Why Social Listening Falls Short and How to Fix It?

Why Social Listening Falls Short and How to Fix It

Social Listening has become a staple in understanding brand health and consumer sentiment. Yet, from a research and insight perspective, it falls short of being truly insightful. This limitation arises not from the data itself, but from how it is utilized.

Social Listening’s focus on quantifiable metrics (likes, shares, and trending topics) often misses the deeper conversation, context, and meaning behind these interactions. This superficial approach has pigeonholed it as a tool for brand monitoring and reputational risk assessment, limiting its broader potential.

Is there a lesson to learn from traditional research?

Traditional methods of understanding consumers, culture, and markets often favour quant research for its neat, easily analysed data. However, qual research endures because it delves into the ‘why’ behind the numbers.

Similarly, Social Listening needs to evolve its qualitative capabilities. Without this, it’s like hitting the gym but skipping leg day – an incomplete approach that misses crucial insights.

Should we expect more from social data?

Absolutely! Traditional research methods have inherent limitations that social data can overcome. Three unique qualities of social data set it apart:

  • Hidden lives: People don’t talk to researchers the way they talk to each other, but they do on social. These more natural conversations reveal new truths about people’s lives and what makes them tick.
  • Hidden moments: On social media, people express themselves in the moment, offering insights into actions and emotions that surveys and focus groups miss. Social data reveals these spontaneous experiences, helping you capture the moments that matter.
  • Hidden influence: What people see on social media shapes their choices, opinions and behaviours. Understanding these influences makes it clear how you can become part of their decision-making journey.

Where are the gains?

The promise and potential of social data lie in harnessing these unique qualities. In a social-first world, our research strategies must evolve to reflect this reality.

Free from the biases of traditional research methods, social data serves as a powerful exploratory tool. It allows us to build a rich, foundational understanding of consumers, culture, and markets.

Think of social data as a puzzle, where every comment is a piece with its own story to tell. Our task is to assemble these pieces to reveal the bigger picture. By analysing thousands of posts, we can explore and comprehend the vast range of human emotions and experiences.

Moving beyond Listening

How can we move beyond just listening?

Social data’s true potential is realized when we combine the quantitative metrics of Social Listening with the qualitative expertise from Market Research, enhanced by the latest AI technologies.

This seamless integration of qualitative insights and quantitative data enables us to unlock the full potential of social listening, providing a rich, detailed understanding of consumer behaviours and motivations.

We call this Enhanced Social Listening. To learn more, you can explore our guide, ‘Getting Started with Social Data,’ available here.

About Listen + Learn Research

We transform social data into insight that drives brand growth, customer acquisition and market innovation.

To find our more, get in touch with Jeremy


Share on LinkedIn :
Subscribe to updates:

Please select all the ways you would like to hear from Listen + Learn Research: