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Will McInnes CMO Brandwatch

What part does social listening play in influencing Agency decisions?

Command centers and social listening were once a concept limited to Sci-Fi films and political rumors. Now you hear about them in day-to-day business conversation, especially in the world of agencies. 

Anyone who has worked in this sector knows that agencies have one main goal: to help their client see an increase in numbers. To accomplish this, agencies seek out processes and services to help them not only reach those figures, but also measure and analyze campaign success. Social media monitoring steps in as the ideal tool. Social listening helps agencies find the actual content and conversation that get clients to achieve those numbers. 

Social listening plays a different role for agencies than it does for brands. Brands are often laser-focused on attracting and retaining customers while agencies prioritize pleasing their clients. Monitoring online content and social media conversations enables agencies to track, analyze, and adjust messaging and investments to better cater to their clients.

Brands listen in a much more stationary and systematic way; think of the old ‘set it and forget’ mantra. Brands will monitor Twitter handles, listen for any customer service opportunities, and occasionally use monitoring for competitive benchmarking. 

 Agencies on the other hand, are a constant machine. 

Instead of listening to what people are tweeting at a brand, PR, advertising, and other agency professionals are engaging in campaign tracking. Ultimately, they are deep listeners. This means they monitor hashtags, videos, and campaigns on social media to gain intelligent insights that fuel smarter business decision-making. Social listening acts as the catalyst when agencies decide whether a campaign is working or whether to kill it. If it’s not viral, if it’s not getting lots of engagement and action within a brand’s social audience, it’s dead in the water. That’s just the way the world works today

Real-time social insights give agencies credibility and confidence when pitching to clients and prospective brands. Demographics of customers uncovered in social listening can largely influence the direction of a company’s messaging and their campaigns. In addition to helping clients learn who their customers and prospects are, social listening reveals how these segments can be reached, what they’re talking about, what they care about, and so much more. 

Consider an agency pitching an ad campaign to be launched around the timing of the Super Bowl. Social Insights from last year’s showdown can easily pinpoint links between chatter on Twitter and the timing of a TV ad. Deeper insight can uncover a spike in interest that is linked to product placement. Learnings and analysis of previous campaigns provide agencies with the social intelligence that helps them find the key elements of a better and bolder campaign.

Social listening continues to be a highly valuable and essential element within the agency decision making process. 

Will McInnes, Brandwatch

Agencies often engage in unbranded listening, or analyzing “white space” conversation. This type of listening is broad, and not necessarily focused on social conversations about a specific brand or competitor, but rather listening to the general industry conversations as a whole - let’s say “digital cameras” instead of social listening for specific mentions of a make and model. This is a great way to uncover vernacular phrases, new media outlets that are covering this topic area, or even unconventional product usage to inspire creative concepts for new campaigns. The majority of social content is, in fact, unbranded and a valuable source of data for social listeners. 

Social listening continues to be a highly valuable and essential element within the agency decision making process. From aiding clients in customer segmentation, tracking campaign success, or just listening to the white space to inspire creativity, social intelligence is here to stay. 

Agency professionals, take note: you must use social listening to maintain an edge and dominate in your field.