In this article byÂ Don DeLoach, the difference between structured and unstructured data is explained. And the usefulness of social media analytics, beyond sentiment, is to obtain actionable insight. Actionable insight is obtained from doing investigative analysis – determining what actions need to be taken in order to obtain specific results.
Investigative analysis is the ability to ask a series of quickly changing questions to figure why something did or did not happen, and moving from something like “what do customers feel about my brand” to “how can I increase sales from returning customers?”
By using investigative analytics, a pharmaceutical company that suspected a problem with one of its products could drill into its social media data to determine what exactly is being said about the product, and at which locations, to see if there are patterns. Similarly, through the power of investigative analytics, health-care organizations and government agencies could determine if the clustered outbreaks of a disease or illness indicate whether health-care professionals in a certain territory need more support or training.Â NPR recently reportedÂ on University of Rochester computer scientist Henry Kuatz and his student, who are â€œminingâ€ twitter data to spot the spread of contagious diseases in city neighborhoods. If successful, this research could enable early detection of outbreaks, rather than waiting for people to show up at hospitals or doctorsâ€™ offices.