New social platform technology produces the best consumer insight ever

Here, we look at how marketers can tap into the big data from social media.

In 2015 there is an estimated 3 billion internet users, 2.1 billion of which are social platform users. Some 47 per cent of internet users are registered to Facebook, one of the many social media platforms created in the last ten years. In that time Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, and many more platforms have been created and research shows even more will enter the market this year.

Based on these statistics, half of the UK population is online and interacting. The social platforms are collecting our vital data like age, sex, likes and dislikes. From a marketing prospective social media breeds a goldmine of consumer information. So how can marketers tap into this big data? What can this form of media do for businesses?


YouTube has over 2 billion users and every day over 4 billion videos are uploaded.

Increasingly businesses are taking to YouTube to add a more interactive and visual aspect to their brands.

A quality video production may cost your business hundreds of pounds so how can you measure return on investment? Via Google Analytics of course, a YouTube partner.

YouTube Analytics can determine the location, age and sex of your audience, when they watch the videos and how they land at the video link. You can delve further and go into the content as well.

You will need to add JavaScript to your videos so it’s best to find a developer to set this up if you’re not sure about what you’re doing. Once done you can track ‘play percentage’, the number of people who click and then play your video until the end, how many people pause or stop the video and at which point.

YouTube tracking is limited to reviewing how successful your footage in terms of views but how does this translate into actual orders? This is where number tracking would help. External systems that track telephone numbers to IP addresses allow companies to define what, where and when consumers have seen their product. For example; add a unique telephone number with a call to action on your YouTube film, unique to the IP address of the viewer. Once the number is called you can trace back the consumer to YouTube and have a log of what they watched, when and even if they watched in full.


Facebook, although one of the oldest social media platforms, it is a bit slower on the uptake in monitoring user behaviour. Only this year did they add the ability for Facebook Ads to have call now buttons allowing users to call direct from their mobile at the tap of a button.

Creation of local adverts with ‘call to action’ telephone numbers is said to be producing ‘more people in your area per dollar spent than with any other kind of advertising, including newspaper or direct mail’, according to Facebook.

Currently you can create an advert in a selected area, assign the telephone number for those enquires and track who calls from the Facebook advert, genius!

If you want data that would be invaluable to a company then it would be worth going a step further and tracking those telephone enquiries with call tracking software.

Call tracking companies like Mediahawk can generate unique numbers to use in your Facebook adverts. When the Facebook user calls that number, you will be able to collect the data about the advert and the person who has called. If you add the call tracking software JavaScript to your website the call tracking software will be able to monitor what pages the user has visited, for how long and even if they are a returning visitor.

Why do we need to know this information? It’s simply to close the loop!

For example; you view a pair of shoes online, the website assigns a unique telephone number to your IP address which will appear on the page. When you are then browsing the net handy reminders of your viewing history pop up on your social media feed. This is retargeting where items you have researched online or sites you have visited insert adverts into your Facebook feed, or along the side bar of your email account. The idea is that by jogging your memory or reminding you of an item you showed an interest in you are more encourage to buy. This pushes you along the buying cycle and if you do choose to buy, click on the page, or call the advertiser they can then track your purchase back. They can see you have bought because you were prompted and they now know successful means of targeting you in the future.

Space tag

This new app from Israel enables users to snap a photo of a location, meal, event etc and then tag their location. These images and tags are then loaded into what is called a Space Tag Universe where other users can see and add to the images.

For a business this is perfect, it’s free advertising from consumers who tag your location and works well if you yourself sign up and tag your business with suitable images.

Users can search an area and find all the fun things to do, see, eat and got to in the area along with a map to find them.

One thing Space Tag does not offer is a means to tracking the consumer. For companies like restaurants, you can track the users coming from Space Tag by uploading content with unique telephone tracking numbers, but this would be a unique number to the platform not each IP address.

This type of application can provide data on your market from which you can segment based on interests and age etc. but in terms of closing the sales loop or moving consumers through the sales funnel Facebook ads is more advanced when used with call tracking systems.


Want to check out the latest financial news online but stopped by the FT pay-wall? Select online publications still insist readers pay subscriptions to view their content but what about if you can pay with your virtual friends?

Sharewall uses social sharing as a currency. The app links to your social accounts and dependant on the number of people in your circles, Sharewall dictates how much ‘free’ content, usually behind a paywall that you can access.

As well as increasing traffic to the shared items pages and also making content more viral, Sharewall also create email newsletters; something a lot of online publications like the Financial Times and The London Times tend not to do.

Sharewall collects data on what its users like to read, the content they share and the friend’s base they have. Email marketing is then created based on these factors making it more targeted. The adverts are created by the vendor, not Sharewall, meaning they can contain tracked telephone numbers, another means of collecting data on the consumer.

For example; the Sharewall user shares a news story on a London restaurant success, they are then emailed an advert with a tracked telephone number for the restaurant they click to call and book. The restaurant tracks the call back to Sharewall and create more content that the user will share with its like-minded social networks.

Ten years on from our first dip into social media it is still gaining following. Forms of social media and sharing content have grown and now more and more platforms for varied media like audio, video and photography have been developed and are very successful. The next step is making more targeted content for the user.

Gina Hutchings is a marketing professional with more than 12 years’ experience in a variety of fields, specialising in B2B marketing activity.

Further reading on digital marketing

Alan Dobie

Alan Dobie

Alan was assistant editor at Vitesse Media Plc (previous owner of before moving on to a content producer role at Reed Business Information. He has over 17 years of experience in the...

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