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4 reasons agencies should use social listening

4 reasons agencies should use social listening

How do marketing and communications agencies use social listening to get an edge? We explore how the best agencies can use social listening tools to thrive during challenging times. 

Full report: Download the Agencies Industry Report

4 reasons agencies should use social listening

2020 has been a year of dramatic change. Increasingly, the brands we know and love are being called upon to take a more meaningful part in shaping the world we live in.

More than ever before, agencies need a better way to listen. As we showed in our latest industry report, agencies that use social listening can help their clients create more value, understand their market, and deliver more compelling work. Conversely, agencies that choose to go without are forced to rely on the same old heuristics and instinct alone.

Still not convinced? Here’s four reasons why your agency should invest in social listening today.

1. Finding valuable consumer insights

In today’s hyper-connected world, brands need to be sensitive to their customers’ needs, goals, and opinions.

Case in point: the most talked about theme in our agency report was the interaction between consumer insights and brands. Consumers express the challenges that agencies are positioned to solve, and they’re becoming more vocal than ever.

A conversation cluser graph showing information about advertising agency trends in 2020

Conversation Clusters is a user-friendly data visualization tool that helps you instantly uncover, understand, and visualize the context around any topic at a glance.

Armed with social listening data, agencies can support their clients to build deeper, more meaningful relationships with their customers.

Social listening helps agencies find data points that give them an edge. It could be a solution to a problem in an overlooked demographic, or a new angle on a product to support a creative pitch.

For one agency, it was a clever response to a lockdown craze. By tapping into the overwhelming success of the video game Animal Crossing: New Horizons, Ogilvy Toronto delivered one of the most impactful collaborations of the year. For five days, players were able to trade their turnips - one of the game’s most valuable items - into real food donations (a total of $25,000 worth).

Ultimately, agencies that use social listening to gather consumer insights are better placed to frame their client’s goods and services in a contextually-relevant way.

2. Better measurement

Until the advent of social media, most advertising and communication agencies relied on bottom-line metrics like sales to gauge the effectiveness of their campaigns. While there’s nothing inherently wrong with that, it can be a bit of a blunt instrument.

Today, agencies need more sensitive ways to model and capture the value they create for their clients. Listening carefully to social media gives your agency more control of client campaigns, with instant feedback from multiple touchpoints. It also lets you segment, stratify, and prioritize channels that give the most valuable information necessary.

To start with, for example, you can find a high-level view of the impact of a campaign, hashtag, or talking point with an engagement metric like potential reach. From there, you can dig deeper. The ability to hone in on valuable streams of data from Facebook, Instagram, Twitter (plus a host of offline sources) gives you a comprehensive view of how customers feel about your clients and creative.

Being able to pinpoint who’s saying what and - more importantly - how they feel about your clients, through a solution like sentiment analysis, is a great example of how effective forms of feedback via social listening can help agencies stay proactive. Our industry report found a clear relationship between the positive sentiment for an ad campaign - Nike’s ‘You Can’t Stop Us’ ad - and sentiment for the agency who created it, for example (Wieden+Kennedy).

A topic graph showing the mentions for a nike ad and the agency that created it in 2020

Topic analytics can help you detect connections between topics, giving you a powerful visual way to represent important relationships.

3. Crisis management

Consumers are more vocal than they ever have been. Plus, that voice can be heard everywhere, in real time.

As you would expect, crisis management is a huge part of social listening. Agencies that detect problems when they arise have an edge over their competitors. More importantly, they can protect their clients better.

An effective social listening strategy helps agencies in a whole range of crisis management scenarios. Complaints about faulty products become real-time conversations that address problems, gather information, and rectify negative sentiment. Sudden shifts in public opinion become manageable. Feedback on poorly-received creative becomes a guide to adjust on or, in serious cases, find a new direction.

Ultimately, social listening helps agencies become guardians for the brands they work with. It helps keep clients informed of difficulties they might have missed and provides the information needed to create a measured and informed response, as a team.

4. Competitive intelligence

Our agencies industry report explored the challenges facing the market in 2020. As the pandemic plunges global economies into uncertainty, agencies are increasingly finding new ways to innovate and thrive. Competitive intelligence is one of them. In essence, social listening allows you to tap into the most important conversations people aren’t having about you.

Your competitors have their own systems and strategies for success. Just like you, they’ve invested time and money building them. With social listening, agencies can tap into critical conversations about how and why other brands succeed:

  • What’s driving the virality of a specific campaign?

  • How are brands leveraging specific media to create the biggest impact?

  • How do you benchmark yourself against the market?

With an effective social listening platform, competitive intelligence can be seamlessly embedded in your go-to-market strategy. Without it, your agency will be forced to act without all the information needed to navigate a constantly changing world. And if Darwin taught us anything, it’s that only those organisms who can adapt, survive.

Social listening: vital feedback for agencies everywhere.

Our hearing evolved as a way for us to detect threats, find resources, and communicate with others. And social listening is no different! It’s not about vanity metrics or tracking arbitrary data. It’s about getting feedback from the environment to help you thrive.

To find out more about how social listening can transform your agency, download your free copy of our industry report today.

Full report: Download the Agencies Industry Report