What is social media analytics and why do we need it?

In the age of information explosion, social networking is twisted from the traditional media to the modern social media, followed by an emerging topic——social media analytics.

Fig1. The change of social networking [1]

What is social media analytics?

According [2], normally driven by a specific target, social media analytics is basically informatics tools to extract, analyze and summarize then visualize the information from the collected data of social media. We can summarize the specific steps as follows:

  1. Put up with a problem
  2. Identifying the available data of social media
  3. Data collection: use web crawler or API tools.
  4. Analyze the data: some machine learning algorithms would be implied
  5. Present the results: summarization and visualization.
  6. Draw the conclusion

We can use an example to simply explain this. Someday a video become popular in a sudden——Chinese singer Cai Xukun is playing basketball in a strange way. After being reposted by 10 thousand times, the number of Cai Xukun’s followers is exceeding 20 million on Weibo. And we want to find out if someone is manipulating behind the sudden increment.

Fig.2: An example of specific steps to do social media analytics

Why social media analytics is important?

From business perspective

For companies, sentiment analysis in social media would help them improve their products and adjust marketing strategies. Nowadays, people usually share their product or food experience in Instagram, Openrice or Xiaohongshu, etc. The companies could do sentiment analysis on their posts and see what people think of the products to improve their services or change marketing ways.

Fig.3: Sentiment analysis engagement for a leading food service firm [3]

For customers, we can use social media analytics to detect the potential advertisements. As social media takes over our lives, some commercial advertisements could be hidden under the daily posts of some Internet celebrities. According to [4], there’re 60% of users know new products through Instagram. In Fig.4, up to 5k sponsored posts are sent in an hour on Instagram. To determine the true recommendations, you may need social media analytics.

Fig.4: Sponsored posts on Instagram by time of day [5]

From political perspective

Social media analytics could help to avoid the potential political influence. During the three debates of 2016 U.S. Election, Twitter manipulation could be involved through some highly automated activities. Highly automated accounts generated 4 pro-Trumps tweet to every pro-Clinton tweet in the first debate.[6] Besides, through sentiment analytics, we could predict the election results by gauging people’s opinions on social media and plan for the next step at the first time.

Fig.5: Total hourly Twitter traffic around voting day, 2016 [6]

Thank you for reading this blog, hope it can give you some different insights.


What is social media analytics and why do we need it?”的一个响应

  1. It seems that the development of big data and social media has provided a lot of convenience for us to study user behavior^^

  2. HIHIHI, this is Lumannn!🧐
    Wow, I have to say that your article is the first one to make me feel such rich and complete! From the structure to conten!🤓
    I truly enjoy one of your point——”From political perspective”, I haven’t thought about the role of SMA politically, you’ve given me a whole new perspective! Anything that relates to politics would has a mystery atmosphere, and
    SMA is quite useful for politicians and his/her team. In many cases, the truth behind the raw data can really change the situation. SMA must also play a role in the recent activities in Hong Kong.
    Truly appreciate your seriousness!
    (And can you tell me how to pronounce your English name?HHH, totally a unique name that I never met)😋

    1. First of all, thank you for your compliment! It makes me very happy.
      From my perspective of view, things’ happenings are generally with some political factors. Therefore, when a hotspot event occurs, it will affect social psychology and government behavior more or less. So I wrote this political part.
      I hope people will not simply be fooled by public opinions and this chaotic era. At the same time, staying rational and having your own thoughts about the event are important!
      BTW, my name pronounce [‘silviə]. : D

  3. Wow, your blog’s cover is so cool! And your example about Cai Xukun to illustrate the steps of doing SMA in real world is so unique! Which brings me a total understanding towards social media analytics, and I feel much more familiar with this topic. Next you give two possible reasons, business value and political influence to prove the importance or effects of doing SMA. Also with great structure and detailed charts. Hope to see your next sharing post~

    1. The cover of your blog is also cool!
      To be honest, I was hesitant about the choosing of example, because this event must be known to everyone, regardless of its gender, interests, age and so on. In the end, Cai Xukun was chosen because of his large amount of topics and the obvious contradiction between ordinary people and his fans. Glad the content in my blog gives you a new understanding of SMA. Thanks~

  4. wow!
    You really explained SMA in detail with examples and used many references to prove your idea!
    From your blog I can understand the importance of SMA from two perspectives.
    #It a comprehensive and useful blog!#

  5. Your post is interesting, especially the example of CXK, it gives me a directly understand of how social media analytics is completed and the flow chart you put in your post is so detailed!
    I really like the part you explain the importance of social media analytics. It not only states the necessity of SMA but also give some scenarios SMA is required, as well as method of SMA(sentiment analysis).
    In a word, your blog are logical and easy to understand, hope to see your update.

    1. Thank you for reading my blog carefully!
      When I write this blog, I think that some scenarios and methods can help readers better understand what I want to express, and I’m glad that you think so. I’m happy about my elaboration did not make you bored. I hope to have the opportunity to discuss with you more about SMA.

  6. Your blog is so clear and you got all terminologies well explained. The structure of this blog is well designed, thus I could establish an entire structure of these definitions. BTW, I really like your example of Mr. Cai and with this example, I understood the steps of social media analytics better in practical scenerio.

    1. So happy that my example has received so much praise! It seems that Mr. Cai is really an interesting and popular person! I hope my logical and interesting description will help you

  7. Not only the expressive mode but also the substantial content makes your blog stand out!
    Your description of the workflow of SMA is extremely interesting, just because you explain the workflow by exploiting the example of a specific star (a funny man). The purposes and functionalities of SMA are illustrated from two perspectives, and are also argued with particular examples, which can lead to more considerations. To sum, I get great inspirations about the ways of expression, and also the choice of arguments from your blog. Well done!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for your compliment on my blog. I want to arouse everyone’s interest through interesting things, and resonate through arguments. I ’m honored to have inspired you.

  8. I love the last part of your blog, especially the part to illustrate the significance of social media analytics on politics. This point of view is not likely to be thought of for most of us. Could you tell me how you got this perspective? Thanks!
    Your layout is wonderful. The comic on the top and the charts are really attractive. Also, your references are very clear, which is really helpful when we do researches.

    1. I have to say that your aesthetic is great! Of course, I think that the main influence of social media is public opinion. When public opinion is driven, not only politics will be affected by public opinion, but it will also be affected morally. I think we can have a chance to talk about these in detail.

  9. Your example on Cai Xunkun does really impressed me! Instead of giving out many concepts, you let me totally understand the workflow of SMA in just one simple example. And your ‘what and why’ structure is quite easy to read and learn. Honestly, it’s the best article I’ve read now!

    1. I am very happy that the examples! I hope that through this interesting and logical expression, it will be suitable for all kinds of people to understand my ideas and SMA. Thank you for your compliment to my blog!

  10. Your blog content is really detailed, containing the definition of social media analytics and the specific steps of analysis process. Besides, you give examples from different perspectives to show the application scenarios and effects of social media analytics, which helps me to improve the understanding of it. Each figure also gives a visual representation of the contents. The article is great!


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