5 Challenges of Real-time Social Media Analytics http://www.business2community.com/social-media/5-challenges-real-time-social-media-analytics-0949077?_escaped_fragment_=bjdVdR 1. Getting social media metrics to the right people Often, social media is treated like the ugly stepchild within the marketing department and real-time social media analytics are either absent or ignored. Real-time social media analytics creates serious challenges for many organizations. Often, organizations are married to an old paradigm — a vestige of by-gone days when data was hard to get, taking months of data gathering and analysis. These organizations didn’t integrate data gathering into tactical and strategic decision-making because they couldn’t. Incorporating real-time analytics just isn’t possible with their existing bureaucracy. For one thing, real-time analytics requires moving analysts closer to decision-makers and enabling decision-makers with analytic skills for ad hoc data analysis. But, that’s not what most businesses look like. Many decision-makers lack analytics skills necessary for ad hoc analysis. New arrival, Uber, which runs a ride-sharing program that competes with taxi companies and car services, uses real-time analytics to show how people move around a city at any give time, allowing Uber to optimize their customer service. Placing cars nearby reduces competition with local cab companies and real-time analytics provide insights necessary to do that. To do this, Uber uses real-time data to incentivize more drivers to provide services by raising the price of a ride. Others such as Samsung and NASCAR do a great job of providing real-time social media analytics to guide decision-makers. Take a look at this command center NASCAR uses to monitor chatter surrounding their events. 5 Challenges of Real time Social Media Analytics image nascar command center lead photo wide da20c92c76744a02778e793647cdc3d80b8d8fbc s40 c85 lhwbpg2. Visualization Visualizing real-time social media analytics is another key element involved in developing insights that matter. Face it, human beings don’t do a great job of processing long tables of numbers. Notice on NASCAR’s command center, much of the date is displayed visually. Simply displaying values graphically helps in making the kinds of fast interpretations necessary for making decisions with real-time data, but adding more complex algorithms and using models provides deeper insights, especially when visualized. 3. Unstructured data is challenging Unlike the survey data firms are used to dealing with, most (IBM estimates 80%) is unstructured — meaning it consists of words rather than numbers. And, text analytics lags seriously behind numeric analysis. While unstructured data tends to muck-up any kind of analysis, it’s especially challenging in the context of real-time analytics, because you want interpretations IN REAL TIME. Handling text in real time often means using computer-generated translations of the written word. However, no computer can effectively categorize much of what’s written in social media where “bad” might mean bad or it might mean good, depending on context, relationship, and other variables. 4. Increasing signal to noise Social media data is inherently noisy. Reducing noise to even detect signal is challenging — especially in real time. Sure, with enough time, new analytics tools can ferret out the few meaningful comments across various social networks, but few can handle this in realtime. 5. A wait and see attitude Again, businesses are used to a certain operational model that makes real-time social media analytics challenging. For instance, we listed to a presentation by an analyst from NPR. He showed complex A/B testing used to determine the effectiveness of headlines, even whole articles online. As a statistician, he’s concerned about achieving statistical significance in his testing before making decisions. And, that’s great if your talking about putting $100 million into building and marketing a product, but doesn’t make much sense in the fast-paced world of social media.