Are businesses aware of the value of big data analytics for social media? A new survey aimed to find out.

The primary goal of the survey, entitled Social Software and Big Data Analytics in Business, was to provide insight into using big data analytics with social software in order to improve business processes. The survey was conducted by Teradata, which offers big data analytics solutions, and social intelligence provider Mzinga, in conjunction with the Center for Complexity in Business (CCB) at the University of Maryland.

Top Metrics

Eighty percent of the survey respondents said that they used social technologies for such business needs as marketing, employee collaboration, customer service and sales. However, nearly half of those using social media said the technologies were not being used to their full potential, and only 12 percent said these technologies help in their day-to-day responsibilities.

Three-quarters reported that they do not measure ROI from their social business use. Of those, 31 percent did not know if their vendor provided analytics that could be used to measure ROI, 14 percent have a vendor that does not provide analytics and 44 percent do not work with a vendor.

If they were to use analytics on the kind of big data that social media can generate, the top metrics that respondents would like analyzed are customer feedback and preferences, ROI, and analysis of user, behavorial and content trends.

Other metrics of interest included conversion attribution, sentiment analysis, topic and event detection, identifying influencers and rising stars, risk analysis and threat awareness, and competitive intelligence.

‘Lack of Consistent Support’

William Rand, assistant professor and CCB director, said in a statement that the survey results “indicate that a wide variety of industries are interested” in the use of analytics for providing insight about social technologies, but he noted the lack of knowledge about implementing analytics and the “lack of consistent support” across platforms.

Thirteen percent of respondents said they expected to be investing this year in these kinds of big data solutions related to social media, while 25 percent said within the next two to five years. Fifty-three percent were not sure, and the rest expected to do so in more than five years or said their vendor already provides sufficient support.

The survey was conducted online in March and April, and received responses from over 500 participants from a variety of industries.