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Social Listening Versus Search Listening

Social Listening Versus Search Listening

Social Listening Versus Search Listening 

Insights into the way your target audience thinks and feels have always been an important part  of any marketing strategy. In a pre-digital age, companies would host focus groups to try to dive into the minds of their consumers. In today’s digital marketing world, software (known as tools) allows brands to tap into the conversation online. Two different ways to gather this data are social listening and search listening. 


What is Social Listening 

Social listening is the act of gathering data across the internet and social media platforms through tools that help distill that data. Then, an experienced analyst turns that data into actionable insights. 

If you launch a campaign for a new product, for example, you probably want to know how your consumers feel about it. Social listening allows you to gather public posts and comments about your campaign to see what is and what isn’t working. Social listening is a great way to understand your consumers’ pain points, as well as understand the conversation around your industry and your competitors. Brands can look into data for any topic they choose. 

If you’re looking for more guidance on how to get started with social listening, check out our tips on creating a social listening strategy. We also have a free checklist you can download.


What is Search Listening 

Search listening analyzes consumer search data. Social listening looks at what is publicly available, but many people don’t voice their questions, pain points, and concerns online, especially when those queries are related to personal matters, such as medical issues. As Stella Bayles from AnswerThePublic says, “If people are living their best lives on Instagram, they’re living their real lives on Google”. 

There are 3.5 billion searches every day on Google, and 20% of those searches are brand new. If social listening allows brands to tap into the conversation, search social will enable brands to tap into their consumers’ thoughts on any topic they desire. Search listening can be applied to any search engine, not just Google. 

Because search listening looks at what people are curious about, it’s a chance for brands to get ahead of the conversation. This allows brands to have a predictive approach in addition to a reactive approach. 


Google Search Limitations

SEO has utilized this aspect of search engines for some time. Typing in the search bar in an incognito mode outside your usual browser will show you what people are searching for the most in your area. Google imposes limitations on autocomplete predictions. For example, anything related to violence or bigotry is not suggested. Google also made limitations around the previous U.S. election autosuggestions to remove any bias

Leveraging the Data

Like social listening, the data is half the story. Using the search listening data to step into the mind of consumers to understand why they are making these searches will give your brand a better understanding of how and why their pain points and queries need to be addressed. 

If you need help setting up or leveraging data analytics, finding your brand’s voice, or are interested in learning more about how we can help with crisis management and brand reputation, contact us for a free 30-minute consult.


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