How Does AI Affect Social Analytics?

Kimberly Surico |
 12/14/18 |
3 min read

As we discussed in our 2019 predictions post, we know that Artificial Intelligence (AI) is going to play a bigger role in social analytics moving forward. But what exactly is AI, and how does it work within that context? Here’s the low-down.

Of course, we’ve already incorporated AI into the technology that enables our social analytics solutions. We have a commitment to our clients when it comes to keeping them on the cutting edge in every way possible.

A Quick Definition of AI

Despite what books and movies might lead you to believe, use of AI technology doesn’t mean the robot uprising is nigh.

A simple Google search will tell you AI is “a branch of computer science dealing with the simulation of intelligent behavior in computers” or “the capability of a machine to imitate intelligent human behavior.”

Letting Alexa or Siri perform a search and deliver results is a demonstration of AI at work, but a pretty simplistic one.

What AI does is streamline processes, so you can perform tasks – like searches – more efficiently. While driving, for example. It doesn’t eliminate humans from the equation, but rather supports human endeavors in any number of different ways.

And AI is smart, though often presented in basic ways. It can be as simple as an ad for a specific pair of shoes appearing in your Facebook feed just after you browsed a brand’s website, or as sophisticated as reading a CT scan to spot cancer. Both require nuanced understanding of what is important – and why.

What sets AI apart from simple automation is the added component of machine learning – which enables machines to grow “smarter” as they perform tasks and assimilate information about user preferences.

In reality, machines are only as smart as their programming – but they can seem eerily lifelike at times.

How does that impact social analytics?

AI Helps with the Heavy Lifting

When you consider the sheer volume of social data constantly populating, it’s not hard to imagine that AI is useful. Automated systems have been part of the equation from the get-go, of course, but as analytics have moved from basic numeric metrics, technology has had to advance as well.

Something like Natural Language Processing (NLP) wouldn’t be very useful without the support of AI to ensure every nuance is considered and understood. So accuracy is a key benefit of AI-supported systems.

For our part, the NetBase Next Generation AI technology delivers double the accuracy of other social analytics tools out there. When it comes to classifying sentiment properly as positive, negative, or neutral, we’re not only capturing words, images and emojis – we’re correctly processing sarcasm and slang, which are the predominate vernacular of online.

Since sentiment is the core of social insights, accuracy in this area is super important – but it’s not all that matters. Transparency, control and speed are also key. Because if you can’t see where insights are coming from, how can you trust them? And if you can’t access the data that’s relevant to you in the moment you need it, what’s the point?

You need to explore insights in real-time – and the ability to clearly and accurately analyze as granularly as necessary:

Marketers must be careful of solutions lacking in these critical areas. Competition is too stiff to allow any edge to slip away – but inferior solutions will lead to inferior insights.

How AI Is Put into Practice

Market and consumer research company 113 Industries uses data science and AI to understand consumer psychology for brands like Ocean Spray, Coca-Cola, Hershey’s and more. They combine the modalities of NetBase and IBM Watson to integrate multiple data sets, understand consumer pain points, and deliver actionable insights for their clients.

This is how they identified sentiment around cranberry juice and how it could extend beyond the breakfast juice market for Ocean Spray. Learning consumers drank cranberry juice to rehydrate after workouts, or to simulate wine to unwind at the end of the day without alcohol, was game-changing for the brand.

These deeper insights are exactly what AI technology lends to social analytics tools. And the more robust your insights, the more powerful your results as you use those insights to inform strategy across your organization.

Can you afford to let an advantage like that pass you by? Of course not. That’s why you need to understand AI and implement it as part of your ongoing strategy. And don’t settle for less – because you don’t have to.

Want to see how AI enhances our analytics tool suite? Reach out for a customized demo!


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