IRI and Oracle’s partnership puts social and purchase data side by side

By Adi Menayang

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Social media

Photo: iStock
Photo: iStock
What do consumers think about your packaging? What do consumers think is still lacking from their pantries? Market research company IRI partners up with Oracle to offer answers to these questions by combing through social media.

The term social listening seems to be buzzing around a lot in the industry—describing a method of understanding consumers’ reactions or desires by analyzing data from social media.

“We’re collaborating to bring Oracle’s social data into IRI’s database and analytical solution,”​ Srishti Gupta, President of Media Center of Excellence at IRI told NutraIngredients-USA.

Gupta is talking about a new partnership between the global market research company she works for, IRI​, with database and software technology company Oracle​.

She says the collaboration, which was officially announced earlier this month, will offer its clients the ability to see “not only their purchase data, consumer data, and insights, but also early indicators from social media, all in one platform.”

Breaking the silo: a new spin to old news

“We are going through a huge revolution in terms of the consumer’s journey and where consumers get their information, and where they’re influenced to make decisions,”​ Gupta said. “It’s much broader and fragmented today, not just from traditional media.”

So social media is now a big influence—old news. But according to Gupta, there hasn’t been a lot of efficient ways to present this data to companies. “One of the big reasons for launching this partnership was to provide our clients with all this information on one platform,”​ she said. “Typically what you see is social media analytics as very siloed from overall brand analytics [and] purchase analytics, which is inefficient for clients. So we wanted to give them the opportunity to access Oracle’s social data on one platform.” ​That way, clients won’t need to go into separate systems, but access everything within one view and derive inferences from there. 

“Context is really important when analyzing social media, without the context, the words don’t mean much. We did a lot of research on [Oracle’s] semantic tools, and they come up far superior compared to the others we looked at. It gave us the confidence to bring their data in.” -Srishti Gupta, President of Media Center of Excellence at IRI.

“What has been very exciting, and what our clients have really reacted positively to is the ability to link social data to purchase,” ​Gupta said, adding. “Bringing [the information] all to one platform and being able to tie them together has been really, really important. That hasn’t happened before; clients would say ‘we have a lot of followers on social media,’ but how does that really translate to other factors such as sales, and so on. So this is a huge part of what IRI is doing with social data.”

An answer for many questions

Collected from various social sites (Facebook, Twitter) and blogs, Gupta said the data can show brands what the general populace are saying about their brands, as well as their competitor’s brands.

“It’s an API feed, very flexible and easy to use,” ​Gupta said about Oracle’s data collection interface. “It really depends on the clients’ goals and needs—let’s say a brand launches a new marketing campaign, and they’re interested to know how that’s resonating to consumers. In that particular case, the feed is very specific to that campaign: how consumers are talking about it, what’s resonating and what’s not resonating.”

In many cases, it can be a broader area that is analyzed, such as categories. “Let’s say we zoom into the vitamin category; How do consumers receive vitamins helping them or not?” ​According to Gupta, the protocols and patterns set by Oracle’s Data Cloud API could provide brands the answers to these questions by, to whimsically put it, sending digital miners deep into the vast expanse of the internet to collect any mention of a brand or product, and put it in context.

“Context is really important when analyzing social media,” ​Gupta said. “Without the context, the words don’t mean much. We did a lot of research on [Oracle’s] semantic tools, and they come up far superior compared to the others we looked at. It gave us the confidence to bring their data in.”

Anonymous yet valuable

Gupta assured that data is collected from social media in a manner that respects its user’s privacy. “Social data has significant privacy restrictions that we have to be very, very careful and respectful of. It cannot be attributed back to an individual, but then there is certainly the ability to infer and create a broader segment,” ​Gupta said.

And by using a global platform with diverse users such as social media, IRI and Oracle have a lot of data to collect. For now, this partnership benefits mostly IRI’s US operations, but Gupta assured: “It is certainly in our roadmap to expand [these] capabilities to a global level.”

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