On the eve of the World Cup’s most significant final weekend, I sat down with Joe Martin of Adobe’s Digital Index (ADI) team to talk about how he tackles social data collection and analysis to deliver insights through reports and regular social tidbits tied to current events like this one.

Adobe Digital Index Social Emotion Chart

Adobe Digital Index Social Emotion Chart

Adobe Digital Index regularly publishes social insights and predictions on a wide range of topics, including summer movies, the Oscars, holiday shopping, and yearly trends in paid and organic social content; but the World Cup had special significance for Joe. As a longtime soccer player and fan, he knew the event’s passionate global audience could make for record-breaking social engagement. To make sure he could glean the most insightful conclusions and predictions from this engagement, he dug deep on third-party research about the 2010 World Cup social and digital trends, started early so he could look at World Cup buzz compared to other sporting events like the Winter Olympics and Super Bowl, and formulated a sophisticated social listening strategy. Nearly a year in advance of the World Cup, he used Adobe Social’s flexible listening rule builder to set up over fifty listening rules tailored to return the most relevant social conversations. These included listening to the term “World Cup” in 36 languages as well as a few key players likely to drive a lot of social buzz. He set up some of the rules to return results across social networks including Twitter, Facebook, Flickr, Tumblr, Foursquare, Google+, Instagram, and Reddit. But knowing Twitter would be a major player, he set up several Twitter-only rules to take advantage of the platform’s more granular filters, including bios that listed certain home cities or countries and a geo-bounding box for each of the World Cup stadiums.

Adobe Social Buzz Report

Adobe Social Buzz Report

Throughout the tournament he’s adjusted his listening rules in real time to capitalize on emerging news and used filters available in Adobe Social’s Social Buzz report to dig into unusual trends like conversation spikes in certain regions or changes in sentiment. Adobe Social’s new emotion analysis capabilities have been particularly useful, revealing nuanced real-time insight into people’s feelings about World Cup dramas like the early elimination of England and Spain, Uruguayan Luis Suárez’ infamous bite, Brazilian star Neymar’s tournament-ending injury, and Brazil’s subsequent trouncing by Germany in the semi-finals.

Adobe Social Emotion Analysis

Adobe Social Emotion Analysis

ADI’s first World Cup report came out before the first match; it predicted the World Cup would be the most social sporting event ever (which looks likely to pan out given the Brazil-Germany semi-final game was the most discussed sports game ever on Twitter) and delivered insight into the what, where, and who of social buzz leading up to the big event. Stay tuned for next week, when Joe and ADI will release their comprehensive World Cup recap report, which will include social trends along with data on how successful brands were at convincing spectators they were sponsors (even or especially if they weren’t), multi-platform viewing, and advertising.

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