23 Surprising Social Listening Stats

Niraj Sharma |
 06/26/19 |
5 min read

23 Surprising Social Listening StatsSocial listening has created a whole new world of possibilities for marketers, and offers a host of both challenges and opportunities. We have some surprising stats that demonstrate each, while offering insight to inform your next campaign strategy session.

Before you work up your next marketing plan, you should probably consider what amount of your brand’s budget should be directed toward social listening – so let’s start there:

Top Brands’ Budgets

As we’ll be sharing in our upcoming Global Social Media Analytics Report, brands are directing quite a bit of budget toward their analytics tools these days – and for good reason. Thirty percent of our survey respondents reported spending more than $25,000, with a third of that number spending more than $100,000 on social media analytics tools.

Why so much? The long-term ROI, of course:

  • 113 Industries helped Ocean Spray use social analytics to find the next $100 million dollar idea.
  • Taco Bell released an app that resulted in 7 million downloads and a 20% increase in purchases by these same users.
  • Britvic launched Fruit Shoot in the crowded U.S. beverage market and experienced at 200% customer increase thanks to their social analytics-informed campaign, and the savvy Zocalo Group agency that used NetBase to create it!

And that begs the question – how fast is online growing exactly, and where are businesses finding the most success/challenges? Let’s explore the landscape first.

Usage Stats

The desire to be consistently, relevantly active online gnaws at every brand manager when they should be sleeping, as s/he understands how crucial social media marketing (and its corresponding analytics) are to a brand’s overall online well-being. And it’s a battleground out there!

But understanding analytics is not only essential to customer care, crisis response, and brand health – it’s the place where new ideas are born. It’s where competitors uncover the seeds of disruption, and it’s where savvy brands create connections and master offering lifetime value to consumers.

It’s nothing short of a brand lifeline, really. And its dire importance can be pretty immediately demonstrated when glimpsing online usage stats.

For example, in 2019, it is estimated that there will be around 2.77 billion social media users around the globe, and some estimates already have in the 3 billion range:

bar graph showing billions of social media users

These users are spending an average of 2 hours 22 minutes per day on social networks and messaging. And 82% of them expect an immediate response from your customer care representatives when there’s an issue. So not being there isn’t an option.

And capturing those negative vibes before they fester and grow offers amazing potential.

Negativity Can Be an Opportunity – If You’re Listening

A brand’s followers consist of those who love it and those who hate it, of course (did you know haters follow you too?). But, you’ll find that haters make up a smaller percentage of your followers overall – though their feedback can be the most valuable, if you’re ready to respond in real-time.


They dislike your brand for a reason and sorting out – and fixing – what that reason is, is time well-spent.

  • Was your customer service not up to par?
  • Is there an unmet need?
  • Did your product malfunction and they tossed it rather than taking the time to find a solution? 91% of unhappy consumers will never return, and you’ll have no idea why without social listening.
  • Did a competitor best you in some way? You have to stay on your toes, as there are about 300 million persons trying to start about 150 million businesses world-wide. And guess what? You won’t see them coming without social listening!
  • And, most importantly – how can you turn whatever is bugging them around?

Also, not only can you sort out issues your consumers have with your brand, but you can also uncover issues potential consumers have with competitors – and you can solve those issues as well. And land some new clients in the process! This makes sense, as customers predominantly leave because they feel you don’t care about them:

top reasons customers leave companiesMake New Followers, But Keep The Old

It’s important to note: 96% of unhappy customers won’t tell you directly, but will tell 15 friends about their disappointment with you. And many will post online but not tag you in any way.

And, we’ve found that people who share negative mentions of a brand are much less likely (half, to be precise) to follow a brand than those who share positive mentions (7% vs 14%, respectively). So, if you’re only paying attention to what your followers are saying, and think that those make up your main consumer base, you’ll miss the most important conversations happening online about your brand!

Retaining a customer (whether or not they follow you) is much more valuable than finding new customers, of course – as its 7x more expensive to land a new customer.

cost of acquiring new customers vs keeping existing

Keeping It Positive Without Resting on Laurels

Those who love your brand can be vocal about it as well, of course – and it can be a heady experience when things are good. It can even present a disarmingly rosy appearance, distracting you from those hidden concerns mentioned above, that are lingering under the surface.

It’s important to note that the positive glow is fleeting online. Although you’ll see them more often, as positive tweets contain a brand’s handle much more often than negative tweets (40% more actually) and the same is true of positive mentions – they’re much more frequent and easily identifiable as you’re tagged in them!

In fact, for almost all of the verticals, more positive soundbites contain the handle (average 31%) than negative soundbites (average 22%)

positive brand mentions by vertical
This means that if you’re only looking at what people are saying on your own channel, and if you’re only capturing those obvious, “we love you” mentions, you’re getting a skewed perspective about how positive people are about your brand. Very skewed, most likely, as online is predominantly angry – and in a big rush to spout off about it.

Much like being unwilling to engage with a brand around a perceived shortcoming or disappointment, people are less likely to @mention a brand when they have a complaint, though they’ll frequently talk about a brand without following it. Don’t lose sight of those people!

Time Heals All Wounds

But even at that – both positive and negative sentiment is fleeting. And a brand is only as memorable as its last successful or awful consumer experience.

Although we’ve found that tweets containing photos or videos are much more likely to be retweeted than tweets with neither, the half-life of a tweet is uncomfortably brief.

Most tweets that get retweeted (all but one in our sample of more than two hundred) hit their peak daily frequency within three days of the original posting, though most of hit their peak within a mere two days – and that time is sure to be cut down to even less as the pace of social continues to increase. The flow of data online overall continues to increase. There’s somewhere around 1.2 million terabytes of data online right now, and that’s a ridiculous amount in itself.

So, it’s smart to watch for (and create) tweets and posts that are visual, but one-off planning is pointless. Even amazing, viral tweets are buried quickly.

There needs to be a larger strategy informing every post your brand makes. And an effort that will generate meaningful ROI requires real-time monitoring to make the most of the intel that the massive amounts of structured and unstructured data online offers.

Fortunately for you, we know a place that can help you do just that! Contact us and we’ll show you how it’s done!

Join The
15,723 People
Who have subscribed to our blog

Sign up to receive the latest updates

Premier social media analytics platform

Expand your social platform with LexisNexis news media

Power of social analytics for your entire team

Media analytics and market intelligence platform

Enrich your media analytics with social data

Social media benchmarking
and competitive intelligence

Data streams & custom KPIs for advanced data science

AI, Image Analytics, Reporting Tools & more

Out-of-the-box integration with other data sources