return Home

Why data visualisation of social analytics is the next frontier for publishers

Until now, social analytics has been somewhat limited to Twitter Analytics and the like, but experts say there’s more insight to be gained with visualisation tools.

Visualisation can be used in various ways, not just for communication, but also for data exploration, according to Alberto Cairo, Knight Chair in Visual Journalism at the University of Miami’s School of Communication. “There is an insight you can only get if you map the data. If you represent the data numerically or tabularly, you will not be able to see those kinds of things.”

Netlytic visualisation ()

Above: Jessica's Netlytic experiment capturing social conversations on Twitter using the keyword 'magazine'. Data (approx. 10,000 tweets) captured over an hour or two. Visualisation of name network shows all of the conversations about 'magazine'.

Data visualisation can be used in any realm that requires the exploration and the understanding of large amounts of data, Cairo said. “Because, we evolved to be visual creatures. A huge portion of our brains are devoted to the processing of visual information, not to the processing of textual information. So, when we are presented with visual information, our brain immediately begins trying to detect patterns and trends in what we are seeing.

However, when numbers are transformed into visual properties, like height or length, or position on an axis, our brains begin to understand data better, he says.  “The only way you can understand a complex data set is by representing it visually. Once you’re presented with it visually, your brain identifies trends and patterns in the data, which is the first step towards understanding what the data means. Its basically visual exploration.”

Visualisation can include data maps, diagrams, statistical charts, among other things. Visual displays of information let readers see beyond what the bare eye can perceive, transforming tweets, posts, likes, shares – reader engagement – into stories that can be not only shared with a company’s digital team, but also with advertisers.

Tools to chart the analytics of social networks include Google Fusion Tables, Tableau, Power BI, R, Quadrigram, CartoDB and Netlytic.

And, according to Cairo, the tools are easier to use than ever, but they still have a learning curve. “You still need to learn how to use them,” he said. “And the other thing, you need to analyse the data first, or at least be able to manipulate your data to visualise it. Sometimes you visualise it to understand it, to discover what the patterns and trends in the data are.”

So, if we’re wired to look for trends and patterns, what can visualisation of social analytics tell us about audiences? For magazine publishers, one of the challenges of the digital reality is that audiences come to them across platforms.

Visualisation tools can help publishers better understand their audiences and enable them to influence editorial strategy and create targeted opportunities for advertisers. By visualising social analytics data, publishers can extract deeper insight into their audiences on various social platforms and could start building visualisations into strategic decisions.

Allure visualiastion ()

Above: Allure magazine's social engagement, via Twitter, visualised in personal name network with Netlytic.

Visualisation tools include Netlytic, a powerful cloud-based social network analyser that allows users to summarise large amounts of text, mine for data and keywords, and visualise engagement. Netlytic is also useful in that it not only captures thousands of records in real time, but it also condenses and analyses it in a way that is easier to understand.

It was created by Dr. Anatoliy Gruzd, Canada Research Chair in Social Media Data Stewardship and an associate professor at Ryerson University in Toronto. Visualisations, says Gruzd, allows our brains to find patterns and outliers in the data. And, they’ve become increasingly important to make sense of big data.

As an increasing number of audience members come to magazine through social media, tools like Netlytic would be critical for publishers because it is able to show who these individuals are, what they’re engaging about, what topics they’re interested in, and how they’re feeling about it. "The information would be very useful to them, to adjust and refine, to decide what content to feature and what not," Gruzd says.

"Essentially, tools like Netlytic will help publishers fine tune their outreach and marketing strategies to attract a wider audience and understand their current audience. But also, something that is also very important, to show business partners and advertisers the effectiveness of their web presence and social media presences."

Allure and OK visualisation ()

Above: OK! magazine's social engagement via Twitter, visualised with Netlytic. This is one moment in time, one cluster of social interactions, based on who replies to whom or who mentioned whom.

Visualising social data with Netlytic allows publishers to see the most prominent discussions around a topic, whether that is a marketing campaign, a hashtag, a brand or keyword. It is useful for determining moods or themes of Twitterati, (or other social network users). It is able to highlight “influencers” or “brand ambassadors,” who are interacting with content or engaging with the brand.

“Data analytics might also be able to help publishers identify potential readers who are not necessarily talking about their stories at the moment, but who might be interested in their content.”

Gruzd points out that web analytics and web data identifies people who’ve already found your brand.

“But, how do you go about finding people who might be interested in your content and try to engage them, try to connect with them, so they pay attention to you? That’s when you have to go into the wild.”

And by wild, Gruzd means social discussions and platforms that media brands don’t control. He outlines steps to success: finding the relevant audience, running social campaigns, measuring and tracking these campaigns via social analytics programs to identify individuals, and then looking deeper at analytics traffic, to see how they came to your website and how long they spent there.

More like this

Graphiq targets publishers with new data visualisation tools

Download Innovation 2015 chapter: Is data collection, analysis and use in decision-making the single most important thing you can do?

A match made in heaven - data, content, and the transaction marketplace

  • Behind Time magazine covers: a Q&A with DW Pine

    Chronicling the nation’s issues, events and history as it happens, Time magazine shies away from nothing and creates emotional impact in an instant. Time magazine is known for its iconic covers, something D.W. Pine, Time’s creative director, recently called “one of the most iconic pieces of real estate in journalism.”

    14th Jan 2019 Features
  • Rob Ristagno, founder and CEO of Sterling Woods, on the power of membership programmes

    At a time when media companies are seeking to find alternative sources of revenue to advertising, membership programmes have taken centre stage. Over the past couple of years we have seen The New York Times, The Guardian, Politico and others enjoy huge success in monetising readers in this way.

    14th Jan 2019 Features
  • How Thomas Cook resurrected a print magazine that died in 1939

    One of the greatest successes born from the new Thomas Cook Media and Partnerships division within the Thomas Cook travel agency was the rebirth of the printed magazine, The Excursionist, originally founded in 1851. Speaking at FIPP Insider in London, Ed Marr, group head of commercial publishing, media and partnerships at Thomas Cook Group, explained how an integrated multi-channel media offering within the holiday retail company made this possible.

    14th Jan 2019 Features
  • How Beano used data and insight to give digital life to a print brand kids love

    The longest running British children's comic magazine, Beano, has gone through a huge revolution in the past two years transforming itself from a purely print magazine into a global digital platform. At the recent FIPP Insider event in London, Hayley Granston, commercial MD, Beano Studios, UK, explained how they used data and insight to reinvent the iconic British brand for today’s tech savvy kids.

    10th Jan 2019 Features
  • How Italy’s most successful cooking website went multi-platform - all the way to print

    Spinning off a monthly print magazine in 2017 to create an additional revenue stream for Italy’s hugely popular cooking website, Giallo Zafferano, was such a significant success that it sold 2.5 million copies in the first year, says Daniela Cerrato, head of digital product marketing of the Italian magazine division at Mondadori Publishing Group.

    7th Jan 2019 Features
  • Magazine media M&As - what happened in 2018 in review

    In this industry, change is constant. Though, over the last number of years, we've seen increasing numbers of mergers and acquisitions on the media landscape. 2018 was no different, with magazine media marketplaces restructuring, consolidating and diversifying. 

    7th Jan 2019 Features
  • Behind Time magazine covers: a Q&A with DW Pine

    Chronicling the nation’s issues, events and history as it happens, Time magazine shies away from nothing and creates emotional impact in an instant. Time magazine is known for its iconic covers, something D.W. Pine, Time’s creative director, recently called “one of the most iconic pieces of real estate in journalism.”

    14th Jan 2019 Features
  • How Thomas Cook resurrected a print magazine that died in 1939

    One of the greatest successes born from the new Thomas Cook Media and Partnerships division within the Thomas Cook travel agency was the rebirth of the printed magazine, The Excursionist, originally founded in 1851. Speaking at FIPP Insider in London, Ed Marr, group head of commercial publishing, media and partnerships at Thomas Cook Group, explained how an integrated multi-channel media offering within the holiday retail company made this possible.

    14th Jan 2019 Features
  • The Atlantic launches "Unthinkable": 50 Writers. 50 Essays. 50 moments that define the Trump presidency

    As we near the midpoint of the Trump presidency, The Atlantic has cataloged the 50 most norm-bending moments of the administration, analysed by 50 of The Atlantic’s writers and contributors. The digital report, “Unthinkable,” enumerates the incidents that would have been unimaginable under most any previous US president, Republican or Democratic.

    14th Jan 2019 Industry News
Go to Full Site