Modern Marketing Agency

How brands can use social listening to stay dynamic

By Ryan O’Donovan | Senior manager



The Drum Network article

This content is produced by The Drum Network, a paid-for membership club for CEOs and their agencies who want to share their expertise and grow their business.

Find out more

April 14, 2022 | 7 min read

Consumer behaviors are forever changing as they react to new technologies and trends. The global pandemic has accelerated this shift through the rise of new digital communication and commerce channels, expansion of home delivery and a willingness to experiment with applications and technologies. This change is even hitting sectors where typically consumers favored the in-store shopping experience, with an increase of 23% of beauty customers and 29% of fashion now expecting to shop these products online. Ryan O’Donovan, senior manager, Frog Data – with editorial input from consultants Fjoralba Kodrasi and Anand Patel – considers how brands can respond to these changes.

Organizations need to dynamically adapt to these changes, or they will lose out to faster-moving competitors. What can they do to identify such changes and react quickly enough to ensure they stay ahead of the curve?

Frog consider the changing needs of consumers and how marketers can utilise social media to reach them.

Frog considers the changing needs of consumers and how marketers can utilize social media to reach them

Deep consumer insight is fundamental for any organization to understand who their consumers are and their changing needs and preferences, as well as their opinions on wider global events and trends. With these insights, organizations can better differentiate themselves from their competitors, understand their marketplace and target audiences, and better tailor their operations across business domains such as supply chain, R&D, sales and marketing.

The latest marketing news and insights straight to your inbox.

Get the best of The Drum by choosing from a series of great email briefings, whether that’s daily news, weekly recaps or deep dives into media or creativity.

Sign up

What is social listening, and how can it help?

Traditionally, many organizations rely on market research to gain customer insights. But these studies, albeit comprehensive, are typically slow and provide a retrospective view – by which time it may be too late. Bespoke market research also tends to be costly, difficult to scale and based on small panel sizes.

Instead, brands should utilize digital data and online conversations through social listening analytics to gain more immediate insights directly from their consumers. Not only does this approach mean brands gain insights quickly, but they are less biased as they are based on honest consumer comments and robust sample sizes.

Social listening is the art of converting large volumes of online conversations and related digital data into quantifiable insights. By using social listening tools and data science techniques, organizations can analyze this data to understand what consumers are saying about their brands, products and wider market trends. It can help organizations answer questions such as:

  • What attributes do consumers talk about when discussing our products? Are they positive or negative?

  • What topics do consumers mention when posting about our brand? Are they related to our brand messaging or are they new topics?

  • What trends are consumers talking about? Are they short fads or is this a market shift we can get ahead of?

The business value generated from this understanding is monumental; it can help the development of consumer-focused innovations (R&D) and identification of product quality issues (supply chain), and drive tailored, relevant marketing.

One example is how Ben & Jerry’s used social listening to break the myth of when consumers want to eat ice cream. By combining social listening with weather data, they discovered consumers prefer to stay indoors to eat ice cream and binge watch TV. This helped to shift ad spend and marketing plans to not just focus on when it’s sunny.

What data is needed for social listening to be impactful?

An impactful social listening capability starts with gathering the right data at a large enough size to produce reliable insights. However, it is important to understand consumers use different platforms for different conversations. What is posted publicly on Twitter may be different to the discussions on forums such as Reddit.

Additionally, what consumers choose to post online v what they might search for can also differ. A consumer might publicly post how great a gadget is, but behind the scenes use search engines to find out how to use it. It could be that their new product isn’t the most intuitive, so consumers may use different approaches to avoid embarrassment. Knowing the nuances between these different conversational and digital data sources allows organizations to gain a deeper view of all aspects of their consumer offerings.

Such data is created through conversations consumers are having and the thoughts, experiences and content they wish to share. While this is an incredibly wealthy source of insight, organizations need to be considerate of the quirks that come along with it. This includes accounting for spelling mistakes, colloquial terms and different languages, as well as interpreting the intent of emojis. On top of this, certain users or bots may be pushing opinions with notorious intent. These conversations may want to be filtered out of analysis. Being aware of these elements when processing, cleansing and analyzing data is key to creating valuable and game-changing insights.

It’s crucial now more than ever for organizations to be dynamic to keep up to date with market trends and customer demands. Being able to gain understanding from their consumers directly is how brands can stay relevant. Social media allows organizations to have direct relationships with their consumers, and with an effective social listening analytics capability, these conversations can quickly turn into accessible and actionable insights with applications across all aspects of their organizations.

For more information on Capgemini Invent and Frog, visit our site and get in touch.

Modern Marketing Agency

Content by The Drum Network member:

frog is a leading global creative consultancy, part of Capgemini Invent. We challenge the status quo to craft and build transformative human experiences that win hearts and move markets.

Find out more

More from Modern Marketing

View all


Industry insights

View all
Add your own content +