist and mobile-friendly IT experience at work, whilst maintaing a traditional “command & control” approach to corporate IT security.

The main fear is that a leakage of personal content or corporate information from one one side of the line to the other becomes more likely when personal devices are used at work.

A good example is the recent discovery of the “Heartbleed” virus. It targets social networks to exploit personal smartphone use as a means to siphon off confidential data from corporate networks. That’s bad news for any company.

The BYOD trend could further erode the line between personal and professional spaces in other ways.  The potential risks stretch from the merely embarrassing (did you really mean to Snapchat your boss on Saturday night?) to the seriously career limiting (the non-aproved game app you installed on your phone fraped your company’s entire client contact list).

We’re guessing that currently obscure Enterprise Mobility trends like BYOD will have a palpable effect on everybody’s professional life sooner rather than later.

If you’d like to learn more about Colourtext’s Social Mapping and Influencer Ranking technologies please get in touch – we’d be happy to answer your questions.

The new Sherlock and social media fan culture

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We recently posted a blog article that reported on a study by Nielsen in the US. It found a weak relationship between the size of a TV show’s official audience ratings and the number of Twitter messages it stimulated.

We thought this was a great example of the disjoint between traditional media research and the new field of social data analytics.

Our post reflected on the contrast between poor early audience ratings for Star Trek in the 60s, and its future billion dollar value as a content franchise.

We are finding that the concept of ‘Future Content Franchise Value’ can help us see what social media data is telling us about evolving audience relationships with TV, radio, music and film.

We also think that ‘second screen’ activity is changing how audiences relate to linear TV content.  Each of these points seem to be connected with the phenomenon of social media fan culture.

To explore this idea further we analysed 120,000 Twitter messages generated by the first episode of the new Sherlock series, aired on 1st January 2014.

We used our latest semantic analysis techniques to identify key patterns of attitude and behaviour before, during and after the show. Our main findings are:

1. Emotional responses to Sherlock were complex, layered, often contradictory and constantly changing in response to on-screen characters, narratives and action

2. Binary emotional or evaluative metrics such as generalised ‘positive’ and ‘negative’ sentiments can give a misleading picture of viewer experiences

3. Social media fan culture related to a TV show is indicative of longterm content franchise value

You can download an teaser version of our Sherlock report here in Powerpoint format. If you think it’s interesting and would like to see more of the report we’d be delighted to hear from you.

You can reach Colourtext directly by emailing