How Do Social Listening Tools Work?

First things first – Social listening is the process of finding out what people are saying about a particular topic, brand, personality, etc. online. (You may read our previous blog “Social Listening 101” to learn more. You may also be interested in this interesting discussion on social media monitoring). In a very basic sense, social listening can be done by searching for keywords in the search bars of social media sites and manually checking through the post results:

Searching for posts on social media sites

While this sounds easy enough, it’s an incredibly tedious method and will not give you the full picture of what online conversations around a certain topic are about. That’s where social listening tools like Circus Social’s 20/Twenty come in handy. 

What do social listening tools do?

Simply put, social listening tools work like a Google search engine, displaying mentions of a keyword or topic from social media sites (like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Reddit), blogs, forums, e-commerce, and product review sites, among many others. It’s important to note that only public posts are legally allowed to be crawled by social listening tools. If you come across a tool that provides private data, it’s probably been generated through illegal means. Circus Social works with reputable data providers and social media platforms to gain special access to public data. This is done after going through extensive reviews to ensure your private data is not accessed and personally identifiable information is not extracted and available.

How is data obtained from these sources?

Data is primarily obtained through data partnerships with companies such as GNIP (Twitter data provider), Facebook, Google, and many other sources. In addition to this, Circus Social has proprietary data crawlers that capture public data on blogs, forums, and websites via RSS feeds or APIs.

How can social listening tools find relevant mentions?

Searching for data in social listening tools such as 20/Twenty is done using keywords. If you want to find out what people are saying about iPhones, simply type in the term “iPhone” and online posts containing this term will appear:

From #iPhone to Apple phone, there are so many ways in which iPhones are discussed, which is why you need to include other relevant keywords when conducting a search. This is called a Boolean query, which is a combination of words and operators. There are a number of operators you can use to make your search term more robust, but these are the most common ones:

Circus Social's Boolean Operator Guide

So how can we improve our search for mentions of iPhone? We can use a Boolean query like this:

iphone OR “#iphone” OR “#iphoneSE” OR “#iphone11” OR “#iphone11pro” OR “#iphone11promax” OR ((apple) AND (phone OR cellphone OR mobile))

By adding a few more keywords and Boolean operators, our search results increased by more than 2,000 mentions:

Searching for keywords on 20/Twenty

We hope that our simple explainer of how social listening works has piqued your interest! Check out the video below to see what else is possible in 20/Twenty.

If you’d like to learn more about the data 20/Twenty can track, feel free to reach out to us by email at insights@circussocial.com or contact us here

Social Listening 101: Why Is It Important?

Social Listening

What is social listening? 

Sounds like something scary? Like your every move is under surveillance and is being listened to? No, no, not at all. This article aims to clear up such misunderstandings and tell you more about social listening, and why it’s important for all businesses – big and small.

Social listening is a form of digital intelligence that tracks publicly available information and conversations in an effort to understand what your consumers’ preferences are. This can be found in various forms (not limited to) such as public online forums, influencer blogs, Facebook comments, news articles, etc. 

Now why is that important?

In 2019, a study reported that there are 3.96 billion people on social media, with each user being active on an average of 9 social platforms. With the current accessibility to the internet and a growing youth population, you can expect an even greater increase (19%) for unique netizen growth. Essentially, you are looking at the world’s largest data group for businesses to tap into for insights and information. 

Here is a generic overview of why social listening is important for your business. (We’ll cover some topics in more detail in our upcoming blog posts – stay tuned for more!)

1. Consumer & Audience Insights

Surveys, focus groups, and feedback forms are great ways to obtain consumer feedback… But what about what they’re saying behind your back? From Twitter to online forums, social media is where most of your consumers’ conversations are taking place. Through social listening, your brand can easily keep track of all these conversations in one dashboard, and uncover what they love, hate, and can’t stop talking about.

The Word Cloud in 20/Twenty is a great way to find out what people are discussing around a topic of interest:

Word Cloud from 20/Twenty - Social Listening Insights

2. Campaign Tracking

There’s no way to prove success unless you can measure it – which is why it is so important to be on top of your campaign performance. CPCs and CTRs may be useful when you are considering digital metrics, but what about the nuanced details that will help ensure the success of your next campaign? Social listening can help answer some of the most important questions about your campaign’s performance, such as:

  • How many people were talking about the campaign?
  • What did people say about the campaign?
  • Did the campaign generate more positive, negative, or neutral sentiments?
  • Which channels were most of the mentions coming from?

3. Competitive Tracking

With competitive analysis and research, one of the most important figures is Share of Voice, to uncover which brand is driving the most conversations. This is the closest way to track market share which makes it critical in assessing your efforts.

One of the many features 20/Twenty offers is the ability to compare the estimated reach, number of mentions, and volume of engagement across different brands. In the chart below, we can see that Chanel has surpassed Dior and Estee Lauder, having a much wider reach and generating the most organic mentions.

Leaderboard & Health Chart in 20/Twenty - Social Listening Insights

4. Industry & Market Trendspotting

Sharing content solely around your brand or products is not enough to keep audiences engaged. Brands are now leveraging on trending content such as the 10 Year Challenge to boost engagement and maintain relevancy with audiences. While most brands play catch up and jump on a trend as it’s peaking, wouldn’t it be more efficient to identify emerging trends before they go viral – keeping your brand ahead of the curve?

While you can pay someone to continually look through social sites and update you with the latest trends and memes, having a social listening tool that updates you on trends that matter will make the content creation process much easier.

For more tips on what trends are worth riding on, check out the trendspotting checklist we curated! Hit 6 out of 10 and you’re good to go.

5. Influencer Opportunities

When it comes to purchasing a product or switching brands, people no longer rely on just advertisements or product reviews. Influencers have become one of the top sources that consumers go to before making a purchasing decision.

If your brand is already engaged with influencers, social listening can help you keep track of the content being shared, and to assess the effectiveness and ROI of each post. Alternatively, if you’re looking for influencers to collaborate with, social listening can identify influential people in your industry who may or may not be talking about your brand or products.

6. Crisis Management & Prevention

From negative reviews to social media blunders, crisis situations like these can make or break a company. Ensuring you have social listening set up is essential to stay on top of negative sentiments about your brand, campaign, or products. After mitigating the issue at hand, you are even able to track the changes of the conversations to ensure everything is handled.

Ultimately, social listening and intelligence can be used in a breadth of situations in order to track and analyse your company’s key objectives. It’s functionality and deep pockets of data can prove invaluable to any company. If you want to find out more, reach out to us at insights@circussocial.com.

What Do You Do When You Can’t Trust Market Research?

Frustration From Market Research

I still recall back in school when we had to sit through surveys, I would blindly fill up the questionnaires because (i) it’s not graded (for me at least) and (ii) it’s boring. I didn’t think it was important at all – I mean, who really cares and takes them seriously, right? Market analysis..phew!

Fast forward 15 years later – That person is me.

As a skeptic who questions the soundness of everything, the workings of market research is a huge conundrum. Businesses are spending huge budgets to back “data-driven” consumer insights, and governments are counting on these findings to craft and implement public policies. But what happens when the data is less accurate than we’d like it to be? Having the privilege of being both a researcher and a consumer, it’s easy to see why many can’t trust market analysis or research, even when it’s conducted by the biggest and most experienced agencies. 

Tradition rarely triumphs.   

Following the great mantra “look inward before looking outward”, let’s start with innate issues that can be regulated by research agencies. From the logistical set up, to research design, agencies have the liberty to control everything. However, the commercial nature of market research makes it challenging for agencies to prioritize sanctity of research over profitability. Case in point – Established agencies are generally slower to innovate because the success of their current business model creates a strong inertia to deviate from.

Having said that, even a foolproof methodology is only half the battle won; you’ll need genuine data to derive credible insights. That’s where most problems arise – Not from the research design, but when researchers fail to see from the lens of a consumer. 

Consumers don’t care about your surveys. 

As a consumer, there isn’t enough skin in the game to want to help businesses improve through  genuine feedback. With competitors aplenty, we can always buy from someone else who already meets our needs, without all the hassle. This is where most researchers get blindsided – Just because you care about the findings doesn’t mean the consumer does.  

One may suggest that incentives give consumers a reason to care, but when was the last time you whole-heartedly completed a survey for cash? Chances are, you rushed through it just for the reward. Aside from concerns around data integrity, the consumer of 2020 is no longer enticed by measly incentives. This is especially true for Millennials, who are now more time-sensitive and digitized than ever before – making it harder to capture their fleeting attention. While not paying attention to Millennials wouldn’t be an issue 15 years ago (since most were still in school), they are now the largest market drivers across the globe. 

Pessimists may view the points above and render market research obsolete with no redeeming factors, but in reality, all you need is a little creativity to break out of the traditional mould in deriving consumer insights. Thanks to the agility of startups and our belief in the potential of social intelligence, the research team at Circus Social has developed a methodology that not only protects the quality of consumer insights, but ensures we understand consumers who matter the most – the Millennials.

Introducing Research@CS. 

What is Research @CS?

Though the industry has been around since the 1930s, a major bulk of the evolution of the market research industry has been dominated by self-reported data. Arduous data collection processes have become a huge obstacle in turnaround, but what’s worse is when this hurdle unknowingly compromises research integrity. With the internet creating a wealth of new data sources, research no longer needs to be confined to the traditional surveys and focus group discussions. Research@CS is the millennial of market research – research redesigned with 360° integration of social listening, gamified surveys and cultural studies.

How does this work?

As with every problem in the history of mankind, there is no perfect solution to answer all your research questions. Surveys concisely relay your questions to the respondents, yet people are incentivised for ingenuity. Focus groups open your eyes to the most unexpected ideas, but how often do you get the best moderators and innovative thinkers in the same room? All methodology comes with its pros and cons, and it is our responsibility to build on the strength and eliminate the noises in each method in order to hear what the consumers really have to say. 

Why is this better?

When we start depending less on tedious self-reported questions and answers, data integrity gets fortified – which in turn assures the credibility of insights. Opinions can rarely get any more truthful than unprompted views on social media, which is why social listening is our preferred method in gathering qualitative insights. By collaborating with partners that have access to communities of Millennials, these questionnaires that come in the form of gamified surveys are no longer a chore, but a fun relief from one’s daily routine.

Thanks to the widespread internet culture, a hefty financial investment and lengthy time commitment are no longer requirements for better insights. Since consumer responses are but a click away, our average study only needs a quarter of the time of traditional research – freeing up more time for stakeholders to strategize using our insights. The cost savings are also unparalleled – a simple research which could easily cost 5-figures, can now be done at a fraction of the price.  

At the end of the day, it boils down to what businesses are trying to get out of their research. Not all organizations wish to make changes, or have the operational capacity to make changes, that are driven by consumer insights; some are solely doing market research as a SOP, while others are down and ready for action. If you are a B2C business looking for direction on decisions, you probably want to start listening to your biggest consumers – because not only do millennials purchase, they influence others to do the same. 

And if you don’t trust market research as it is, Research@CS may just be what you were looking for – the millennial of market research that celebrates the digital age, embraces the short attention span and gives you the actionable, reliable and non incentivised insights that you couldn’t get before.

To find out more about what we do at Research@CS (or maybe have a debate with me on any of the points above), feel free to reach out at jillian.chi@circussocial.com.

Novel Coronavirus COVID-19 Update

Following the raise in DORSCON level from Yellow to Orange on 7th February 2020, netizens’ conversations and sentiments around COVID-19 (formerly known as Novel Coronavirus) have since evolved. As the number of confirmed cases continues to grow, more Singaporeans are voicing their concerns and fears across social media platforms.

Check out Circus Social’s COVID-19 update to get the latest insights into what Singaporeans have been discussing on social media. Here’s a quick look at our online market analysis.

Circus Social COVID-19 Update
Using 20/Twenty, Circus Social analyzed conversations in Singapore from 18th Jan – 5th Feb from Facebook, Instagram, Twiter, Blogs, Forums, Reddit, Q&A sites, Ratings and Reviews, News and many more sources to uncover sentiments around COVID-19

Get Your Social Media Highlights: #ICCCricketWorldCup

Here’s a quick look at all the buzz around the ICC Cricket World Cup!
We’ve have scoured through thousands of conversations to surface some cool social media highlights and insights on the tournament including the hypes, predictions, controversies and themes.

Read on below to get your bite of some social media analysis from our next-gen social intelligence platform, 20/Twenty.

Access the latest social media highlights on the ICC Cricket World Cup now with Circus Social's social media analysis snapshot!

Like what you see? There’s more where that came from!
For more information on social media insights and comprehensive topic/event tracking, contact info@circussocial.com or get in touch here.

Comprehensive Social Media Data from China With 20/Twenty – Weibo, WeChat, YouKu, Baidu, Bilibili & More


Circus Social & 20/Twenty Bring Power To China Data Tracking

Get access to data from the world’s largest online audience – China with 20/Twenty.


With an online growth rate of more than 5% year-on-year, access to social media data from China is no longer a ‘nice-to-have’. It has become a necessity if you want the complete picture of consumers online.


China Data Growing Online Social Media Users
Current and Projected Online User Numbers In China (In Millions)

Image credits: statista.com

In 2018, there were 673.5 million unique social media users recorded in China. Despite Facebook, Twitter and Google being banned in the country, local social media powerhouses such as Tencent Weibo, WeChat and bilibili are innovative, growing rapidly and have surpassed the user numbers of many mainstream platforms. 

With 20/Twenty’s complete and robust tracking across all China platforms, you can stay on top of global conversations and trends.

China Data Platforms covered by Circus Social’s 20/Twenty include, but are not limited to the following –

  • WeChat: More than just the Chinese Facebook
  • Sina Weibo: Twitter of China
  • Tencent QQ: Popular Instant Messaging App
  • Toudou Youku: Youtube of China
  • Baidu Tieba: A Search Engine Forum
  • Douban: Lifestyle Discussion Platform
  • Zhihu: The Quora of China
  • Meituan – Dianping: The Chinese Versions of Yelp
  • Momo: Tinder of China
  • Meitu: From the Creators of Meipai

20/Twenty Brings You Real-Time Access To China Platforms - Baidu, Youku, Tencent, Weixin, WeChat and so many more

  • Tom Ford & Chanel – Tapping Into the Newly Recognized & Growing Male Beauty Market in China


    Beauty and cosmetic top players such as Tom Ford and Chanel have aptly leveraged social media insights and social trends to build success around the sale of their products. They have achieved this by tapping into consumer needs identified through online conversations analysis, mining and subsequent research.

    Growing Social Trends Cosmetic Male Market In ChinaChina’s hottest lipstick influencer – Li Jiaqi, known as ‘Lipstick Brother’, says that the demand for male beauty is not being met.
    Image credits: jingdaily.com

    Tmall, China’s largest B2C e-commerce platform recently revealed that the growth rate for men buying beauty products is higher than among women (31% year-on-year growth versus 29%). The Chinese male beauty market continues to outperform those in other countries, with a projected growth of 15.2% over the next 5 years. Compared to a global average of 11%. According to Tmall, we are entering the Chinese ‘Male Beauty Era’. – jingdaily.com

    China - The Largest Male Cosmetics & Beauty Market & Fast GrowingTop 5 largest men’s products market
    Image Credits: Euromonitor (2018)

    With rapid economic growth and improvement in the quality of life and lifestyle across the country, the demand for lifestyle products, including luxury and cosmetics is growing. Such is the case with the newfound growing demand for cosmetics for males.
    Tom Ford with their concealer for men and Chanel’s Boy de Chanel cosmetic range have risen up to meet this new and fast-growing demand with insights from China social media data.

    The main channel that luxury brands are using to tap into these new audiences are KOLs (Key Opinion Leaders/influencers). As such, for this new audience segment of ‘young good looking men’ (known in Chinese as ‘little fresh meat’ 小鲜肉) in the male beauty segment, brands are and have successfully engaged influencers. These include online celebrities such as Fang Junping (an active fashion and cosmetics blogger), Frankie Han (Fashion blogger) etc. These are commonly partnered with, to boost brand presence and engagement with online Chinese audiences.

  • Montblanc – Leveraging Consumer Interests To Boost Product Relevance – Moon Phase
    Montblanc uncovered an insight from studying social conversations and integrated the concept of crystal gazing and the lunar cycle into its brand comms. Audience interest in the moon cycle inspired Montblanc to create a dynamic QR code incorporating different elements of the lunar cycle on WeChat. WeChat users would have to enter their gender and date of birth, which would then generate a depiction of how the users profile associated with the lunar cycle and their identities, connections, side interests and professions. This resulted in Montblanc achieving high levels of engagement and resonance with the Chinese audience for it’s newly launched product.


MontBlanc Leverages Insights From Social Media To Build Brand & Product Relevance
Image credits: jingdaily.com

Trusted by 105+ brands worldwide, we pride ourselves in delivering reliable and comprehensive social data for insights mining at your fingertips.

To learn more about how you can also leverage and get comprehensive access to social media China data today, get in touch with us here or write to us at info@circussocial.com.




Beyond Social Listening: Social Media Data + Other Data Sources = More Insightful Reports

If you’ve visited our blog before, you’ll know that there are several ways that social listening can be leveraged to understand consumer habits, set benchmarks, and track conversations across social media. But did you know that it is also possible to combine other data sources with social data to come up with more robust insights?

At Circus Social, we have been integrating various types of data in our reports for our clients. Read on to know how a social listening agency does it!

#1: Integrating Social Data with Google Search Data

Social chatter is a good indicator that people are interested about a certain topic – but what about topics they don’t necessarily talk about on social media? In some cases, search data can be a stronger proof of interest than buzz volume.

Let’s say you want to discover the top skin care concerns in Singapore. Since it is an embarrassing topic, people may not necessarily talk about acne or psoriasis on Twitter or Instagram. But they are likely to search for solutions for these problems on more ‘private’ search platforms, like Google.

So in this case, search data can indicate interest, but social data can explain qualitatively why people are interested in that particular topic – for example, reasons why acne is a problem for them, products they use to manage their acne, and many explanations.

Search gives you a trigger, Social gives you the reason for the trigger.

So, where exactly can you access Google search data? Trends in Google search volumes are openly available in the Google Trends website. This site analyzes the popularity of search queries in Google across various locations and languages. You can also get search data from the Keyword Planner tool if you have a Google Adwords account. Compared with Google Trends, this tool provides more accurate search volumes (especially if you have a paying account).

More insightful reports - easily done by combining different data sources & social media!
More insightful reports – easily done by combining different data sources & social media!
Popular Use Cases:
  1. Trend Spotting/Tracking – Search data is especially useful for identifying trends because it allows people to search for topics even before they start talking about them and can help indicate when interest for a topic started. Then, social data can be used to look at specific conversation themes about these trends.
  2. Brand Health Tracking – Especially when looked at in comparison with competitors, search data can tell you where your brand stands, specifically in terms of awareness. Social data is a good reference for brand associations and you can also complement this data with related search terms, which can be found in both Google Trends and Adwords Keyword Planner.
  3. Campaign Tracking – Other than looking at increase in social conversations, it helps to see if your campaign had an impact on how much people have searched about your brand on Google.

#2: Using Social Data to Complement Traditional Research Data

We have a number of Market Research Agency partners and they usually ask us to look at social media data to dig deeper into traditional research tracker findings.

Traditional research is often not able to fully explain the ‘whys’ behind findings and numbers a lot of times. Once a study concludes, traditional researchers just need to work with the data that they have. If they have additional questions that need to be answered, they would need to start another study. This is where digital research comes in – because it is possible to pull historical data using social listening tools.

In one of the projects that we did, the Retail Audit and Brand Health Tracker Data showed that a client’s competitor brand had an increase in Market Share and Consumption, despite a decrease in advertising spends. Their Brand Equity score increased including all specific imagery statements (i.e. Love/Taste). What could have caused the increase of this score?

Working together with the Market Research Agency, we were able to identify specific periods when scores increased and looked at social conversations during these periods. After deep-diving into these conversations, we found out that consumers created a new demand occasion for the product which became popular in that country.

More insightful reports - easily done by combining different data sources & social media!
More insightful reports – easily done by combining different data sources & social media!

Popular Use Cases:

  1. Brand Health/Equity Tracking – Market Research can be the basis of qualitative social media data analysis.
  2. Supplementing Qualitative Research – For one of our clients, we found out that online review sites were influential sources of information that affected consumer purchase behavior. Through social listening, we were able to identify which particular websites consumers visited and Qualitative Research explained why people preferred these websites.

#3: Combining Social Data with Sales Data

If traditional research has not been done, social data can often explain movements in sales volumes and provides more in-depth insights. Just take note though, there may be a lag between when people talk or search about a product and when they actually purchase it. Hence, it is best to analyze these data points over a longer duration to really see the correlations between them.

More insightful reports - easily done by combining different data sources & social media!
More insightful reports – easily done by combining different data sources & social media!

Popular Use Cases:

  1. Campaign Tracking – Ideally, campaigns that you launch should have an impact on sales. Aside from the usual metrics analyzed for post-campaign evaluation reports such as reach, impressions, volume of social conversations, social engagements, etc., you may also look at the correlations between these data points and sales data.
  2. Consumer Purchase Behavior Analysis – For some brands, they may notice that sales volumes peak and drop at certain months of the year. These may not necessarily be because of campaigns especially if they are not implemented on a regular basis. Reasons for seasonality in purchase trends can be uncovered by looking at social data alongside sales data.

By no means are these the only data sources that can be integrated with social data (you can also look at website traffic data, digital media performance metrics, among others). The key is to track as much data points as you can and organize your data so you can easily discover correlations whenever you need them.

You’ll never know how much value you can get from your data if you don’t try playing around with it!

Circus Social can help you look at your social, search, sales & many other forms of data to uncover deeper insights – just like how we have helped our clients make sense of theirs!

3 Ways to Leverage on Social Listening for (more) Effective Digital Marketing

As we usher in the Lunar New Year, it’s a good time for us to look back on the 2018’s highs and lows.

Did you achieve the targets and hit the digital marketing and KPI’s you set? If not, are you making the most out of the information you gathered about your consumers and achieving high engagement & association scores linked to your objectives?

Leveraging on social listening to understand consumer habits, benchmark and track conversations can do wonders and perfectly complement your marketing strategy.

Here’s how!

Identify Conversation Themes and Brand Associations

Maintaining brand image and driving positive associations requires a structured plan that is built on consumer insights and spotting opportunities from competitive tracking.

The digital marketing conversation

To do this effectively, we encourage our clients to dive into the conversations that netizens are having and focusing on the key category themes that your brand or competitors are mostly mentioned in. Identify common phrases and emotions to get an idea on what netizens associate your brand with. It could be an emotion or a consumption moment; You’ll be surprised at the type of chatter you can find on social media.

How you can make use of it

By identifying these common conversation themes, you can streamline and optimize your content calendars for various digital channels for an optimal digital marketing strategy. Work with your social media leads or brand ambassadors to map out your communication materials for campaigns that are in line with category conversations.  This allows you to strengthen your brand voice by sharing content linked to existing themes or topics of discussion that your audience is already engaging in.  . Showing your understanding of the key topics that consumers’ discuss and ask about, is important if you want engagement and traction online.

 

Spot popular channels to get targeted/effective reach

Marketing on all social media channels would probably get a lot of reach for your brand, but are you really reaching the audience that matters to you? Are your ad placements and reach numbers converting into leads fast enough? Are they the right channels that are inline with your consumer behavior? If they’re not, then probably you need to rethink about your digital marketing strategy.

Digital marketing today

Why aren’t my reach numbers converting into leads?

Paid media can be a hefty investment so it’s important to target areas that have high traffic and an audience base that talks about relevant topics. For example, if you are marketing electronics to people aged between 21 and 25, then perhaps placing ads and banners on popular E-Commerce sites, might get you a higher click-through-rate as compared to placing it on search engine portals. Determine popular “hang outs” by looking into your consumer online habits (e.g. Do they leave reviews on sites or comment directly on brand ambassadors’ pages? If they are camera-lovers, do they visit Hardwarezone or Nikon Rumours?). You can then focus on these sites for paid media to effectively target your audience.

You might also need to consider the type of content, messaging and communication style per channel to create more relevant content. Think about the types of questions your audience is asking on these channels, the pain points they regularly share, and what types of thought-leadership and educational content you can create to drive organic traffic, or boost your paid media as well. Put out your ears to social listening.

 

Establish Engagement Level Norms during the Year: During Campaigns, and Quiet Periods

“We have to be Always-on!”

That’s something that many of us believe in, but what happens when you are “off ?” Getting traction during periods where your brand does not have a big launch or activation can be a challenge. Instead of aiming to achieve such high traction all the time, establish some engagement norms to identify a healthy traction range for your brand.

Social platforms and digital marketing

What do you mean by a healthy range for engagement?  

Identify the level of engagement that your brand and their biggest competitors typically garner on a weekly or monthly basis. Stay in tune with the online behaviour and patterns of your consumers. This average can serve as a benchmark as to how much traction your brand should be gathering. Deviating too far from it will be an alert for you to re-look your social media engagement strategies and identify opportunities to act. You can even take it one step further by identifying an upper and lower limit of engagement levels to see how much your engagement levels can afford to fluctuate.

Instead of aiming to achieve high traction all the time, establish some engagement norms.

The key takeaway is to understand your audience. Social media intelligence and social listening can tell you a lot on your key target market and provide insights into consumer behaviour. From brand awareness to brand associations, these are just some of the ways that you can make use of social listening to improve your digital marketing strategies. So the question is, have you been listening?

The Hashtag Dilemma

The Hashtag Dilemma – What’s happening with the Instagram API and what you can do to make the most of it

WHAT’S THE INSTAGRAM API UPDATE ALL ABOUT?

Instagram and Facebook have been making several changes to their data streams in recent times in order to administer better user privacy and more supervised control over accounts to ensure their authenticity. The most recent update occurred on the 11th of December 2018.

Hence there are several implications on the availability of Instagram data to third-party applications and data providers, such as 20/Twenty, over the course of this year.

Read on below to get an overview of what these changes are, what they imply and how you can continue to still make the most out of Instagram data with 20/Twenty!

WHAT ARE THESE CHANGES?

Apart from cracking down on fake accounts and making their interface more user focused over the past month, Instagram has continued to keep on track with it’s planned API depreciation (discontinuation of Instagram data available for tracking for apps and data providers via its application interface). All these changes are so that users can have better control over their data and securing their privacy.

Instagram tracking now requires Business Account Authentication
Instagram tracking now requires Business Account Authentication

Here’s a quick look at the changes to the Instagram API from earlier this year to now –

Data Access Type Data Access Availability (Pre-April 2018) Data Access Availability (April 4th 2018) Latest Data Access Availability (Post-April and Dec 11th 2018 Update)
Tracking Posts from Business Accounts Yes Yes Yes
Tracking Hashtags Yes Yes Yes, Limited (Top 30 hashtags for business accounts only)
Tracking engagement data (including the number of likes, comments and shares) Yes Yes, Limited Yes, Limited
Tracking all Post Content (Including Bio, post content, caption) Yes Yes, Limited Yes, Limited
Tracking Posts from Public User Accounts Yes No No
Tracking Posts based on geo-location Yes Yes No
Tracking Follower Lists of Public Authors Yes No No
Visible Data – Author Username Yes No No
Visible Data – Author Gender Yes No No
Ability To Collect Historic Data Yes Yes, Limited Yes, Limited (Past 24 hours only)

Highlights from the latest updates this December that apply to Instagram data via applications and data providers:

  1. Only Instagram Business Accounts will have access to Instagram data and are limited to 30 hashtags per authenticated account
  2. Instagram historic data will only be limited to the last 24 hours
  3. Data from Instagram will no longer carry the following –
    1. Time and Date of Posting
    2. Geo-Location of Posts
    3. Author Usernames
    4. Author Gender
  4. Engagement data per post in the form of likes and comment counts will be limited
  5. Business account and account tracking based on @handles is supported

WHAT DOES THIS MEAN FOR YOU & HOW CAN YOU MAKE THE MOST OF THESE CHANGES ON 20/TWENTY?

Circus Social understands how paramount it is to still be up to date with your campaign, brands, and competition, as well as be able to get to the metrics that matter the most to you.
We have hence rolled out a few measures that require our clients to provide authentication via 20/Twenty at the earliest and make the most of these new changes.

 

  1. NEED FOR IMMEDIATE BUSINESS ACCOUNT AUTHORIZATION

    Convert your Instagram Account Into a Business Account
    Convert your Instagram Account Into a Business Account. Image credits: constantcontact.com

    Current Instagram data access is restricted to allowing data access only via Business Accounts and for a limited number of 30 hashtags per unique account.
    In order for you to continue to get access to Instagram data and view rich insights on our platform, you will be required to provide authentication on 20/Twenty.

    Why does this need authentication and what does it mean?

    1. In order for data providers like 20/Twenty to continue collecting data from Instagram, 20/Twenty users need to provide verification that they allow 20/Twenty to collect data on behalf of your account for the data that matters most to you.
    2. You will need to ensure that you are an Admin of a Facebook page and an Instagram Business page that are linked together to proceed with the authentication.
    3. 20/Twenty will allow for you to get full coverage of the 30 hashtags from public accounts as per Instagram’s guidelines.
    4. Please note that all authorizations shared do not involve the storing and accessing of any personal information or data.

The more Business Accounts you provide authentication with, the more Instagram data you can access.

  1. INSTAGRAM TRACKING – KEEP IT FOCUSED TO YOUR TOP 30 HASHTAGS*

    Choose the top 30 hashtags most relevant to your business to track them.
    Choose the top 30 hashtags most relevant to your business to track them. Image Credits: AllTheRooms.com

With the updated API rules, each unique Instagram Business Account that you provide authorization for, is limited to 30 hashtags for tracking. This is a limit that Instagram has shared to enable a more controlled data-sharing environment.

It poses a few limitations, but also opportunities for brands and Business users to focus on what data truly matters the most.

*However, you can easily change these hashtags every week to ensure you are tracking more at intervals and are not only restricted to a fixed 30 hashtag limit.

To further expand this 30 hashtag list, do authenticate with other unique Business Account pages to get access to more data.

  1. CONTINUED SUPPORT & ANALYSIS

    Circus Social's 20/Twenty provides full support for Instagram
    Circus Social’s 20/Twenty provides full support for Instagram

    Although Instagram has applied a few imitations to the hashtags tracking per Business Account, other features such as below are still available in full and can still be easily accessed on 20/Twenty (This is possible as 20/Twenty is an approved Instagram data provider) :

    1. Tracking all owned Instagram Business page content as well as other Brands Business Posts that you can still track based on @handles you share
    2. All engagement metrics for these Instagram posts
    3. Continued analytics and insights for these Instagram posts
    4. Influencers on Instagram you have partnered with if they also share their authentication on 20/Twenty
    5. You can continue to tag, sort and further analyze Instagram data based on keywords on 20/Twenty

All in all, Circus Social is all geared to help you make the best of these Instagram updates and stay ahead in all your social tracking needs.

Have questions or want to learn more? Simply get in touch with us HERE or write to us at info@circussocial.com. You can also contact your Account Manager for a speedy response.

A New Penguin at Circus Social: My Perspective

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My name is Durga and I have been working at Circus Social for about 4 months now as an Analyst in the Bangalore office. Prior to Circus Social, I worked as a Social Media Analyst at NTT DATA Services (formerly DELL Services).

Circus Social is growing quickly and has many interesting clients across automotive, insurance, government, financial services and other industries. As an Analyst in the research and social listening team, I conduct research and help uncover insights. This valuable, actionable information is presented in the form of social listening reports for our clients. It is an open working environment, where employee suggestions and ideas are always welcome. So far, it has been a great opportunity to apply my knowledge and improve my skills.

Circus Socials’ social listening tool 20/Twenty is powered by the latest technology and tracks multiple social media and news metrics. 20/Twenty’s powerful data capabilities, combined with a simple user View Postinterface helps marketers solve complex business problems.

We have a lot of fun in the Circus Social office and celebrate milestones and special occasions including birthdays.

Team lunches are a regular occurrence! We all have our favorite spots near the office :)
Team lunches are a regular occurrence! We all have our favourite spots near the office 🙂

 

As I was new to Bangalore a few months ago when I joined, the Circus Social team helped me settle in, find a place to stay – and even shared their favourite food spots!

Over the course of the first few weeks, I was taken through various induction programmes, introduced to the team and familiarised with processes.

 

Some of the Circus Social's lady penguins!
Some of the Circus Social’s lady penguins!

 

It has been a great experience working with Circus Social so far and I can’t wait to see what the future holds!