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Social media monitoring and design: creating experiences from data

Social media monitoring as a source of useful feedback to understand in what direction product design is oriented, but also extends to other areas.

Social media monitoring as a source of useful feedback to understand in what direction product design is oriented

of Emanuela Zaccone*

In the last few years the emergence of social media monitoring has granted to the analysis of data coming from social media an increasing centrality, both in terms of strategic relevance and in professional terms.

Read the 2019 social statistics for Italy

Thus, if on the one hand it is understood that measuring the actions put in place and listening to what is said about us, our brand and competitors are inalienable actions, on the other hand the need for specialized professional figures in this area that has grown over time. social media monitoring has an important role in areas other than social media marketing. The dual nature of data origin – from directly controlled channels (eg Facebook fan page) and from different sources (eg blogs that talk about the subject of analysis) – has shown that social media monitoring is also an excellent tool for searching user feedback. the principle on which the CRM social network is based, for example: it is no coincidence that more and more companies are using social channels to respond to requests for support and information.

Social media monitoring in different areas

In reality, however, the weight of social media monitoring also extends to other areas. In particular, the contribution of this area to user research for product design should not be overlooked. In fact, in addition to classical methodologies – from questionnaires to A / B testing, through usability tests and more – it would definitely make sense to think of social media monitoring as a valid source of useful feedback to understand in which direction to orient product design. It is worth as much in the design phase of the product as it is during its release. There are at least three aspects to consider in an approach of this kind :


Social media monitoring allows to analyze the behavior of online users and to outline their characteristics, helping us both to identify patterns and to understand what kind of people – with which demographic characteristics – are associated a certain type of behavior and feedback. Of course, this is especially true for social channels on which we have direct control and the ability to access detailed analytics (eg Facebook Insights).


How is my product accepted? What kind of reactions does it elicit? What are the feelings about the product itself? empirically observable as the feedback in case of negative experience is greater, while a positive product experience is mostly hidden, but it must be analyzed in any case.


Also the influencer marketing, more precisely the network analysis tools and therefore the possibility of identifying the influencers, can play an important role in this context.

Social media monitoring and social network analysis have shown the weight that certain users have in influencing the networks of which they are part and in relation to which they are central. The weight of their feedback therefore becomes significant, because it is very likely to orient opinions, perceptions and purchasing decisions of others. At the same time, identifying these subjects in time and involving them in the launch of a product, in the release of new functions or, upstream, in product design, can mean reaching a network of users of our primary interest and in line with the target. At the same time, social network analysis can be useful for discovering groups of users who are neglected at the design stage, but who could be a potential interest group.

Different types of interactions

On the other hand, we must not even fall into the error of believing that anyone who interacts with our brand is necessarily a customer. It can in fact be simply fans and curious, fundamental not to believe that they coincide with the users. Indeed, it would be useful – when possible – to distinguish the two different groups. Feedback, demographic characteristics and behavior of those who are not customers can still provide useful information on the interest around the product.

From social media monitoring to user research

User research is a complex discipline that can generate benefit by integrating social media monitoring as a further dimension of analysis. In fact, the same marketing principle applies to design: users talk about you even when you are not listening. Just like with social media marketing, brands that will make these processes their own and integrate them into existing ones – including product design – will gain a significant competitive advantage. In a hyperconnected world, ignore user feedback as you navigate on sight with the storm rapidly approaching.


1) In recent years, social media monitoring has become increasingly important in marketing strategies, but what is its role in product design? What kind of contribution can it make to user research?

2) Profiling, reception and proximity are the three faces of social media monitoring applied to user research: who are the users who talk about my product? How do they welcome it and what weight do they have in their networks? Are they influencers?

3) The user research for product design must be updated also integrating social media monitoring: in a hyperconnected world it is not possible to ignore user feedback.

* Emanuela Zaccone, Digital Entrepreneur, Co-founder and Social Media Strategist of He has over 7 years of experience as a consultant and lecturer in Social Media Analysis and Strategy for large companies, startups and universities. In 2011 he completed a PhD between the universities of Bologna and Nottingham with a thesis on Social Media Marketing and Social TV.

Social Media Monitoring