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Social Listening

Why the Pandemic Is Sparking New Use Cases for an Underutilized Tool

About This Report
Social listening is helping businesses take the pulse of their consumers and make faster marketing decisions during the pandemic. It’s still not a perfect analytics tool, but right now the benefits outweigh the drawbacks.
Table of Contents

Executive Summary

The changes to everyday life due to COVID-19 are causing a resurgence of interest in social listening. Businesses are using it to understand the evolving consumer mindset, craft appropriate marketing messages, and respond quickly to changing circumstances.

Why has social listening become more important during the pandemic?

Businesses have torn up their normal ways of operating, and they are looking to social media for fast, raw insights. Because consumers are using social media more heavily now, social listening can help marketers keep tabs on real-time trends and audience sentiment.

How are marketers using social listening right now?

They are using it to identify consumer needs, manage organic social media, gauge sentiment, manage crises and develop marketing creative.

How has social listening evolved in the past few years?

It started out as a way to passively track brand mentions and sentiment, but with advanced features such as AI, marketers can get more actionable reports and insights as well as make predictions. The ability to track images has also improved, and it’s gotten easier to incorporate social listening insights into other analytics.

What still holds social listening back?

It’s still heavily reliant on Twitter as a data source. Listening inside of things like Instagram Stories, TikTok and private messaging is difficult or impossible. That means brands can’t use social listening as a single source of truth. They still need to bolster it with other research.

WHAT’S IN THIS REPORT? This report analyzes why marketers are turning to social listening during the pandemic and what they are using it for. It also explores new features and capabilities.

KEY STAT: Half of worldwide marketers have turned to social listening to understand consumers’ changing preferences during the pandemic.

Here’s what’s in the full report


Exportable files for easy reading, analysis and sharing.


Reliable data in simple displays for presentations and quick decision making.

13expert perspectives

Insights from industry and company leaders.

Table of Contents

  1. Executive Summary
  2. Four Reasons Why Social Listening Is Back in Vogue
  3. How Marketers Are Using Social Listening Right Now
  4. Putting It in Context: The State of Social Listening
  1. What’s Next for Social Listening?
  2. Key Takeaways
  3. Insider Intelligence Interviews
  4. Read Next
  1. Sources
  2. Media Gallery

Interviewed for This Report

Julie Hurvitz Aliaga
Senior Vice President, Social Media
Interviewed May 26, 2020
Liz Cole
Vice President and Group Director, Social Strategy
Interviewed May 26, 2020
Simon de Beauregard
Pernod Ricard
Engagement Director, Absolut, Malibu, Kahlúa and Smithworks
Interviewed May 28, 2020
Stephanie Dlugopolski
Johnsonville Sausage
Senior Manager, PR and Social Media
Interviewed June 19, 2020
Mike Dossett
Vice President and Director, Digital Strategy
Interviewed May 21, 2020
Dan Freund
Chief Revenue Officer
Interviewed May 28, 2020
Jamie Gilpin
Sprout Social
Interviewed May 21, 2020
Ross McCormack
Havas Media Group
Director, Social Strategy
Interviewed May 21, 2020
Vijay Renganathan
Vice President, Global Solutions
Interviewed May 20, 2020
Jason Roussos
Senior Vice President, Strategy
Interviewed June 8, 2020
Janie Talerico
Director, Media Strategy
Interviewed June 8, 2020
Mark Viden
CommonSpirit Health
Senior Vice President, Brand
Interviewed June 15, 2020
Brian Wright
Wells Fargo
Social Media Listening and Intelligence Leader
Interviewed June 4, 2020


Debra Aho Williamson


Blake Droesch
Junior Analyst
Jasmine Enberg
Senior Analyst
Natalie McGranahan
Senior Researcher and Taxonomy Manager
Amy Rotondo
Director, US Research
Jillian Ryan
Principal Analyst
Tracy Tang
Senior Researcher
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