Companies crunching Twitter data to understand customers

Social media giant working with IBM

Companies are signing up to a service offered by Twitter and IBM to access data from the social media giant in order to get insights about customer churn and sentiment.

The partnership, which was announced in October, led to the commercial launch of Twitter's analytics tool on IBM's Bluemix platform-as-a-service (PaaS) enterprise cloud and big data platform.

IBM GBS senior managing consultant Cathy Reese said that it is looking at ways for telco and media companies to help them prevent customer churn.

“We are using social media data to match that up with their internal customer data. Companies can filter through all the data to get the insights,” she said.

“We are also using Twitter data to help predict when a hail storm is coming and being able to communicate with people via Twitter that they need to go move their car.”

According to Reese, there is demand from financial services and retail companies in Australia for the service.

“They want personality insights as to what type of people they are and the next big offer for that customer based on their social profile.”

Twitter head of data sales Fred Funke said that most of the analytics being done on social media is siloed.

“What our clients haven’t been doing is taking advantage of that [data] and combining it with unique data sets to transform how business decisions are made.”

For example, companies can sign up to access Twitter data any time and look at historical data.

“We are working collaboratively [with IBM] to develop software solutions built on Twitter data,” he said.

According to Falke, the social media site can provide insights into customer pleasure or displeasure and allow companies to be proactive to their needs.

“You might see someone on Twitter complaining about having to move or that their apartment sucks. Weaving real estate information and teaming that with Twitter can give you a better indication of customer flow,” he said.

Follow Hamish Barwick on Twitter: @HamishBarwick

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