Why is it important to combine Social and Search Listening?

Estimated reading time: 4 minutes

Tis’ the season to be jolly…

Coffee animation with text 'why you should combine social and search listening..."

First things first, what is Social and Search Listening?

Social Listening

The term ‘Social Listening’ can be misleading as it suggests only social networks are involved. TalkWalker coined the phrase ‘conversational intelligence‘, which is a umbrella term for collating and analysing data from a range of sources, including:

  • Social media
  • Blogs and forums
  • News sites
  • Review sites

Search Listening

Search Listening refers to using anonymised search data to see the search trends as a proportion of all searches; on all topics on the search engine at that time and location. The biggest search engine is Google so we typically use Google search data. You can also use google data to find out how people feel by using autosuggestions as Google’s algorithm creates suggestions based on the number of searches they have related to that query. For instance, using search listening to find out ‘problems with [YOUR BRAND]’ or trending ‘wants and needs’ of the public. For more information see our ‘What is Search Listening’ video and blog here >


Google trends

Google Trends normalises search data -each data point is divided by the total searches of the location and time then the results are scaled on a range from 0-100. This allows us to easily make comparisons.

In order to get the most holistic view of your audience and what they want you can combine Social and Search Listening.

As the festivities are coming, ‘festive latte’ will be a great example.

Christmas themed hot chocolate with sprinkles and heart filter with text

What can I do with Social Listening?

In order to use Social Listening to find out what people are talking about; it is a great idea to use Google to find out what the most popular search terms are. That way you have the most comprehensive search query in your Social Listening platform.

So, you want to find out what festive drinks people are talking about and what they like, right? If you looked at Social Listening alone, you’d find themes of flavour, delicious, sweet, taste, enjoy, delicious, love, perfect…

The colour intensity in the ‘Christmas Drink wordcloud’ represents positive sentiment.

Christmas drinks wordcloud for social listening

Related Google Searches

This gives a positive picture that people like festive lattes. You could stop here as this would be enough evidence to either bring out your own festive coffee or produce content about them.

However, if you used Search Listening as well, you’d find out people’s searches paint a slightly different picture.

In this case we can currently see the flavour ‘eggnog’ as the most popular being the 5th highest related topic and growing by 190%. Interestingly, the term ‘calories’ was the 4th highest related topic and more over the ‘calories’ search is also growing by 80%.

Google Trends allows you to see the related topics and queries as well as ‘rising searches’ that are the searches which are growing significantly. Breakout is used instead of a percentage if the growth of the search term exceeds 5000%.

Topics relating to christmas drinks on Google - search listening

What does this tell us?

This indicates people don’t put everything on social media. It would be less socially desirable if they were posting about the concerns over calories. This is not to say that people do not have these conversations on social media but less so as you can see from the evidence in this example. So, if you used both research methods, you’d gain a better understanding on what consumers want in terms of product and or content or a deal with a panini etc.. you get the idea.

This way you can make content and/or products for both audiences. The tasty eggnog latte as well as offering a healthy festive detox tea alternative. Or even try and combine both and have a low sugar festive latte.

Key Takeaways

By using a combination of Social and Search Listening data, you ensure you are catering for the wants and needs that people are seeking. This gives you more confidence in implementing these content ideas.