Remember Doug, the dog from the movie “Up?” The one who (like most dogs) has his attention pulled mid-thought by a passing squirrel? (You can check him out or refresh your memory here.) The human version of the joke claims that “Shiny!” things compel us away from more important pursuits.

Sounds a lot like social media, doesn’t it?

That’s not to say there isn’t useful information available on social media – there certainly is – but amidst the memes and clickbait and spam, it can be hard to keep your eyes on the prize. Even for brands possessing the resources to sift through the noise for insights that matter, many of them still aren’t digging deeply enough, or focusing on the right data.

And when it comes to images on social media we still have a lot to learn. Though our new firehose partnership with Tumblr will afford us the opportunity to do that, what we know about images right now is that images themselves don’t immediately equal value – at least from an analytics standpoint.

Because compelling as images and videos are, you may not have a good way to analyze them. What matters most, as far as social data is concerned, is the text associated with the images, and the emotions they inspire social users to share.

They love me, they love me not

Most brands (and their analytics platforms) don’t think to account for consumer emotions on social media – but WE know that without understanding Net Sentiment (and the intensity behind it) there’s no context to the posts being analyzed.

Without processing language in an advanced, HUMAN way, you don’t know if someone really “loves” your brand, or is using the word sarcastically to say they actually hate it. Think about the likes and mentions listed on your latest report – do you know for a fact they are all pure, no sarcasm involved? It’s a sobering thought – the idea that they may not count the way you assume they do, isn’t it?

Understanding sentiment and the way it correlates to KPIs is already important, but will be increasingly so as the Internet of Things evolves. Which bits of data will be most valuable, and which bits can be ignored? Answering that question may not be as black and white as it seems. But one thing brands can all agree on – no one wants to be wasting their time tracking metrics that are meaningless.

The right (social) stuff

The only way to create a competitive advantage is to have access to the right information at the right time (and then act on it). The right information must include what (and how much) consumers FEEL about your brand, and the right time is always right now when it comes to making decisions about your brand on social media.

And that’s something we can help with as well. Because we know that time is a precious commodity in the C-suite, we offer visual dashboards that allow top decision-makers to SEE social data in real-time, which is a huge advantage – because we process information more quickly in image form than when reading text [SOURCE: Show Me! What Brain Research Says About Visuals in PowerPoint; open in another window].

No more waiting on reports to tell you what happened days, weeks, or months ago, or trying to figure out which metrics carry the highest value. The right information is processed in real-time and conveyed in quickly digestible visual format, allowing the boardroom to act when it matters most – i.e, NOW.

Goodbye, shiny squirrels. Hello, social dominance.

How are you using imagery when it comes to social media analytics today? What metrics would you find useful if they were made available?

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