Could Social Affinity help you figure out the Christmas gift list?

We all know the struggle!

I don’t know a single person that would not stumble with what to give their friends or loved ones for Christmas. While you think you have this year covered, I bet you still have at least that one relative or a friend that is simply impossible to shop for.

Whether the person is your aunt Iris or your little brother Mike, the question is still the same – how do you go about getting the perfect Christmas gift for friends and family? Do you know enough about them?

Surprise, surprise! It is 2015 and the answer lies in technology? Noooooo. Yes! And here I am talking specifically about generating deeper insights about individuals through social affinity.
Almost every action we take today happens in a social environment, so without a doubt, the insights about these actions are highly valuable. What if we could measure not only what people like or follow online, but also what they actually do such as a tweet, create a hashtag, post a video or engage with a fan page?

That type of data would not only showcase multiple aspects of consumer affinity but generally create a better understanding of what the consumer engages with.

How do you track social affinity?

Tracking social affinity data can be an extremely powerful way to understand how any brand relates to consumers’ many interests, such as books, music, sports, websites, celebrities, and many more. Adding this data to the mix of viewing, buying and conversational data will get you as close as it gets to a holistic view of the consumer.

An important factor though is the quality of this data and for that, the engagement needs to be measured from both sides to draw some conclusions. Put simply – it is not enough for me to like you in order for us to have a relationship. It has to be mutual. Thus in the brand world, it is not enough that TOMS fans engage with Adele; enough Adele fans have to engage with TOMS shoes, more than populations average on both sides to make this relationship truly meaningful and actionable. So when such mutual engagement is created the result is intelligence that can filter the noise and surface meaningful relationships.

Getting consumer insight through social affinity will have significant implications for any brand that seeks to deeply understand what the customer wants, needs and will ultimately purchase. Data from things like purchasing history can only take you so far. Knowing your customer as an individual, however, will reveal far more than simply knowing their age, sex and what they previously bought.

But what else can social affinity data do for me?

1. For brands, social affinity data can decide what content or sponsorships to produce for their users. Knowing their users’ mutual affinity between the brand and music, for example, might suggest which music bands to sponsor.

2. Media Buying!!! TV, websites, apps, and much more. For example, knowing that “The Orange is New Black” fans spend more time on Twitter than on Facebook, the show’s marketing team can increase tweets and post more questions that lead to more retweets and replies.

3. Keyword buying. While you might go for the obvious, social affinities can suggest other interests of your customers and give new ideas for keywords. For example, when “Beavis and Butthead” re-launched on MTV, Google suggested keywords for an SEM campaign such as “Mike Judge” (the show’s creator) and “animated show.” Social affinity data suggested that socially activated Beavis fans also loved “Breaking Bad.” Nobody else bid on that keyword, and that meant more reach, relevance, and results. Adding this powerful data to online viewing, buying and social listening data can open up new ways to understand consumer behavior.

So while this type of insight could be used to discover that your aunt Iris would actually love to be taken to the Adele concert, in reality, the implications for brands and retailers are far more valuable than simply alleviating the headache of Christmas shopping.

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