Social media identifies buzz that points to trends in specific geographic areas and topics, but can advancements in analytics produce the insight to really identify increases in search behavior and interest?
Brennan Carlson, VP of strategy at Lyris, called for search terms similar to tweets in microblogging sites like Twitter. He said Google and Twitter offer analytics tools, but can't definitively make the connection through every single click. "You can assume the connection, but we're not quite there yet," he said. "You would need the full firehose from Twitter and API from Google, and then you could build an algorithmic data mining modeling platform that can draw the connections using statistical analysis."
For those keeping score, discussion around jobs consistently generated the highest and the most top-of-mind issue, followed by the economy and healthcare at the 2012 Democratic national convention last week, according to a study released Monday by General Sentiment.
Take, for example, the fact that Bill Clinton generated more social buzz than President Barack Obama. Clinton's mentions rose 1264.1%, racking up 1,322,209 mentions, compared with Obama's 724,545 -- and more than half of the online discussion about all DNC speakers, according to online social buzz tracker General Sentiment.
Although online discussion about Obama grew throughout the convention, peaking Friday at 1,192,077 mentions, his Sentiment fell more than 26% following his acceptance speech.
Julian Castro on Sept. 4 gained 5,922 mentions across social media. The San Antonio mayor went from obscurity to the spotlight when he gave the keynote address and called out Mitt Romney for having "no idea how good he's had it." Not only did the speech gain buzz across social media, but Google worldwide searches rose at a factor of 190% on Sept. 5, compared with all prior searches.
Michelle Obama on Sept. 5 gained 1,350,050 mentions. The speech about her husband pushed up online mentions by 1668.9% from Sept. 4 to 5. Searches on Google rose on Sept. 5, but did not reach an all-time high.
The social discussion about jobs remained strong throughout the end of the convention with a significant jump in online mentions Friday. The President also managed to gain a bump in the polls. The Gallup Tracking Poll shows him ahead by five points, just outside the margin of error. It's difficult to tell whether Obama or the U.S. jobs stats that reported 96,000 jobs were created in the United States last month prompted the spike. The unemployment rate fell to 8.1% from 8.3%, but analysts say that since many people gave up looking for work, they no longer counted as unemployed.
Jobs generated 132,090 social mentions on Sept. 7, followed by the economy at 60,946; healthcare at 21,440; the environment at 12,273; energy at 6,623; and education at 4,468. Overall all topics -- excluding healthcare -- spiked Sept. 7, from Sept. 4.
Closing the loop requires some type of tool that ties social to search to analyze numbers.