You know all those posts and conversations you have on Facebook and other social sites? Combined with the social interactions of zillions of other users, they contain the gold in a new gold rush, where analytics and business intelligence (BI) software can mine them for rich nuggets of insight into how you think, act and buy. Now, BI and analytics provider Information Builders has launched its new gold sifter, called WebFOCUS Social Media Analytics.  

The new offering analyzes social media interactions for useful information that can be employed for sales and marketing, product quality and other consumer-facing issues. Information Builders said that its platform, unlike its competitors’, links to structured or unstructured sales, marketing and other enterprise data sources, including enterprise resource planning and customer relationship management resources.

Self-Service Portal

Gerald Cohen, president and CEO of Information Builders, said in a statement that, because of social media, customers now have “an unprecedented voice and power over brand perception.” He added that his company’s Social Media Analytics can provide insight into what people are saying online and can integrate “this information with other enterprise data and systems.”

The new analytics package is designed to tap into customer sentiment as it relates to the brand, the company and sales, as well as provide historical trend reporting and time-dependent analysis. The information can be used to gauge how well customers reacted to previous product launches or marketing campaigns, as evidenced by social media.

A customizable, self-service BI portal is used to manage the information, offering sentiment analysis and trend analysis across channels, geographies, customers and other categories. Spikes in negative or positive sentiment on competitor channels can be used to determine their impact on competitor sales, word frequencies and visual depictions can indicate the most popular topics. The data can be used to determine which products can sell best in which locations, and why.

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Building on Sentiment Analysis

Users can also build their own interactive dashboards or charts to show relationships. Information Builders gave an example use case of a retail manager analyzing the chatter, if any, about a negative customer experience at another store. With that information in hand, the company said, the manager would be better prepared to answer the most frequently asked questions.

Information Builders new product, which builds on sentiment analysis capabilities the company added to its enterprise search platform in April of last year, is the latest in the current wave of social media integration into existing analytical systems. Most recently, big data vendors are regularly adding such capabilities, and a key question is whether the next wave will begin to show more differentiation between the offerings.