Thursday, September 29, 2016

IBM's James Newswanger on The Power of Twitter Data for Corporate Decision Making

Late last year IBM entered into a partnership with Twitter which their Senior Research Manager, Corporate Social Analytics James Newswanger describes as combining "the best of Twitter with the best of IBM".  The Research Insighter sat down with Newswanger and asked him for an update on what sort of data and research IBM was working on with Twitter. Here's a brief excerpt from the video interview, which you can watch in its entirety here.
 
James Newswanger first explained to The Research Insighter what IBM's partnership with Twitter entails. "They give us full firehose access. We apply IBM’s Deep Insight through Watson computing analysis to help them find more meaning in their data."
 
The Research Insighter: "What kinds of information are you looking for?"
 
Twitter analysis is "much more than 140 characters"
 
James Newswanger: "Past the 140 character text there are 150 metadata elements that tell you info about the Tweeter. You can find out how many followers the person, organization or in some cases spam has. This is extremely useful in identifying people who are most influential; it's also used to identify spam."



Newswanger discusses IBM's own internal usage of Twitter data

James Newswanger: "In one quarter we get 500K tweets that mention IBM that need to be analyzed. Some of it is spam about products we are no longer making, some if it is robotic churn when people use #IBM in their Tweets to get attention. You have to clean data before you start analysis."  


With a clean data set it's easier to determine the story

Newswanger continued: "Once the data set is cleaned, you have to determine what is the purpose of the engagement. If we’re looking to identify influencers, we’ll be paying attention who is followed, who are they following. You also want to identify what keywords are being used in association with your key interest – say it's IBM for example."

The Research Insighter: "Is there any other data that you’re looking for?"

James Newswanger: "Location. Knowing where a person is proving to be extremely useful. The amount of posts a person makes. The amount of activity they do, the amount of retweeting a person does indicative of their activity. We look at their description. That’s very interesting when we get into personality analysis."

Twitter analysis is not just for marketing and brand equity anymore

The Research Insighter: "IBM recently issued an Institute for Business Value report called Beyond Listening. Can you tell us a little about it."

James Newswanger: "It attempts to take a step forward past text analysis for marketing and brand analysis only. Social business analysis has moved into the fundamental operations of a firm and to some extent the strategy making of a firm. Things like supply chain, HR, every element of a firm now can figure out a way to use social. We give examples of how different companies are using Twitter to unearth a different level of business analysis. That’s proven to be particularly valuable to the C-Suite."

The Research Insighter: "How would that work? Do you have any examples?"

James Newswanger: "Here are two of the most interesting examples:

Influencer identification. Many people use Twitter analysis to identify who they choose (or who they won’t choose) to be a product endorser. People also use Twitter information to decide who to invite (or not invite) to events as advocates.

Most companies sponsor events where they specifically target some people who are active socially. You see this a lot in fashion. In addition to a traditional magazine editor, you’ll see a whole barrage of bloggers and Twitter folks assigned to the front row because they’ve become important.

Supply chain. The other area that’s particulary interesting is supply chain. Companies are using Twitter to identify where people are, supplying things that are relevant to their inventory. For example, right now, the flu. If people tweet about being sick, colds or 'where should I run to the store to get a cold medicine'."

We're excited to say that James Newswanger will be speaking at The Market Research event, and on a very timely topic: "Town Hall: The State of Election Polling".

If you're interested in hearing more from IBM and other technological innovators in the market research industry, don't miss the world's leading market research event TMRE happening in beautiful Boca Raton, Florida October 17-20. Got any comments on this blog? Make yourself heard - Tweet to us at @TMRE!

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