What’s the Difference Between Social Listening and Social Audience Insights?

Aug 31, 2021 | Audience Intelligence, B2C

When you think about where your target audience frequents most—odds are, social media comes top of mind. Social media usage is astounding. With 3.6 billion active users and an average of 2+ hours of usage a day, it’s an infinite pool of audience insights that continues to grow exponentially as new channels get introduced.

Most marketers would agree that social listening is an integral part of their strategy. But what many don’t realize is that social listening alone is limited and provides a superficial snapshot of your audience. What you’re really looking for is social audience insights.

Social Listening vs. Social Audience Insights

What’s the difference between social listening versus actual audience insights? Let’s take a look at their definitions:

  • Social Listening: A curation of topics and trends that the public is actively engaging with on social media.
  • Social Audience Insights: A holistic view of audience behavior—including declared interests, beliefs, and sentiments—across all of the social platforms they frequent.

Put simply—social listening is simply monitoring audience interests across social media while audience insights deliver a true understanding of who they are.

We’re not here to say that social listening isn’t worthwhile. It certainly is. Staying up on the latest trends is essential to creating engaging content that resonates with your audience. But it’s also important to recognize that simply knowing the trends does not equate to knowing your audience.

Moving Beyond Monitoring To Intelligence

Social audience insights pick up where social listening leaves off and gives marketers a complete download of their consumers by going beyond listening to extracting actionable data.

Whenever consumers interact with social channels, they leave behind valuable behavioral information that helps you to define who they are. A powerful social audience insights platform will help you to stitch together these interactions so that you can achieve the following:

  • Holistic Customer Data: Get a 360-degree view of current customers by overlaying rich social audience insights on top of your first-party data
  • Highly Accurate Persona Development: Feel confident in your persona development by understanding a customer’s self-declared interests, passions, and more
  • Audience Discovery: Uncover new audiences at scale by better understanding your existing customer’s unique attributes
  • Competitor Analysis: Understand key insights about your competitors’ audiences so that you can identify new marketing opportunities and create highly targeted campaigns
  • Market Insights: Enrich your market research and survey data with unique social audience insights
  • Top Influencers: Find your brand’s influencers without relying solely on vanity metrics and start with an audience-first approach to find the individuals with the most impact

Social Audience Insights Check-List

Social audience insights are a game changer for marketers, but only if you have the right platform. If you’re looking to add one to your tech stack, here are some key features to look for:

  • Multi-channel insights: Too many platforms only pull from one social channel (e.g. Twitter). But we know people engage across many platforms so if you’re not capturing that behavior you’ll have major gaps in your audience data. StatSocial can pull from all the major channels (Instagram, Twitter, Twitch, LinkedIn etc.).
  • Identity Resolution: Being able to map social engagement to a specific customer is a must if you want a holistic view. StatSocial’s patented Identity Graph can map 1.3 billion social accounts into 300 million verified individuals and offline identities.
  • Sophisticated Audience Tools: Obtaining audience insights is step 1, but making them actionable is step 2. Make sure your audience insights platform allows you to take action like building segmented audiences, running analyses, and connecting your first-party data with third-party sources to attribute value to your campaigns and measure your return on investment.

Final Thoughts: There’s Listening and Then There’s Hearing

If social listening is the Queen, then social audience insights are the Ace. Social listening grants you an aerial view of trending topics, while social audience insights gives you ground-level access to your audience interests and motivations. Want to see how it works? Let’s chat.


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