We’ve all said things that have come off the wrong way. It’s one of the shortcomings of the English language. So many words in English are open to interpretation, and leaving things open to interpretation around my house can sometimes mean I wake up on the couch. Whatever it was I said, or failed to say, can take time and communication to sort out. Moving forward, I store the knowledge I glean from conversations with my wife and then never repeat what I said again—or at least I change my verbiage to something that resonates better with her. In doing so, I’ve learned how to communicate more effectively with my wife. Luckily, she’s the understanding sort who allows me to explain myself so I get a chance to apply my newly acquired knowledge. This is an example of interacting directly with one person who already knows and likes me. Now imagine trying to communicate an actionable message to literally millions of people who either do not know you or have a preconceived idea of who you are.

I do a lot of public speaking. I mean a lot. Anyone trying to convey a message to a large group of people in person can tell how well things are going by taking cues from the crowd. Are they fidgeting? Are they engaged and attentive? Did they laugh in the right spots or am I hearing crickets? All these cues, and many more, factor in. A good public speaker knows that not all crowds are the same; each has its own characteristics. As a speaker you have the benefit of immediate feedback from the audience and can act on it to hold their attention and get your message across. Social media does not give you those cues directly, so you have to go get them. That means text mining, which is simply collecting people’s text-based reactions from social media outlets and categorizing and quantifying them. Instead of analyzing a few hundred people with what I can see and hear, I can observe millions of them in thousands of ways.

Predictive publishing means making the right call before the message gets to the crowd. By gathering and correctly applying quantitative data, we can increased the likelihood that social media messages are received with enthusiasm by the targeted market. Predictive publishing looks at social media usage, phrases used, and sentiment as well as other factors to help social managers determine who best to address, what to say, and when and how to reach them. The guess work is taken out entirely, and spray and pray advertising tactics are eliminated.

I’m going to stop picking on my wife now and say that social media advertising is a lot like skipping rocks across a pond. The tossed pebble is your message, while the number of skips you get for your effort is your ROI. If your pebble (your message) is the right size and shape you can skip your rock much further than if you use a large, round rock. What this means is that having the opportunity to better shape your message and direct it to the right market increases your chances of getting redirects and minimizes bounces- or internet users who pop into your site, then right back out again.

Social managers are tossing huge numbers of small rocks into the pond, hoping one skips. The wasted resources associated with “best guesses” and solely instinctual social advertising is staggering. Predictive publishing helps shape your message and allows you to angle it onto the social network pond in such a way that you will get the most skips (reposts) of your effort. What’s more, those messages will drive your target to action.

To learn more about the social predictive publishing features being added to Adobe Social, read here.