Socialytics. I love this word – it perfectly captures what it is — analysis of social media. I’ve only heard it used a couple times but when Michael Fauscette of IDC wrote his post, Socialytics, I decided to investigate it further.

I wondered who plays in this space today. Though there aren’t many, there are more and more social media analysis vendors with solid offerings. In his e-book, The Social Web Analytics eBook 2008, author Phil Sheldrake details 16 of them that responded to his request for interviews.

I then wanted to know more about the types of analytics that might be looked at. I liked the way David Bakken broke down social media data in his post, Social Networking, As Seen by the Economist. He looks at these three dimensions as a way to stratify the levels:

Content: Just what is it that is being talked about. Could be brand or product mentions, could be sentiment. What are people saying?

Source: Who is generating the content? How does the content vary by characteristics of the source. He mentions the difficulty of knowing more about the “who” and suggests companies like Facebook might sell that information as a new source of revenue.

Connectivity: Who is talking to whom? This is probably most about influence and the value of networks — something that has proven very difficult to measure prior to social networking.

(…some time passed, and then…..)

I had this thought:  With many of the social networking companies looking for a viable way to make a sustainable income, why not sell socialytics from their platform to interested parties? They hold the valuable key – the data.

BI vendors would do well to partner with social media analysis companies and call on the likes of Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook to provide this new service as a joint partnership. Not only will all these social conversations create a wealth of data to be managed, they will also require a powerful analysis tool and a presentation layer that is easy to use and understand — something BI vendors are masters at.

Note to BI vendors – socialytics is here. Are you ready?

P.S. As I finish this post I found one vendor already moving forward. Ron Swift from Teradata just put out a timely post, Social Media Marketers Should Get Ahead of the Curve, where he talks about Teradata’s partnership with social media analysis vendors and creating integrated web intelligence (IWI) that combines socialytics with data from the data warehouse creating extremely valuable insight.