Analytics Solutions 101: Beware Black Box Methodologies That Can’t Be Verified by Users – Part 2

Kimberly Surico |
 12/05/18 |
3 min read

Ignorance may be bliss in certain areas of life, but when it comes to your social analytics the cliché doesn’t apply. Here’s why you should steer clear of mysterious analytics solutions you can’t verify.


With competition fiercer than ever, can you afford to take any service provider’s promises on faith? Sure, their “patented technology” may sound appealing, but if you can’t understand how they’re arriving at their results, or reproduce their efforts on your own, how can you trust they’re accurate?

You can’t. This is just one reason many of our customers switch to NetBase from our competitors.

For example, our next generation artificial intelligence is transparent, so our users know they can trust the results they get. Some of our competitors can’t say the same. Instead they use auto-generated themes – meaning you can’t customize your search or verify the data you receive. And you’re supposed to act on these insights? That’s a dangerous risk to for any brand to take. 

113 Industries CEO Razi Imam extolling the virtues of AI-assisted social analytics at NetBase LIVE


The ability to act in real-time is everything in a world where consumer feedback is immediate and constant. Whatever actions you take must be well-informed and swift – or you risk losing your share of the market. And the whole point of using social data to back your decisions is to minimize risk not widen that circle of uncertainty!

That means your data has to be as reliably accurate as possible. Otherwise you may waste valuable resources chasing the wrong audience, on the wrong channels, with the wrong messaging, and so on. It’s just a big pile of wrong that no brand wants any part of. Meanwhile, the competition has the opportunity to get all those things right and leave you in the dust – or even worse, give the impression you’re disinterested or out of touch with your hyper aware online audience.

Accuracy is table-stakes. It’s everything. And your customers aren’t the only ones who matter.

That’s why brands like GoDaddy, Visa, and Chili’s use NetBase social analytics to inform brand strategy. They know they’ll get it right on the first try – and if sentiment or trends change along the way, they can make adjustments in motion without skipping a beat . . . or a brand mention.


Your brand’s individuality is what helps you stand out in a crowded category fighting for a shared audience. If your social listening tools stop at predefined topics, where does that leave a brand that doesn’t fit that mold?

Taco Bell successfully pushing the boundaries of fashion

This is why you must be able to see, understand, and refine the process behind your social analytics tools. Only then can you uncover the insights that matter to you – not your category in general. You can’t do that if you don’t know how the tools work to begin with.

If your tools are so complicated you need a representative to help you, you lose the flexibility of real-time analysis – which could cost you. Any delays on your part leave room for competitors to get a foothold. That’s not okay.

Not to mention, your data must be accessible to all departments, and a mixed level of personnel – not just data analysts and marketers. All aspects of brand operations rely on social insights to power their decision-making. If it’s all a big mystery, you’re limiting the use cases for your data – which diminishes its value.

An agency like Moxie couldn’t assess the social landscape and churn out record-breaking content in a matter of hours if they had to seek a higher authority to explain what they were seeing. And Chick-fil-A couldn’t afford to work with them if that were the case either.


There’s a reason brands have data analysts on staff – and it’s because complicated data sets need to be accurately analyzed to keep brand initiatives on track. But complicated isn’t a trade-off for transparency – as any good analyst will tell you.

Social analytics tools have evolved so all members of your brand’s operations team can use them, but accessibility has nothing to do with quality. If “simpler” also means “mysterious,” you’ve gained nothing.

So be sure you understand how the data is calculated as you consider choosing or upgrading your social analytics tools. Every decision you make depends on it.

Want to see how our social analytics tools work? Reach out and we’ll show you!


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