Increasing use of social media listening monitoring will be one of the major marketing and PR trends of 2016.

Marketers often focus on the “talking” side of communication and neglect its listening aspect. That will continue to change in the coming year. A growing number of successful case studies, better monitoring and measurement tools, a more sophisticated understanding of data analytics, and the proven value of online listening in gaining insights into market opinion will prompt more brands to become more diligent in their social media monitoring during 2016.

More marketers will listen to social media conversations and analyze the data to reach strategic decisions, experts predict. Brands will increasingly turn to social listening to resolve customer service issues, locate user-generated content, and better understand their audiences and their needs and wants.

Brands, it is predicted, will also increasingly use media monitoring services for more thorough and timely coverage of blogs, message boards and forums, and the major social media platforms including Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter. Major social media monitoring and measurement services such as Brandwatch, NetBase, Social Studio and CyberAlert are gearing up for substantial growth in 2016. CyberAlert’s new dashboard was recently named the best new measurement technology in 2015 by The Measurement Advisor.

Obtaining Valuable Insights

“The insights gained from social media listening can often be just as valuable as the revenue generated from social media and certainly more valuable than a flippant like from a passive follower,” Davina Rapaport, Pulse and social media manager at Maersk Line, told eConsultancy.

Amir Zonozi, chief strategy officer at Zoomph, predicts higher demand for real-time marketing as brands listen for trending conversations across social media platforms. “Brands will build larger social media and digital teams to keep up with the social listening demands,” he says.

Social media monitoring is a “must have” for social media marketing budgets, says Dina Shuqom of digital marketing agency ParkerWhite, in a Business 2 Community article. By searching for certain keywords, companies can locate specific posts and conversations relevant to their business. A concrete example: A hotel can send its promotion directly to people who tweet that they are stranded at an airport and need a place to stay.

Most companies in 2016 expect to compete based on quality of customer service, not price, according to Adobe’s 2015 Digital Trends report. Experts point out that organizations can better attain superior customer service by utilizing social media monitoring to understand their audiences and provide more personalized marketing.

PR departments are also becoming more tuned to using social media monitoring and measurement services for corporate reputation management and to assess consumer sentiment about corporate messaging and business issues.

Listening Benefits for Nonprofits

Nonprofit organizations will also benefit more from social media listening in 2016, writes Jeanette Russell, marketing director at, on LinkedIn Pulse.

“For nonprofits, what’s exciting about advances in social listening is that data processing is more affordable,” Russell says. “This means that causes can use a proven strategy once reserved for the largest commercial brands.”

Nonprofits have a tremendous opportunity to recruit supporters by encouraging people to reshare their messages and identifying and understanding social media influencers. By accessing the networks of their supporters, nonprofits can increase their reach exponentially.

In 2016, nonprofits will place a priority on listening to and monitoring the content shared by influencers, she predicts. Nonprofits will adopt new workflows designed to continually listen to their audiences, providing then an “always-on” engagement program.

Bottom Line: Growing use of social media monitoring and measurement will be one the major marketing trends of 2016, most experts agree. More powerful, user-friendly tools and greater use of data analytics and social media marketing strategies, such as user-generated content, influencer marketing and personalized marketing, will drive the trend.

This article was originally published on the CyberAlert blog.