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Conversation Analysis vs. Competitive Analysis

Conversation analysis or competitive analysis: Which would you pick?

Adam Schoenfeld
Adam Schoenfeld

Of course, we know social analysis isn’t that simple, and we believe that both these analysis types  are integral parts of a complete social marketing strategy. That’s why we’re hosting a complimentary webinar with our CEO and resident chief data geek Adam Schoenfeld and VP of Edelman Digital Steve Sack on Wednesday, March 18.

Steve Sack

We sat down with both of these data-loving gentlemen recently to discuss their favorite social analyses, and their picks fell squarely into two categories: conversation analysis and competitive analysis.

The answer to my question will surely vary from brand to brand, and even from use case to use case, but read on for some deeper insight as to why both these kinds of analyses matter from the men who use them daily.

Conversation Analysis 

When we initially asked Steve what his favorite social analyses were, he got giddy:

There are so many of them! I want to look at them all, but the one that comes to mind first is conversation volume. When you put the  right queries in, you can identify, across all channels — blogs, social channels — the entire conversation volume around a certain word or phrase.

Steve cites the Oscars as a great example of how powerful this kind of analysis can be for getting an idea of a moment in time. For instance, Steve said, he would want to drill down into  the conversation around the broad term “Oscars,” or more specific terms like “Lady Gaga” and “Sound of Music”:

It’s fascinating to see the size of the conversation taking place. Then, when you slice and dice that conversation even more, you find out where that conversation is taking place and what the sentiment is around it. You start to get an idea of the cultural zeitgeist to a certain degree. There’s a pretty elaborate story that can be told there.

In a separate interview, Adam talked about his own  penchant for conversation analysis, centering more upon learning about the audience involved in the conversation.

I like analyzing the people around a conversation. When  you’re looking at a conversation, you see trends, but you have to drill down and ask yourself: Who are the people that are driving this? Where are they? Doing an analysis of the people who are driving a conversation forward is always interesting, because that can surface some very specific opportunities to target, do outreach, and build an influencer list.

Competitive Analysis 

While his feelings for conversation analysis are decidedly strong, Adam’s favorite kind of social analysis is competitive.

I love understanding my competitors’ strategies, content, and active channels. What’s working? What’s not?  What do my competitor’s audiences look like?  You can do some pretty deep analysis of your competitors’ audiences in comparison with your own. It’s a great opportunity to quickly identify where you differ and use that to construct strategy. Generally, what you’re looking for is an obvious difference, a change, a trend, a spike.

Which Is More Important to You? 

We’re big ol’ data geeks here at Simply Measured. We marinate in both conversation and competitive analysis all the time, but we want to know: do you find yourself gravitating more towards conversation analysis, competitive analysis, or a mix of both? Which do you think is more important?

Let us know in the comments below, and don’t forget to sign up for our webinar next Wednesday, 11 AM PST, when Adam and Steve will walk you through the five essential steps of complete social analysis.


Lucy Hitz

I’m the Head of Marketing Communications here at Simply Measured, where I'm responsible for our content program, social media marketing, PR, and comarketing ventures. I love yoga, The X-Files, peaty scotch, hiking, and poetry. If I were a social media channel, I’d want to be Instagram, but I think I’m Twitter.

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