Bloggers and the death of individualism are a positive for researchers

Whether you took part, attended or missed it, social media week highlighted some interesting insight tools and uses of research. 

Mindi Chahal

Channel 4 and the NHS appeared on a panel to talk about the ‘quantified society’ and the death of individualism, which explains the way actions are recorded and measured everyday in order for people to assess their lives, but also that the value of those measurements comes to light through sharing, so privacy is effectively unsustainable.  

An interesting subject, which could have veered into philosophy. But the debate hosted by marketing agency SapientNitro and the examples given by the NHS and Channel 4 show the uses of sharing and analysing insight. 

Steve Forde, head of viewer relationship at Channel 4 alluded to “the rear view mirror” of data insights and that it shouldn’t be used to play back the same programmes that people have liked and already viewed. The same goes for research: brands need to offer new products and services that audiences will like based on past insight rather than offering more of the same. 

Conversely, insights sit in silos in the NHS, according to its head of open data and transparency, Emma Doyle. GPs, hospitals and healthcare centres do not currently have a way of sharing all the information they get from patients between them. With the quantified society and quantified self trends, most of the research is done by the person themselves, but the issue is getting that shared with the people that can make greater use of it.   

People monitor their sleep, what they eat, their exercise, but moving that from private to public is when it becomes useful to both brands, companies and the individual. The big issue is communicating the value exchange in getting targeted and useful products and consumers giving access to their insights so that this targeting can happen.  

Value exchange was also highlighted in a UK blog report by data mining company Twingly during Social Media Week, as well as the launch of its new blog manager that helps ecommerce managers connect with and market themselves through bloggers.  

Within the last 12 months, nearly 100,000 blogs have linked over 300,000 times to ecommerce sites in the UK, according to the report. Nike is the most mentioned brand by bloggers, followed by Louis Vuitton and Ugg. Amazon.co.uk gets the most links from bloggers, almost seven times as many as number two on the list, ASOS. 

The amount of insights that retailers can gauge from bloggers by researching what people are buying, saying and linking to will no doubt prove to be another route to increase and improve the services they provide. 

Although Social Media Week was hit and miss, if you were following the reactions to events on Twitter, these insights will hopefully be a hit, moving market research forwards, in terms of the ways and means of finding information, which should only serve to influence its importance in brands and companies.  

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