What is Digital Intelligence and How is it Used?

Markets are in a constant state of flux, and our online world ensures that brands must stay on their toes to keep up with shifting market conditions. It’s not enough to put out a great product, and hope everybody loves it. A competitor that has done their digital intelligence homework can easily outmaneuver you and gobble up share of voice – even with an inferior product.

Therefore, brands need to sharpen their digital intelligence, and they use every bit of data available to them to remain competitive in today’s fast-paced business climate. Here, we’ll explore digital intelligence in more detail, with a focus on:

  • What digital intelligence is
  • How digital intelligence is used
  • Digital intelligence in the real world

Insightful Agencies: How Conversational Data Can Transform Today’s Digital Agency - Read NowRobust digital intelligence can inform almost any aspect of your business. In this article, we’ll talk about those use cases and then narrow down into a consumer-facing marketing angle. As such, here are a few statistics we uncovered which digital intelligence can help solve.

  • Only 61% of marketers feel their strategies are effective, and 58% find audience targeting a challenge.
  • Using digital intelligence to understand your target audience is critical. For instance, Millennials are the most diverse generational group in US history, with 44% being racial or ethnic minorities.
  • 80% of consumers feel that the customer experiences a brand provides are equally as important as the products it produces and the services it renders.

The race is on for meaningful digital intelligence, so let’s jump in and talk about what it is and what brands commonly use it for.

What is Digital Intelligence?

Digital intelligence is the umbrella term for collecting and analyzing diverse digital datasets for various use cases. It combines consumer, competitive, and market intelligence in addition to internal digital data such as chat logs or customer service call transcripts.

Data literacy is the name of the game with digital intelligence. And the goal is to form a holistic 360-degree viewpoint of where your brand sits in relation to consumers, competitors, and the market as a whole.

Your brand’s digital intelligence is contingent on the variety of data you use to answer specific questions, as well as the quality of your social listening and digital media analytics tools. There are so many data sets you can use to inform your market strategy, such as social media listening, news and blogs, forums, customer and employee reviews, patent data, merger and acquisition data, etc. All of these are publicly available for brands to use.

And more and more brands are reaching for analytics tools that allow them to upload their own data sets for analysis to complement and expand their digital resources. With digital intelligence, the more data you have access to, the better.

Brands use their digital intelligence to find how their customers perceive them and where they need to perform better. Or they may use journals and patent data to inform their research and development team with the latest research and innovations in their industry. Every brand has questions regarding areas where they’d like to perform better. Today, digital intelligence provides brands with information they can act on and achieve success – and they use it across a variety of use cases such as the ones below.


Your digital intelligence also depends on your speed to actionable insight since many brands are flexing their data analytics chops as part of their digital transformation. This is especially the case when using your digital intelligence to track threats or a crisis, monitor influencer activity, or maintain relevant and impactful messaging in your marketing efforts.

While digital intelligence can be used to inform every aspect of your business, let’s take a look at using it in a marketing context.

How is Digital Intelligence Used?

There is no substitute for digital intelligence in building impactful campaigns and messaging. And that’s because your information is rooted in real-world data that tells you the who, what, when, where, why, and how that surrounds your subject matter. In other words, it lets you know what’s trending so you can supplement the conversation and drive your narrative towards an engaged audience.

So, whether you’re an agency, marketing, or PR professional, then you know the importance of driving engagement. Using digital intelligence to identify emerging trends allows you to formulate messaging that resonates. That’s because you know without a shadow of a doubt what people are already talking about.

And there are five critical steps you can use your digital intelligence to uncover and heighten the success of your next campaign.

  1. Determine who is driving the conversation
  2. Identify sub-topics that are currently trending
  3. Find where your audience is consuming and reacting to content
  4. Understand why specific topics are driving sentiment
  5. Prioritize the insights from your market research

Insightful Agencies: How Conversational Data Can Transform Today’s Digital Agency - Read NowKnowing who is driving engagement around your topic identifies the authors, influencers, and key opinion leaders already active in the space. That way, you can build your campaign to align with key opinion leader discussions that your audience already trusts. Additionally, it provides opportunities to engage with influencers that work with your target audience.

Identifying emerging trends within your subject matter allows you to capitalize on the positives, offer solutions for consumer pain points, and sidestep negative or touchy subjects within the global discussion.

Knowing where your audience is congregating and engaging with content is critical, so your marketing efforts are focused in the right place. Digital intelligence uncovers the social networks, blogs, forums, and news outlets where your audience consumes content. You already know what they’re engaging with, and now you know where they are. Building your campaign to face these channels will maximize your engagement – and your ROI.

We’ve already covered finding the trending topics your audience is connecting with, but now you need to know precisely why specific topics are driving sentiment. Using your social listening and digital media analytics tools will help you here by uncovering the sentiment drivers, or the attributes, emotions, behaviors, and things that consumers express towards your topic – and whether that sentiment is positive or negative.

So, if you’re a CPG brand exploring messaging around a new healthy food product you intend to launch, you need to understand what customers say they recommend, consume, try, and buy.

Additionally, digital intelligence provides you the same answers with what they want to avoid, don’t tolerate, can’t afford, and what they won’t eat. It’s all there in the sentiment drivers, as you can see below.


Sentiment drivers for CPG healthy food conversation. 10/11/19 – 10/11/2021

And finally, when you’re done compiling your digital intelligence, you’ll want to prioritize the insights from your research. You’ve likely uncovered a wealth of interesting data points in the process, but with your marketing messaging, it’s important to whittle down the areas you want to focus on in your campaign. That way, your campaign is laser-focused on an engaged audience on specific platforms, using influencers your audience trusts while speaking directly to the sentiment drivers that consumers already relate to.

Digital intelligence is all about scouting the digital landscape for clues and insights to build better strategies. But enough about theory, let’s look at digital intelligence at work in the real world.

Digital Intelligence in the Real World 

We sat down with New Media Academy’s Director of Content Strategy, Khaled Akbik, who shared how he uses digital intelligence to drive content strategy for various marketing campaigns, including tourism campaigns in the United Arab Emirates.

Speaking on the tourism campaign, Akbik shared how other entities were also creating content for the campaign. Still, social listening allowed him to measure the impacts of all the combined efforts to see how his content strategy stacked up against the others. What he was looking for were the efforts generating the most impact. But his digital intelligence efforts yielded more than that.

It allowed him to uncover the sensitive content surrounding religious and political themes that they wanted to steer clear of in their content. And their social listening tools alerted them to issues that would have gone unnoticed without digital intelligence.

For instance, while working with another brand’s content strategy, they found that 95% of its online conversations originated from the brand itself. In other words, virtually nobody outside of the brand was talking about them online. With this intel in hand, they could use their digital intelligence to rework the brand’s content to maximize shareability and generate earned media. This demonstrates the effectiveness of the digital intelligence strategy we outlined in the previous section.

Speaking of reworking their client’s earned media strategy, Akbik says that without digital intelligence, they wouldn’t have been able to pick up on the disparity between their earned, partnered, and owned media – and you can’t fix what you can’t see.

Check out the video for yourself below, as Akbik shares how digital intelligence helps his consultancy redirect his client’s marketing messaging based on actionable market research.

These days we are virtually swimming in data that could potentially illuminate our decision-making. However, much of it is disparate and unstructured. That’s why it’s essential to choose your social listening and data analytics tools carefully so you can maximize your digital intelligence. Reach out for a demo, and we’ll put world-class data analytics at your fingertips, so you never miss a thing!

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