Can Artificial Intelligence Enhance the Social Listener Market

Interesting to say that AI will solve all the world’s problems if the marketer doesn’t understand the market or the customer, how in the fondue would an AI system “know” what do do. Here’s the part I find critical from the Forrester Report as they recognize AI is not just a “talkpoint:

  • Are gunning to incorporate machine learning. Today’s tech landscape is riddled with vendors touting AI capabilities. True AI-enabled solutions aim to mimic humans’ abilities to sense the world around them, reason through this information, and then take appropriate action. (see endnote 5) Social listening platforms “sense” and “think” by applying machine learning — a type of AI — to text and visual data, but their ability to “act” is limited. Features such as anomaly detection and alerting begin to crack the nut and some vendors use deep learning, a form of ML, to tease out complex elements like sentiment and emotion. Brands should be wary of over-exuberant AI promises and understand that social listening platforms still require humans to train the data in a semi-supervised environment before becoming operational.

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In our 2016 Forrester Wave™ evaluation of social listening platforms, we acknowledged that the technology had great potential, but its heyday was still to come. (see endnote 3) We’re still holding our breath in 2018. Despite companies’ eagerness to combine social data with other data sources and apply it to far-reaching use cases, marketing still primarily owns and uses social data in a silo. Client references predominantly combine social listening data with other marketing data such as market research, audience segmentation, and digital ad targeting ( see Figure 1 ). Social listening platforms are actively trying to advance the social intelligence agenda by investing in stronger analytics, deeper tech integrations, machine learning (ML), and products that facilitate cross-enterprise usage. As a result, competitive differentiation comes less from their current tech offerings and more from the ability to provide strategic guidance and drive social intelligence programs across customers’ enterprises.