Internalisation of research and its impact on social listening projects

ESOMAR’s Global Prices Study 2023 finds that the global median price for social listening projects involving the delivery of data collection, presentation and advanced analytics has been steadily increasing over the years.

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impact on social listening projects

In the Global Prices Study 2023 report, a key finding is the steady increase in the global median price for social listening projects involving data collection, presentation, and advanced analytics. For instance, in 2023, the median price for this type of project is reported to be US$ 26.1K, a significant rise from US$ 16.3 K in 2016. In this article, Sandro Kaulartz and Ushma Kapadia share their insights on the internalisation of research and its impact on the demand for social listening projects. They highlight how this trend creates opportunities for agencies to offer specialised services within the domain of advanced analytics, thus explaining the steady rise in prices.

Sandro’s POV:
The demand for Social Listening, Social Intelligence, and the broader domain of digital consumer insights is witnessing a significant surge across the research industry. Organisations increasingly rely on research agencies and digital boutiques to scale and expand the core use cases for digital consumer insights such as brand health, front-end innovation, and consumer trends.

Larger organisations are investing in building in-house capabilities to scale the utilisation of unsolicited digital consumer insights. These resources are mostly designed for speed and high standardisation on a global scale, enabling real-time insights and swift responses to market dynamics. Despite these efforts, resource gaps often arise during peak periods, and leading organisations seek support from research agencies for more specialised services like custom data science, predictive modelling, and strategic insights. To effectively bridge these resource and expertise gaps, organisations bridge and enhance their in-house capabilities by establishing strategic partnerships with external research agencies and consulting firms.

Ushma’s POV:
Over the past decade, Social Media Analytics (SMA) has evolved beyond legacy use cases of crisis monitoring and Brand-building to Consumer Insights.

Large, global brands have indeed begun in-source Social Listening and have set up in-house teams to mine Social data for Consumer Insights. However, Social Data mining is complex, multi-layered and skill-intensive. It involves defining objectives clearly, selecting appropriate data sources to mine from, optimising queries to fetch a relevant dataset (which could run into millions of data points), cleaning noise, and structuring & analysing the dataset to create a relevant & compelling narrative. Moreover, to arrive at rich insights, we also need to use a combination of Artificial and Human Intelligence and deploy a wide range of digital data sources (including Social Media, Search, Reviews and Images) to uncover customer and market opportunities.

Small and Medium-sized brands may not be able to afford investments in building such expertise.

All in all, despite in-sourcing, the demand for Social Listening has only increased. As more and more brands go digital, this demand is set to rise even further. As with any vibrant industry, Social Listening has transitioned from 'commoditisation' to the 'specialisation' phase. This means plain-vanilla, legacy Social Listening has become cheaper. On the other hand, brands are willing to pay a premium for value-added Social Listening, leading to strong analytics insights. This opportunity has led Insights & Consulting agencies to up their game by developing offerings that deliver 'Social Layering' or 'Social Leveraging' to become indispensable partners to brands.”

Are you curious about your agency’s prices compared to the median prices at global, regional, and local levels? Head to ESOMAR’s Global Prices Study 2023 to download the report and the data tool to benchmark your agency’s prices!

The report also includes relevant topics for the industry, such as the cost of a standalone F2F/virtual presentation, the choice of data collection methodologies, and the evolution of professional tariffs, along with opinions of industry experts. A must-read for both suppliers and buyers in the industry, available on the ESOMAR website.