Monday, February 29, 2016

Data Analytics Getting More Sophisticated

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Social media guru-ess for Johnson & Johnson’s Digital Center of Excellence, Edlynne Laryea, told ePharma Summmit 2016 attendees Monday that data isn’t a crystal ball or a silver bullet. But the tools exist to do some effective “social listening” today that yield some valuable insights.

First, you can target and find out who your patients, customers and audiences are – at least in a broad way.

Second, you can figure out what you want to show them because a good data analysis will help you figure out what surrounds their issues.

Next, you can find out if you are reaching your customers with a “thumb-stopping” message.

And you can also learn, to a limited degree, what has changed as a result of your message.

“When should you look for insights?” she asked. “At the beginning, during, and at the end.”

Good data analysis takes a lot of upfront work.

“During, too. People forget this. They set it and forget it. But you should optimize (your social media). Which (message) is performing and why? Is your hypothesis correct? What could be better?” Laryea said.

Getting good data from your social media is like finding a needle in a haystack. But social listening, calibrated correctly, can yield useful information. However, it is used incorrectly all the time, she said, like limiting your analysis to how many mentions your messages receive.

In the end, your analytic tools depend on the analysts behind them. Programmers, market research analysts and data scientists are your “howitzer-level tools for social listening.”

There are three eras of social media. The first was based on searching for words. The second was rules-based listening. It is the third era that we are entering where Natural Language Processing (NLP) coupled with machine learning will allow social listening to begin to parse information to a more granular level.

“Build some predictive analytics,” she advises. “Social listening is a hand-raiser. People tend to be polarized. It doesn’t tell you why things happen.”

You want to look to your data to tell you what you don’t know.

“What am I able to do about it. Am I able to do something about it easily. And most importantly, if my competitors had this information, how would they use it to hurt me?”

“Data itself is not an insight,” Laryea said. “Use it as a magnet to find the needle. Understand where to look for social insights and understand the limits of it.”

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