Audience Intelligence What Marketers Need To Know: ‘Social Media Consumer Segmentation’

Updated 18/02/2022

“What Marketers Need To Know About Social Media Consumer Segmentation”

Co-Hosted by Nicolas Babin Who was Head of Marketing for Sony Europe for Many Years.

Edward Bass -Founder and Director at entSight – Digital Strategy Thoughtleader, Driven by Insights and Data.

We Discussed the Recent Forester Report Q&A: What Marketers Need To Know About Social Media Consumer Segmentation Social User Data Allows Marketers To Build Novel Segments For Uniquely Relevant Insights.

Summary of the transcript

• Nathaniel Schooler and Nicolas Babin interviewed Edward Bass about social media consumer segmentation and how it is key for audience intelligence to power strategy.
• Brandwatch, Audiense, and GWI are used to maximise the quality of data and to extract insights.
• Social data is great for qualitative understanding, but you won’t get the answer if you don’t understand the question.

•Edward Bass discussed how global web index, BrandWatch, and Audiense help to bridge the gap between qualitative and quantitative data to help understand customer behaviour.
• He also explained that social media consumer segments are data-rich audiences based on very detailed sources.
• Nicolas Babin asked about Edward’s definition of social media and consumer segments.

•Edward Bass discussed how important it is for businesses to research new product lines in order to survive, especially in today’s economy.
• Nicolas Babin talked about the importance of data capture and analytics when selling products, and how Aibo was successful due to its understanding of Japanese culture.

•There is no standardization when it comes to social media consumer segments, making the process of segmenting consumers more difficult.
• Agencies and consultancies are one source of social media consumer segments.
• Platforms themselves also have built-in segmentation, but these vary in terms of accessibility and data richness.
• It is important to have a specific outcome in mind when looking for insights into social media consumer behaviour, as this will help focus the search for relevant data.

•Edward Bass discussed how social media data can be used to understand different groups of people.
• He highlighted the importance of understanding the segmentations that are available within social media platforms and how they can be used to target marketing efforts.

•Edward Bass points out that data is not standardized, which makes it difficult to do research.
• He also says that if you don’t have a specific question in mind when looking for data, you’re likely to be disappointed with what you find.
• Brands need to spend enough time on setup before starting analysis in order to be successful.

•Edward Bass discussed how some companies view big data as the only viable research method, but this is not the case.
• Social media and consumer segmentation can be useful for understanding audience behaviour.
• KPIs are not always necessary for audience research, and they may not be applicable to all organizations.
• Actionable insights are key to making sure that research results are actually used by brands and agencies.

•Edward Bass discussed the importance of being concise and direct when providing guidance to clients.
• Research companies have left themselves open to not being challenged enough by clients.
• Brands need to be willing to be challenged in order for research companies to learn anything.
• It is important for research companies to mix data together in order to create insights.
• Brands do not understand the benefits of having an expert on both data and social listening platforms.

•Edward Bass is concerned about the ethical and practical implications of data-gathering.
• He is especially worried about companies that “move fast and break things.”

Combining Data and Social Media Listening = Audience Intelligence

Once your business learns to combine these important sources of information, you will be able to leverage audience intel to build a stronger community for your business.

audience intelligence
Audience intelligence is key to success

Marketers and Executives know about Data, Social Media Listening Platforms – but not Audience Intelligence and the Combination of the two.

We are here to learn more about combining Audience intelligence into your workflows and these approaches. We know Edward was asked for his opinion within the recent Forester report on this topic. In this interview, we really dig deep into the insights you can gain from audience intelligence.Brands understand that broad stroke demographics aren’t going to cut it anymore and they need to learn how to delve deeper into audience intelligence, combining it with other data sources; like social media, listening will pay dividends and make sure that their efforts and investment into audience intelligence software really delivers the ROI that their leadership team requires to invest in audience intelligence software and other Martech.

  1. How social media consumer segmentation is key for audience intelligence to power strategy.
  2. GlobalWebIndex, Brandwatch and Audiense and how you integrate the three platforms.
  3. What are social media consumer segments?
  4. Detailed understanding of these audiences, as opposed to traditional methods.
  5. Wider array of information available.
  6. Who develops social media consumer segments?
  7. How can marketers use social media consumer segments?
  8. What kind of KPIs can we see and why is it valuable to marketers?
  9. What are the limitations
  10. What is your vision for the future for data driven marketing?

The full transcript is below from our interview on audience intelligence.

Nicolas Babin, Edward Bass, Nathaniel Schooler talk Audience Intelligence.

Nathaniel Schooler 00:28
Quite interested today actually in this episode, it’s co-hosted by Nicolas Babin, who was head of marketing for Sony Europe for many years. And so he’s he’s also very interested in how social media consumer segmentation is key for audience intelligence to power strategy. And we are privileged to be joined by Edward Bass today, who is founder and director at entSight and he is a digital strategy thought leader driven by insights and data.

Nathaniel Schooler 01:00
So you’ve been doing this for many years. I know. And thank you for joining us. I really appreciate it.

Edward Bass 01:06
Pleasure to be here, really looking forward to the chat. Super.

Nathaniel Schooler 01:09
And you’ve you’ve recently contributed to the Forrester report recently, which is around this very, very topic. Right. So, yeah, I think this should provide a lot of comms professionals and marketers a lot of insight really into what it’s all about, because I know, I know, you’ve been sort of combining a few different platforms to gain that insight. And I think that’s really important. You know, I’ve kind of used Brandwatch years ago. I know, it’s a great tool. We’ve we’ve used audience intelligence Audiense, the platform who’ve, you know, kindly kindly brought us all together to sort of get this get this episode recorded. Right. But I think combining those approaches is is very, very interesting. So I’m looking forward to looking forward to listening to what you’ve got to say really, because.

Edward Bass 01:57

Nathaniel Schooler 01:58
You know, marketers They need to know about social media consumer segmentation right. But I think it’s it’s a bit of an anomaly for a lot of people you know. So question how social media consumer segmentation is key for audience intelligence to power strategy?

Nathaniel Schooler 02:18
Right. So you combine GWI, which I don’t know what that is, BrandWatch and Audiense. And so how do you like integrate these these three platforms to help people with their business?

Edward Bass 02:33
Okay, it’s a global wealth index. I’m sure you’re happy.

Edward Bass 02:39
Which, which is a great partner of ours. Okay, yeah. It’s definitely worth de-abbreviating for this conversation. Yeah. Okay.

Edward Bass 02:49
So before I answer that question, I’m going to go off on the slight tangent and just talk about something that I think is really useful to understanding the cause. Because, because there is, it’s necessary if I’m going to make what I’m talking about sound valuable to, to underpin something, the history.

Edward Bass 03:11
So first of all, entSight and the work that I do now is really born out of a realization that I had over over a career as a digital strategist working with larger agencies and large brands for many years, whereby much of the research that we were getting in the consumer insight that we were getting was, even when it was coming from digital sources was very much rooted in traditional research thinking.

Edward Bass 03:42
So it had quite kind of broad demographics, it had kind of quite broad, broad segmentation, which, you know, up until maybe 2008 is fine, I guess, but the fact is, as a result of social media as a result of far more in a data point rich platforms and the fact that we marketers and researchers and strategists can can access this power this wealth of incredibly detailed information available, but you’re trying to understand it through the lens of a research method, which is, you know, 60 years old.

Edward Bass 04:25
So given the opportunity by my co founders to kick start something like entSight, which was originally focused on entertainment, which I can talk about a little bit why later, but then brought them down into everything from major brands sustainability work to working with with hedge funds and alternative data. Really, what I wanted to do is address that problem by starting from scratch and building the methodologies that made use of the best sources of digital data, digital insight.

Edward Bass 05:02
And the best platforms so I was given an opportunity to set the company up and really start from scratch. Now I had a lot of experience with BrandWatch anyway I’ve been working with it for many years. The first BrandWatch projects I was introduced to as an early one for them but probably one of the most detailed which was tracking to major railway companies so should conversation because a lot of moaning a lot of negativity but but nicely cut as you probably know in brown watch, you can segment a lot of conversation and track it break it down to sentiment. So I was very fortunate to have this this I didn’t build it it was it was built I think by someone that BrandWatch but when I was at Amaze now Kin + Carter and I kind of inherited the system and then reverse engineered it really to understand it.

Edward Bass 05:49
Rebuilt something similar for transport for Greater Manchester as well. And also utilized it for projects for Odeon cinema. So we’ll use the pixel strategists that amaze for that. The time as well and several other brands. So I’ve already had this kind of in depth experience of using Twitter and forum data, some Instagram and Facebook data, but it’s always been a little vague. And therefore, when you know when given the opportunity to set up my own consultancy, I utilized that understanding. But also, after maybe, I don’t know, six or seven months, we also started to find projects whereby actually social data wasn’t going to cut it.

Edward Bass 06:37
And this kind of leads nicely into into the point I’m trying to make. Is that different platforms have different values for different questions when it comes to audiences. So social data is fantastic for qualitative understanding. So if you want to understand why people do things, then actually it is very good for that. Because you’ve got a lot of natural, often completely unprompted conversation there that you can tap into. However, knowing that to get a little bit like Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy here, knowing the answer is fantastic. But if you don’t necessarily fully understand the question, if you don’t have more detailed quantitative analysis of the audience and their behaviour. So if you don’t, for instance, understand their consumer journey, which you’re not going to get from social, by the way, not not in any detail.

Edward Bass 07:37
A lot of that qualitative insight isn’t all that useful. And I, you know, struggled with that over the years and tried to kind of draw out that information. But we started working global web index really, because it allowed us to provide a source of understanding just the behavioral aspect that we could then match with BrandWatch’s. Sort of explanation of why people were behaving the way they were behaving and Audiense, which came later, even though I’ve used its original version, SocialBro way back in the day.

Nathaniel Schooler 08:11
Me too!

Edward Bass 08:12
And just ended up being being great as well, I was quite surprised when Jeffreyhad told me that. It that, that really was was the tool that helped us. We’d been using other things, but that was the tool that really helped us properly bridge between, you know, very quantitative survey data, and very qualitative social, social listening data. So it was a very useful bridge.

Edward Bass 08:42
And so, yeah, I mean that that is but it all comes down to the need for specific purpose. Really, the presentation actually gave an Audiense and Pulsar at IBM last year. Where I was sort of detailing this and was saying that nobody goes on social media and really sort of tells you how they buy a holiday. So no one goes on Twitter or a forum or blog post and says, I will I go, you know, I search on Google and then I you know, it no one describes that process.

Edward Bass 09:22
It is it is something that can only really be understood by surveying people and saying very directly, what’s your customer journey here? And equally, trying to understand topics of conversation.

Edward Bass 09:39
What’s your, you know, what’s your main kind of motivations when you’re going out for shopping for frozen goods? Actually, that kind of thing. You can you can kind of directly address it with survey data, but some of that is going to be more visible through social Or for actually a much, much better example one that we’ve used ourselves, you know, which is your What’s your favorite celebrities? Which celebrities do you do you most talk about? Who’s your favorite film star?

Edward Bass 10:10
You can’t do that with a survey. Because the range of answers would be hundreds, you know, and someone’s just gonna, you know, you’ve got if you present someone with a survey of 250 answer’s not that you probably ever could.

Edward Bass 10:26
They’re only gonna select a few maybe in the top 10 and move on to the next question. So that that kind of detail and then also if you want to understand the sentiment around that persona, you want to understand the topics that are driving that conversation, survey data is not going to easily give you that whereas social data will so they different different platforms speak to different needs.

Nathaniel Schooler 10:47
Yeah, I mean, Audiense is a audience intelligence platform. I mean, that’s that’s in essence what what it is right? Like, it’s taken me a few days I spent about probably about two weeks really digging into it and yes, it’s incredible. I mean, Nicolas helped me a lot to actually go through it all because his background is, you know, from Sony dealing B2C was really really beneficial because I’m kind of, I’m more on the content creation side of things. And so Nicolas also is as well, he helps us to do various influencer work. So we work with some big brands and, you know, create influencer content much like this. Yeah, I mean, it’s no different really to this, except for, you know, writing blogs and this kind of stuff, but I know Nicolas has got some more in depth questions for you. He’s dying to ask.

Edward Bass 11:42
Come on, come on. I’m really

Nicolas Babin 11:46
I’m just being polite, waiting for Nat to finish. It was fascinating what you just explained. I’ve been involved with marketing for over 30 years, as you can see a little bit older than everybody else. So traditional marketing, you know, it’s a something that they’ve mastered that at the beginning, as you mentioned, customer journey being really essential. And obviously today, market data driven marketing is a challenge for it, especially that part. But one thing that I would like you to explain if it’s possible is what what’s your definition of social media, consumer segments? So at least everybody’s on the same page. And we understand you know, why the combination of both is so powerful.

Edward Bass 12:31
And my definition of them would be data point rich. Audiences based on very data point rich sources. So, you know, if you wanted, for instance, to understand the behaviors of people who are 25 to 35 years old, female based in Berlin, like I’m just like David Bowie because I’ve got David Bowie’s low, just literally in front of me and I mentioned earlier already. So, you know, and you also have, you know, a subset, if you will a very, very detailed understanding of those audiences, then social consumer segmentation is, is really, I guess, the best umbrella term to describe it, as opposed to more traditional methods that would say: – “Oh, you know, maybe maybe sort of CDE, aged, you know, again, like 25 to 35 female, but then none of the none of the more psychographic or behavioral data points as well.

Edward Bass 13:34
So, it’s, it’s, like I said, the first the first step is that I found with clients is getting them to appreciate that there is a wider array of information available, really. So yeah.

Nicolas Babin 13:47
Thank you. So that that really helps because I do a lot of digital transformation programs with many companies and I still have a lot of marketing heads of marketing CMOS and marketing managers or whatever. No saying no, of course. We know what customers we’ve done all these surveys, and I was really interested in hearing what you said earlier, I’m going to use it again saying, you know, if you do a survey about specific point, and your example was perfect, but you’re gonna get 100 thousands, millions probably of answers, and how do you then deal with that? When was marketing, data driven marketing, at least you have a better understanding and quicker understanding.

Edward Bass 14:23
I will say one thing though, and I’ve seen this, this is a conversation I’ve had with many certainly some European luxury CMOS and heads of marketing and digital is it’s all very well talking about web analytics, and CRM data and survey data to your customers. But if you’re running an enterprise, who’s only looking to sell to your existing customers, you won’t have an enterprise for very long. And again, something that the Forester report definitely engages with is the idea that If you yes, you can, you can draw information from your CRM, and your web analytics and point of sale and any number of mobile apps, you know, any number of owned sources. But you’re only going to do that with audiences that are directly engaging with you if you’re looking to build your business to new audiences, which you need to do for survival, especially now, or you’re interested in launching new product lines or researching new product lines, or just simply and I think this is where the whole I don’t really like using the term because it’s annoying and an example of the kind of broader demographic thinking but you know that that obsession with Millennial audiences that we’ve seen yet again, especially from from fashion and luxury brands, you’re not going to be able to understand those by looking at your data, simply if you’re not already selling to them. And also there’s the fact that yes, you may have some very detailed segments. But what happens when you get a massive paradigm shift? Like COVID-19 and your business gets completely flipped over? Imagine you run a cinema chain right now. For instance, how useful is your own data gonna be? Not Very!

Nicolas Babin 16:26
You’re preaching to the choir here, I have to say in 1999, I sold as not mentioned before, an intelligent AI robot called Aibo. And at the time, obviously, there was no web analytics. There was nothing. We were selling a moving electronic item. And you know, Sony’s business is b2b to see because our customers are the Dixons of this world. And then Dixon said to sell it to consumers, and for Sony it was also like a huge challenge because they told me, they said, we’re not using to selling moving objects, we don’t know who the target audience is going to be, we have no ideas. And so if you know we have now Sony is restarted last year to sell Aibo. And I know it’s going much better because at least they have real data as you just mentioned.

Edward Bass 17:19
I wonder how many sensors and how much data capture device like that would have if it reloads today? And I imagine quite a lot, that’s an interesting I’m just I always whenever people throw kind of this kind of problems that they being a natural problem solver II type person. Um, I’m also thinking, you know, yes, moving objects, but also surely studying interactions with pets.

Nicolas Babin 17:47

Edward Bass 17:47
And also communities. Now I’m going to hazard a guess, being a bit of a Japanophile that I am and now in Japan and also knowing that Japan doesn’t often have space for pets, and also know about Tamagotchi that the robot dog that you’re talking about came about as a kind of a easy maintenance replacement for the Japanese, as well. Of course, the Japanese audience isn’t the same, right? So

Nicolas Babin 18:14
That was a challenge. Because actually in Japan, Aibo in Japanese means companion.

Edward Bass 18:20
So Ah, okay.

Nicolas Babin 18:22
It’s the words that coin from artificial intelligence but but also Aibo means companion. And so the goal was to actually sell it for elderly, as you know, Japan. Well, you know, we had a lot of older people. And so and they are very lonely, the living in Tokyo in small apartments and everything. So they wanted to have a robot that could help them in case something was wrong.

Nicolas Babin 18:46
They could make them music, dance, whatever. It was really an entertainment robot that we want to put together. So it was exactly as you point. It’s so different in Japan and in Europe, and even in the US, the US didn’t sell that And yeah goes because the US wanted to put it as a toy, because more Americans, but it was a $2,000 toy so they didn’t sell many was in Europe we sold it as a, a AI tool.

Nicolas Babin 19:15
So really a technology object that was the beginning of robotic and you can see a lot now, you know, many companies, including including Google is launching robots that are entertaining, they can do things like last mile delivery. And there are many many things but without a bow at the beginning, I don’t think we will be today where we are.

Nicolas Babin 19:38
But my point going back to to our to the subject today was the fact that we had absolutely no data and I remember on the N 25 putting some huge signs, you know, saying Do you know abl or AI voice was for sale and everything and hoping that you know, somebody would see the sign and would go and ask about it when by April. Today, you know, they get the data from the web, they get data from all the sources that you mentioned in that question. And so it’s a bit easier to do a targeted marketing and yeah,

Nathaniel Schooler 20:13
but back then it wasn’t it was it was it Henry Ford, someone said, I spend 100% of my on my marketing my advertising, but only know what 50% you know, brings me right. I mean, that there’s still wastage, here, but you’ve you’ve got another really good question, haven’t you Nick is there

Nicolas Babin 20:34
otherwise I get carried away?

Nathaniel Schooler 20:35
I know I try and stop you but you were you were into the in the moment there but you know, what you’re saying is correct. Right. I mean, without the data. People are Edward wouldn’t be able to, to, to grab all this information and then create insight because that’s that’s really in essence, what we’re, what we’re talking about.

Nicolas Babin 20:55
Yeah, no. Wet finger strategy, you know?

Nathaniel Schooler 20:58
Yeah. Well, it’s still It’s, but it’s still it’s still happens big, big brands are still doing that, you know? And they’re like, Oh, well, you know, I like my social media tool. I like my I’ve got my influencer analysis tool. It’s like, Well, actually, if you looked at that, if you looked at the audience of that influencer, do you know how many followers they bought? Do you know when they bought them? Do you know? Do you know anything about what they’re talking about? And who they’re talking to and what they’re talking to you know who they’re talking to? So, it’s a fascinating topic, but go on ask Edward this question.

Nicolas Babin 21:33
And so according to you at work, who develops the social media, consumer segments?

Edward Bass 21:41
It depends. I will say, before I answer the question is that there’s not much in terms of standardization, where they are, which makes it so much easier not to the platform’s themselves, of course, Facebook Wow. Not that we get to see it outside of advertising very often. But Facebook has an incredibly data rich set of segmentation, and also uses some very clever AI and data science to make assumptions about this. So I’m always fascinated by the kind of assumptions that can come.

Edward Bass 22:21
So, for instance, if you happen to be based in London, but you’re spending a lot of time in Stockholm and New York and Tokyo, it will be able to categorize you as someone that’s probably working away from home, maybe in a fairly senior role, for instance. So it’s very good at doing that. But everything we know about it is assumptions. Because, you know, they don’t want to share it too much so, so there’s that there’s the platform’s themselves to a varying degree, something like Twitter doesn’t really have any, but that problem is solved elsewhere. And it is at least Open Data. In fact many, many of the platforms don’t really, you know, we worked extensively in the past with some of the Chinese social data platforms, and whilst there is a lot of data there they’re pretty light in terms of, you know, Facebook style data points, which is probably not going to serve you know, the Weibo’s of this world too well in the future, if I’m honest. But yeah, so there’s that.

Edward Bass 23:31
The second one comes from the agencies, and the consultancies like entSight ourselves, where we have the really interesting job of a whole range of potential segmentations and the platform’s themselves. Or to use the tools like BrandWatch and of course Audiense to and especially your Twitter data, Twitter doesn’t really give you any natural segmentation not from the API itself, using things like a Twitter bio and conversation on Twitter that can be used to build segmentations as well and conversation based segmentations are very, very powerful, and something that we’ve done some very interesting work with. And then finally, helpfully, the platform’s themselves also have their own built in segmentation as well. But again, there’s no standardization. So I mean, I was, I’m not gonna say who but I was attempting quite hard to get a social listing platform and a survey platform to talk to each other more actively over the past couple of years just because, partly because it made my job easier, but also because I could see real value. Knowing both sets of data points, I could immediately see where one connects to the other and if that could be automated.

Edward Bass 25:00
Gives us a little less of a headache as well.

Edward Bass 25:06
Yeah, so it’s so those those three sources mainly, I would say, but again, the lack of standardization, the variation, the different degrees of data and data accessibility from different platforms is definitely makes the job a little harder than your average research. That’s right.

Nathaniel Schooler 25:30
Right. Right.

Nathaniel Schooler 25:31
So it’s really about it’s like all marketing, you start with the outcome in mind. Yeah, it’s like, well, you know, there’s that peanut butter that that’s in I believe it’s in the report or it was in, I was speaking to om my last interview that I did about this, this topic, I was talking about this peanut butter and how that the audience was segmented. And some of the people that were eating it were bodybuilders and then some of them were runners and then some of them, you know, so the whole thing was, so like okay, so why does a bodybuilder eat peanut butter? Yeah, why does a runner or an ultra marathon runner eat peanut butter? Yeah. And and it. So it’s almost like, Well, what do you want to find out? Like, you know, and you can go on forever? Can’t you really and micro segment these things?

Edward Bass 26:19
Yeah, I mean, this speaks to another I’ve been I went through the report yesterday, but I made a lot of core points about 10 of them. But that’s another one that I flagged for myself is that you do need to have that intention. You do need to have an idea of the possibilities that you’re looking to confirm because if you go especially to social conversation data and expect and I’ve seen this with hilarious results in the past, thankfully not with myself all the time. But if you go out expecting that huge kind of noise, the needle in a haystack situation, to surface something intelligent insightful uses, you’re either going to fool yourself very quickly, and convince yourself that what you found is valid, or you’re going to spend two weeks in a black hole of information and possibly emerge from it. none the wiser and that, I’ve seen that before. Why we don’t really give clients access to the tools that we use anymore because, you know, nobody’s better than us doing it because we understand the paradigm but also because we’re going to be more focused on what’s okay and what you know, what is it you want to understand? There are some situations so we’ve had this you were talking about. You were talking about celebrities early, and we’ve done a lot of work with what we call consellation score, which is a sort of a celebrity insight, methodology rather than a tool that we’ve utilized. And this is a this has been used to people like Tommy Hilfiger we’ve been we’ve been worked on numbers their influence and celebrity campaigns and BMW as well. And you know there is a situation you might find where there’s so many variables that you have to create or you have to utilize some extensive taxonomies and categorizations and rules just to draw that out.

Edward Bass 28:24
Or go to the question with a list in mind so it’s always very good. We have found to say well, okay, you know, Mr. luxury brand or Mr. fashion brand or Mrs. fashion brand or Miss fashion brands, and what, what, you know, what, what’s your top 15 choices because we can look at those, and then we can explore the data in and around that and maybe see what other recommendations we can throw in there as well. So that’s a very interesting, but then that also becomes the case and we’ve done this a few times whereby it’s an idea with massive, we really want to respond to this environment thing, we really feel that you know, sustainability and environment and social good is where we want to go.

Edward Bass 29:09
But those are umbrella terms, they’re his umbrella terms as digitalists is really if we talk about sustainability, that could mean a number of things, really. And so, again, categorization is needed to be able to kind of organize that language and get, you know, get all of that information to the right kind of data into buckets.

Edward Bass 29:31
And that’s when you can analyze, really, but if you just go at it and go: – “Well, you know, I’m just going to look at word clouds and look at ready.” You know, for a start, you’re going to just see word clouds with Trump in them because he’s like a virus, frankly, a data virus.

Edward Bass 29:48
He seems to just be mentioning conversations about things that he has nothing to do with. And there’s huge kind of cultural mass drivers. We saw it with DiCaprio years ago as well. Around the Oscars. That’s dominate. So if you don’t apply some very strong filtration, which comes from having some very defined intentions, you’re going to lose that game. And if I’m honest, and this comes not just from my experience, but for analysts that we work with, if I could give the you know, if I’m able to flag a bit of a telling off point here, especially for some brands, and worse for agencies, they don’t assign enough time to that.

Edward Bass 30:30
So, you know, we’ll have projects thrown at us. It’s all we need to understand, you know, what, he’s actually quite a detailed subject, but they’ve only allowed half a day set up filters, like come on we are talking about days here, really, it’s actually that’s the bit you focus on the analysis, once you’ve broken down the data, is the bit that takes less time but if you go at it, you know, if you expect to solve that problem using social data in a couple of days. And you know, you’ve given an afternoon to, you know, a morning to brief and an afternoon for setup, you’re not going to get anywhere.

Edward Bass 31:11
So but it happens a lot, it really happens a lot. And the same companies would assign a lot more time to other research methods. I think personally is that that it’s because there’s a feeling that the only thing you’re tapping as well is, um, is traded data, but actually, a lot of good social segmentation conversation analysis. historical data is very useful for that as well.

Nathaniel Schooler 31:37

Nicolas Babin 31:38
All right. My next question has actually two sides of a one side you’ve already covered quite a lot, but

Edward Bass 31:43

Nicolas Babin 31:44
That’s perfect, actually, because very was very clear. But so I have used social media consumer segments mentioned but my second, the second part, when we can talk about that again, obviously, my second part was really what kind of KPIs Can we see and how those KPIs can be valuable to the marketers?

Edward Bass 32:06
Can I take toss with you on that question?

Edward Bass 32:09
What Why? Why are you Why would you be looking for performance indicators? If you’re carrying out audience research your KPIs apply to your own organization they don’t apply to you no, you’re not influencing this reminds me of a conversation I had with an unknown camera brand about six years ago.

Edward Bass 32:30
Unnamed now, no, no, no, no. Right. That’s a right but you know, there was an it came from a large consultancy as well, which is even more hilarious, but you don’t get to control that conversation that you’re tapping or anything from it. So why would you set a KPI you know, there’s key performance indicators. So what was, who’s performing here? That’s not not the case is it? So that I think and I’m a big someone that works with language, I’m very hot on the semantics of things. If you approach a problem thinking that you need KPIs, and you don’t need KPIs, again, you’re building a brick wall for yourself. So let’s could we could we rephrase the question, sorry it’d be difficult.

Nathaniel Schooler 33:21
Yeah, he’s right. Actually, Nicolas, you put this you put a trick question in there. Nicolas. Last time, I gave you a question to write

Edward Bass 33:32
He put a trick question. Or he has just been schooled I am not sure.

Nicolas Babin 33:38
Oh come on two English guys against a French guy.

Nicolas Babin 33:44
Now the reason why I was asking the question is regularly when I talk about consumer segmentation, and the use of that I have, especially in digital transformation projects. Marketing managers ask me this. That’s the question that comes up immediately and I explained to them that KPIs might not be related to this, but I should have asked the question differently. How do you sell such an approach to one of your consumer concerns? customer? When when you when you explain to them what you do? I mean, how do you explain to them the benefits are going to get out of it? Is it better as a question?

Edward Bass 34:23
Yeah, I guess so. I guess so. I mean, I I really try to not fall into the trap of approaching what’s effective, you know, it’s effectively a different form of research with the with the eyes of analytics, because analytics is something completely different. You know, if I’m looking at web stats, then it makes sense to talk about KPIs, but how do we sell them on Well, I mean, we work on a project by project basis.

Edward Bass 34:49
So we, I guess, that we just ensure that we draw a very, very clear line between what we can find out and how it can be applied to their strategies. Now one of the things that I’m very fortunate, I guess I do feel fortunate to have is a pretty significant level background in digital strategy. So when I approach a project, maybe compared to just a researcher or an analyst, I’m going to be looking at it not just in terms of the, you know, the outputs of the research, but how it can be actionable.

Edward Bass 35:34
And that’s something else I was talking earlier about, about, you know, what inspired us to set up entSight and another thing that’s very strong was that so much research, either commissioned or you know, more off the shelf often doesn’t speak directly to action. And I think that increasingly, the more time poor brands and agencies are, the less time they have to actually feel figure it out. And actually they what they really want is someone’s able to say these are the insights. And these are five or six things that you can do with them, you know, so that actionable insight and that’s something I’ve always been quite focused on. Because I you know, I can put myself in the seat of the client in that situation where you’ve got, you know, I’ve got a challenge I need to decide how to activate this new product. So I need to understand how to open up this new market.

Edward Bass 36:29
And I think a lot of traditional research will lay out the facts before you but then you you know, you have to kind of cherry pick. And I think, by the way that’s also led to a culture which I really have a bit of an issue with, if I’m honest, but it is too common. It should lead to a culture whereby because there isn’t actionable insights and it is just kind of you know, these are the these are the results. Often. That gives the client too much of an excuse to just cherry pick the ones that already support their biases.

Edward Bass 37:02
Now, I’ve had some pretty terse conversations with brands around this kind of thing. And, you know, I’ve had to say in the past, you know, we’re not here, you haven’t hired us and we’ve never put ourselves forward to be an organization that’s here to not challenge you to just, you know, for you to pay us and then we’ve just kind of rubber stamp your confirmation bias. That’s not what you do research for, not not in my world.

Edward Bass 37:30
But I think research companies have left themselves or consultants have left themselves open to that by not being concise and or direct enough when it comes to actually providing guidance.

Edward Bass 37:40
So yeah, I think there’s there’s there’s a lot more work that needs to be done in connecting especially, you know, very, very specific digital insights to action. And I think once clients understand that they normally they normally sign up because you know, that’s. But even the ones that do sometimes aren’t always the most amenable to being challenged as well. So, so yeah, I mean, I honestly don’t understand why anyone would commission research, unless they’re willing to be challenged. It’s not you’re not gonna learn anything.

Nathaniel Schooler 38:22
Yeah. Well, how are you going to improve? How are you going to improve your content and improve your relationships and improve? You know, because once you get that connected approach, just to kind of sum it up, right, we’re basically pulling data together and we’re creating insights from social listening, and we’re listening to these conversations.

Nathaniel Schooler 38:41
And we’re filtering those conversations and removing the stuff that we don’t want that is irrelevant. And then that information is giving us insight into those consumers right. And then if we can take those consumers and put those into an audience intelligence tool, right like Audiense, then then we’re going to have even deeper insight into the words that they like to hear the behaviors that they may do. Yeah. And then it’s going to enable the brand to sell more because their content fits the segments that are defining themselves. Yeah, I think that’s sort of fair to say; mixing these two things together is absolutely fundamental. Right. But without an expert on those two platforms, you can’t, it’s very difficult! Brands just don’t understand the benefits. I don’t think personally.

Edward Bass 39:41
Yeah, I mean, it’s definitely going back. I would, I think it would be wrong with me not to probably point out at this point that with Audiense especially, one of the most beneficial things is that you can provide it a broader audience.

Edward Bass 39:58
So you can say Okay, you know, show me followers of Nike in South Africa who are male, interested in music and you know, aged 25 to 35, which already sounds like a pretty detailed audience.

Edward Bass 40:16
But then what it will do and this is this is one of my favorite things about it is it will then identify sub audiences within that audience. Which is very, very useful even if you don’t respond to each one. And you know not every campaign you can have the opportunity to sort of develop five, you know, individual audience strategies, but you can see the range and the flavor. And crucially, you can index them against each other, and other audiences within Audiense. So you know, we that that’s really useful.

Edward Bass 40:52
Now, the indexing thing is something we adore Global Web Index for, because it allows us to say okay, let’s look at a very defined audience, but then we can then measure it against another very defined audience.

Edward Bass 40:55
And with Audiense, that’s a really, really good thing to be able to do as well as to be able to say, okay, you know, this is this is my, this is my kind of Nike, South African audience, but actually, there’s a sub segment, who live in Johannesburg a really, really big kind of funky hip hop, can I actually measure them against the other segments, or maybe against an Adidas segment in Zimbabwe or something, you know, say that that is, it takes a while to get your head around, it did reverse but when you’ve mastered that, it’s so powerful.

Edward Bass 41:40
And, and I’m going on a bit but there’s an example I want to give here because it’s probably the most exciting thing that we’ve ever done with this kind of segmentation, but it’s a it’s a good example of how it can work.

Edward Bass 41:53
We I’m not going to name drop here, and I wish I could we were working on a TV show last year. With some contacts in Los Angeles, first time we’ve ever done this for what we call Limelight, which is our more kind of entertainment, production focused solution. And projects have been running a couple of months already. And they’ve been super responsive. And we’ve done a lot of research around, you know, different sort of potential storylines.

Edward Bass 42:26
And they wanted to know, for instance, how particular audience groups responded to certain socio political issues like gun control, and police brutality, which seems kind of prescient now, as you know, almost a year later.

Edward Bass 42:44
And the client, I think, very intelligently and not something would continue. Got an understanding of how we were working and said: – “Well look you you’ve got, you’ve got broader or you’ve got these audiences you’ve got specific audience. So, you know, we’ve got we’ve got, you know, a character, for instance, who’s like, Latino 35 to 40.”

Edward Bass 43:10
But they said, but we also know that, you know :- “She does this job. And she’s got this interest in that. And this is this is the character that we’re kind of dreaming up”.

Edward Bass 43:19
And he said: – “Is there anything that you can do to show us what real life quirks that character will have? And the other characters?

Edward Bass 43:29
We’ve been? You know, I suppose, workshopping a little bit with him for a few months. So we’ve got out and then like: -“Is there some way that you can show us what this very, very specific character might have compared to, you know, their ethnic group, or their age group or their ethnic group, an age group?”

Edward Bass 43:51
And, the output was fascinating. It was fascinating

Edward Bass 43:54
We were finding the real world quirks that different sort of kids communities and tribes had so there was a, there was a really interesting to the tension between the two lead characters and what one of the things we identified was that one was very, very kind of pro technology sort of almost to, you know, completely communicating via technology, whereas the other lead character, hated technology was a people person.

Edward Bass 44:28
And we this is not something that had been suggested it was something that we found, and we got very excited about that, because we were being pushed to identify tensions in the audience. And there’s this very, very visible tension between the techie and the non techie.

Edward Bass 44:41
But there was a loads of stuff that came out of it and that, again, comes across sort of contrasting and comparing very, very specific audiences. really powerful and I I like to think that the likes of Disney and Netflix already do this kind of thing, but if you’re not and you’re listing, do it,

Edward Bass 44:59
Because I honestly think that you know, if you’re trying to find valid, authentic characters, it’s there in the data. It’s absolutely there.

Nathaniel Schooler 45:10
Well, why not?

Edward Bass 45:11
I’m not saying

Edward Bass 45:12
Let Brandwatch write your GWI write your script but there’s definitely going to some very, very, I guess, here the two unknowable qualities that you just you just need to see and I think that’s where audience intelligence probably has a really interesting future.

Nathaniel Schooler 45:33
Very interesting.

Nicolas Babin 45:35
With all that in mind, what do you see the limitations of this segmentations?

Edward Bass 45:43
I honestly if I think if you’re if you’re using multiple platforms, if you’re if you’re complementing your social media segmentation, you know, with data from from GWI UGov or Levanta. The limitation starts fall away if you if you’re looking just with social data, as I said earlier, it’s usually limited.

Edward Bass 46:10
You know, I am not saying it’s bad but there are just some questions you’re not going to answer. So often often around behavior so that that’s a limitation in terms of the limitations that might affect the social platforms. Don’t underestimate and nobody should post Cambridge Analytica. Don’t underestimate how socio political landscapes can affect your potential research strategies.

Nathaniel Schooler 46:43
Yeah, good answer.

Edward Bass 46:44
Because look, TiKTok is in an interesting place in the United States but they were riding high two months ago globally. And now Facebook I don’t know if you’re aware this but Facebook was on the cusp of opening up their data set to potentially very, very powerful.

Edward Bass 47:06
I wouldn’t say social listening, but certainly social insights solution A while back, which, you know, some of the some of the social listening platforms really bet their their time on. And then because of Cambridge analytic here, yeah. Disappeared overnight.

Nathaniel Schooler 47:23

Edward Bass 47:24
Which was annoying, but completely valid. A lot of the partnership data that used to feed Facebook Insights around earnings in the US disappeared. And, yeah, so I mean, I’m always saying don’t get too comfortable with just one data source. Cause we live in a world that is where this this kind of data is constantly bound and rightfully being assessed and we can’t become too dependent on it.

Edward Bass 47:54
The next one is cookies. I mean, not directly the same, but you know, that’s not that’s the next one that’s in the firing line.

Nathaniel Schooler 48:00

Edward Bass 48:00
Even I think by Google so you don’t get to decide only Facebook and Google and TikToc and to a degree of the government gets to decide which, whether or not these data sets data say no, which is another reason why from knowing this and having seen this destruction already over the years, and especially seeing Facebook just

Edward Bass 48:34
fall back over so many things.

Edward Bass 48:40
I was quite nervous inside just to be relying on social data. So that’s one of the reasons why we brought in multiple platforms is because yeah, if for instance, you know, another Cambridge Analytica happens and we lose access to one avenue of research, we might be able to do some with another, but we’re not we’re not, you know, dead in the water. And we, when we’re the Instagram API got pulled down, there was a number of companies, mainly LA based, who were sort of, I wouldn’t say competing with us. But we would get mentioned in conversations compared to our own sort of celebrity insight that we’re pulling kind of raw data for the Instagram API.

Edward Bass 49:28
That and honestly, because I’m not merciless, I felt terrible about this.

Edward Bass 49:36
I remember, you know, once it all came into effect and the Instagram API been rolled back, logging on to see how they were doing and they shut down overnight. Multiple companies shut down overnight. But then again, you know, to, to, to quote what I said to my founders, like co founders back in the day was I’m not going to base my entire company. On the data from a company whose motto is move fast and break things, it’s, you know, I guess, I think the chances are one of the things might get broken where they’re moving fast is you.

Edward Bass 50:11
So you know. So that’s the risk. I think that that’s, that’s that’s the major risk. And I also think that there’s an ethical risk as well, I think that, yeah, we need to be very careful. I have far too many conversations, especially stateside with technology, people who don’t really seem to give too much of a damn, about how their actions might be perceived. And I think that’s right. And so yeah, I think I think we need to be Stop being so greedy guts with the data. And be aware that it’s still very, you know, a very, very much changing landscape.

Nathaniel Schooler 50:48
Yeah, yeah.

Nathaniel Schooler 50:49
Very interesting. So, just one final question to finish up and what is your vision for the future then for data driven marketing?

Edward Bass 51:00
We adopt all the things that we’ve just been talking about. And then I don’t have to explain it.

Edward Bass 51:09
Everybody just kind of moves towards where I am, you know, I can just sit back and say how I was right the whole time now, I’m being obnoxious there.

Edward Bass 51:18
But I, of course, would like see our mindset and our approach and the way that we look at things. I’d like to see that adopted because I know that it’s effective, and I know that it’s right. And I’m, you know, I’m kind of unshakable in that faith, really, because it’s just worked out far too many times. In terms of, I guess, the more interesting, the less pigheaded answer is. I see a lot more possibilities, as the Forrester report speaks to as well.

Edward Bass 51:51
In image analysis, which is vital and and contextual video analysis. It exists. I don’t know if you’ve used it, I mean, it ranges from interesting to hilariously bad, really. In terms of the results, I’ve seen some real corkers in terms of outputs from nice getting better, certainly, but it’s difficult, you know.

Edward Bass 52:22
There’s also the fact that if they master the image and video analysis, we then can’t treat that paradigm shift. In the same way that we’ve treated language analysis. We’re kind of back to square one, if you like. We’re back to what I was saying before, where if you’re looking at, you know, you’re looking at kind of text based social data from conversations which is still the mainstay of analysis, using traditional research models to assess and analyze that doesn’t really make any sense but equally moving forward, if you use current text based methods on image analysis and that mindset including looking for KPIs, you’re gonna have exactly the same problem, so you know there’s a there’s a saying you know, the picture tells it that as 1000 words and that’s exactly there’s so much information just review what I have with you guys right now, you know, I can derive certain things that certainly you’re in the house of someone who likes a lot of wood and yeah, right.

Edward Bass 53:38
It’s a similar situation and actually you know, it’s pretty good but you know, you you cannot try to guess what the picture is but but but you know, you you know that I like maps, for instance, and books and water because I’ve been drinking quite a little bit.

Edward Bass 53:57
And you know, that I like to kind of grae you know, that I wear glasses, you All right, it’ll have all of that information is worthless. That’s, that’s incredibly rich, that’s incredibly rich. And I think once the technology has got better at figuring out and identifying all of that, we are then going to have to construct a completely new mindset.

Edward Bass 54:16
And in order to derive information from that, because trying to use text based analysis, thinking is stupid, it’s not gonna make any sense. Because it’s not words, it’s pictures, you know, it. Images trigger different neurons in the brain, it’s different type of information. It’s like, it’s like if you want to really throw away so it’s like doing algebra with vegetables and not numbers, right. That’s kind of what it’s like.

Edward Bass 54:46
So yeah, I think I think that’s, that’s the other opportunity is sort of custom communities as well. So the Forester report mentions this in the end about you know, utilizing own communities a little bit more effectively. Yeah. And I actually think that that given given the instability of social media owned communities are certainly a way forward.

Edward Bass 55:14
So developing, you know, your own communities. I’m not going to go as far as to say your own social networks, but you know, building some kind of fellowship around your brand. That includes social and CRM web and, you know, external experiential experiences as well. Using data from those sources, that’s really good. But equally I think that there’s a real risk of bias there because you know, because it is, if you’ve got a mighty community, then how do you get a more honest view when they’re they’re being completely supported. You know, fed by Nike. So that’s a that’s a that’s a difficult one.

Edward Bass 56:05
But I think those those are those are the two biggest technological challenges that we have on top of massive shifting socio political situations. Yeah,

Nathaniel Schooler 56:17
well, that’s another another roller coaster ahead. But, but no, that’s that’s that’s fantastic. Thank you so much, Edward and and Nicholas as well for co hosting when I told him about this episode, he was super excited. Yeah, because Wow, we love Yeah, because we love this stuff. Right and, you know, to talk to talk to people who really specialize in these particular

Nathaniel Schooler 56:41
things in Yeah,

Nathaniel Schooler 56:42
it’s fantastic information, you know, so I listened

Edward Bass 56:45
I listened back to some of the previous episodes of this and something that I really like. Is is quite open, candid, direct conversation. I cannot stand listening to more corporatized podcasts and talks, where it just sounds like someone is reading off, you know, a pre prepared PR spec sheet. I don’t do that. You know, I’m particularly pretty opinionated. And I figured out that you guys were as well. So I was I was like, yeah, I’m quite excited. And it’s been great. I’ve really enjoyed it.

Nathaniel Schooler 57:24
Thank you. Thank you.

Nathaniel Schooler 57:26
Fantastic. Well, let’s, let’s definitely keep in touch here. And that will let you know, we’ll let you know when it’s live.

Nathaniel Schooler 57:33
And, you know, I’ll be sharing that with all over my socials.

Nathaniel Schooler 57:38
Super and if anything comes along that you’re interested in, in talking to us about like influencer, content and stuff. Give us a shout. You know, we can have.

Edward Bass 57:46
Yeah, absolutely.

Nathaniel Schooler 57:48
Yeah, because we’re really we really focus on tech. It’s all about it’s all about the tech.

Edward Bass 57:53
So very exciting. So very exciting world to be in.

Nathaniel Schooler 57:56
Yeah, very much so. So if people want to get you What you can drop a link at the bottom? Yeah,

Edward Bass 58:02
Yeah, just I just dropped my LinkedIn profile. That’s normally that’s normally where I’m on as Nicolas is probably going to find out now is connected to me on pretty proactive and just as opinionated on their as I am on on here. So yeah, that’s probably the best place to find me. And if you you know, drop me a message I’ll talk to you as long as you’re not trying to just sell me something

Nathaniel Schooler 58:30
We’ve given up.

Edward Bass 58:32
No, you know, that was that was that that was to anyone broadly, he went

Nathaniel Schooler 58:37
Yeah, but people need to give up hard selling anything because it just doesn’t work. It doesn’t work, you know,

Edward Bass 58:42
Instant block.

Nathaniel Schooler 58:44
Yeah, yeah.

Edward Bass 58:45
Yeah. I mean, I kind of like throw open the doors and like, yeah, I’ll connect with you. But pretty much immediately. The next thing I see from that person is, uh, you know, especially if it’s generic, I might give it a bit more patience. If it’s tailored, if it’s just some generic spam, it’s like me. It’s essential via digital strategies to like, that’s like you read it wrong.

Nathaniel Schooler 59:12
Yeah, yeah, no, I had a woman yesterday, she sent me some message about blockchain. And I was like, She’s like, she knows that’s

Edward Bass 59:19
Another thing. Yeah.

Nathaniel Schooler 59:22
She saw her work for Like, and I’m like, that’s interesting. She sent me something saying something about blockchain. And I’m like, I’m like, She’s like, do you understand about blockchain? I’m like have you read my profile?

Nathaniel Schooler 59:37
No response.

Edward Bass 59:39
Yeah, I’ve given up I’ve given up even fairly servic now, I’m just like, yeah, there’s no you know, I almost feel that if I don’t want to be bitchy, because I used to be a sales guy myself back in the day, but like, I almost feel that if I respond with something kind of pointed and directional. They might almost Mostly how to convince themselves that it’s a lead. Yeah. This is talking to me is like No, just just I’m not gonna give you any hope. You’ve been warned. But yeah, I’m pretty chatty on there. And more than happy to engage and you know if you if there’s any projects where you’re looking to understand more about your audiences, so you want to pick up any points I’ve mentioned here, drop me a message.

Nathaniel Schooler 1:00:28
Super, super. Well, thanks so much. Great for you, and everyone listening.

Nathaniel Schooler 1:00:34
Thanks for listening. Please make sure you share this episode with your friends and business connections to and don’t forget to drop us a review wherever you listen. Thank you