minionsWhen decisions need to happen in real-time, it’s vital for information to be immediately available and easy to understand. Data visualization is the best way to accomplish that – and we’ve just made it easier.

Our newest update, the Minions Release – named after the wide-eyed, curious creatures from the Despicable Me and Minions movies – has improved bubble chart visualization in our Demographics and Index widgets.

Before we show you how, let’s refresh why real-time data, and visualization of it, is so important.

The need for speed in social listening

Having social data readily available means brands and marketers can understand what’s happening, as it’s happening, across the social realm. More importantly, it means they can respond to what’s happening in the moment as well. While not every business needs this immediacy – many areas of the government, for example, do not rely on real-time data – most will benefit.

Recognizing and responding to trends is one way real-time insights are useful. Perhaps most importantly, an immediate understanding of social reactions makes the difference during a brand crisis. Sea World, for example, did not fare well with their #AskSeaWorld campaign, while the Atlanta Aquarium managed to turn sentiment around after a tragic loss.

What set the differing outcomes of these two organizations apart was reaction speed – but a big part of the equation was monitoring sentiment regularly, and being prepared for the possibility of a drop in the first place. The Atlanta Aquarium received an alert when sentiment turned negative, and they immediately responded. Sea World, unfortunately, didn’t seem ready for the negative backlash their campaign received, and they floundered.

This is why social listening must be an all-the-time effort, which includes a plan for how to deal with sudden changes of sentiment – in either direction. “Shifting the moment of data-driven insight to the brand’s planning stage makes it an active, rather than reactive, process.” Says Doreen Bloch, CEO & Co-Founder of Poshly.

When you have information you can act at a moment’s notice – when you don’t, you must play “catch-up.”

Snapshots for the “See-suite”

This break-neck pace is the biggest reason data visualization offers such an advantage – for the C-suite especially. It takes far longer to read through and extract insights from text or numerical reports, whereas visual data can be interpreted at a glance.

But being able to quickly assimilate data isn’t the only reason visualization is key. Creative Bloq says, “[B]y presenting data visually it’s also possible to uncover surprising patterns and observations that wouldn’t be apparent from looking at stats alone.” And that might be the edge you need to surpass a competitor.

One way we visually represent data is through bubbles in our Demographics and Index widgets.

In the Demographics widget, the bubble chart visualization works with a comparison topic or audience to deliver a graphical view into the target or audience’s uniqueness.


You can see in the graphic above that people talking about “pets” on social media are also talking about a variety of other topics. This is useful information for defining audience segments and crafting authentic and relatable messaging for them.

Hovering over a bubble reveals summary metrics for that insight – everything else you need to know is represented by the bubble itself. Horizontal position on the x-axis reveals which items are being talked about more or less than the comparison topic – with bubbles to the left most under-indexed and bubbles to the right most over-indexed. The size of the bubble indicates how much that topic is being talked about, relative to mentions or author count.

In the Index widget, the type of sentiment authors use when they talk about an item are displayed as shaded bubbles for each insight. Green represents positive sentiment, pink represents negative, and grey represents no sentiment:


To view sentiment ascribed to emojis, choose the Individual Emojis option. Instead of bubbles, a shaded bar under each emoji indicates its sentiment classification:


These visualizations offer at-a-glance understanding for decision-makers. And as Creative Bloq pointed out, patterns may also emerge – like the tendency of your audience to convey positive emotions through ironic use of crying emojis. As you create messaging, you might consider speaking to this audience in “their” language – something they’re bound to love.

Social data is all about adapting

While access to data, and the data itself, is pivotal, what marketers and brands need most as they wrangle real-time data is an ability to think on their feet – to meet the constant changes and surprises with an appropriate response that moves their brand forward.

That’s what we need too, and it’s why we are always working to improve what we offer to our customers. The Minions Release is the latest update to our suite of products, and we can’t wait to hear how it changes the way your brand makes decisions based on visualized data.

To share your results, or to see a live demo of the updated bubble charts, get in touch!

Image from Mike Mozart

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