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The Social Media Intelligence Blog

Insights on social media intelligence, marketing, and consumer insight

Historical Twitter Data - Why it matters and where to get it

By Rion Martin  •  January 20, 2014

IMAGE BY: JD Hancock

Historical Twitter Data - Why it matters and where to get it

Posted by: Rion Martin on January 20, 2014
Rion Martin
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Historical social media data provides tremendous perspective and context around the subject you’re researching.

From understanding the year-over-year impact of marketing campaigns, how consumer perceptions are shifting, and even defining performance benchmarks and KPIs.

Study the past, if you would define the future. - Confucius

One my favorite examples that demonstrates the value of historical data is how Lexus’ market research firm used five years of social data to uncover why the brand’s long-running December to Remember ad campaigns suddenly started tanking with consumers.

lexus december to rememberNot only did the firm discover what caused the shift but they also leveraged the data to make recommendations on how Lexus could turn things around.

After incorporating these recommendations and running newly themed ads, positive sentiment for the December to Remember ad campaigns increased by 23% year-over-year. Read the case study here

Yet, it’s not just marketing campaign performance that benefits from access to historical tweets, posts, and stories. When researching a brand or subject, it’s often difficult to accurately understand the current state of things without first understanding the past.

Even if benchmarked against industry baselines, sentiment, passion, and volume alone leave a very incomplete picture if looked at for a narrow period of time.

Let’s look at another example. General Mills was interested in examining how shifts in consumer opinions of food components like fat, carbs, and sugar might affect their brands and set out to understand potential risks and opportunities of the associated effects.

sugar health trendsTo do this, their research firm analyzed an audience segment of mothers over the course of several years to determine how attitudes were changing about the sugar content of breakfast cereals, soda, and snacks.

Having multiple years of content allowed them to trend the discussion to see what was growing versus shrinking in importance and for what categories of products. Without being able to go back, the agency would not have been able to spot the trends that had been developing over the course of several years.


Getting access to historical data

There are several ways to get access to historical social media data, and Twitter data in particular.

Infegy Atlas

Provides unlimited access to social media data including Twitter, blogs, forums, and news sites back through 2007 with every account at no extra cost.

A great option if you are doing a lot of research and need the flexibility to have instant, unlimited access to any and all subjects.

Brandwatch

Provides historical Twitter access for an extra fee on top of an existing service agreement. At the time of writing the cost is quite substantial, around $2,000 per query, per year of data.

A good option if you plan to access historical data infrequently and only for a few topics or subjects.

GNIP

The largest provider of social data, will sell access to any Twitter post ever created. Pricing depends on date range and volume and can get expensive, however, stated pricing is no longer available.

A good option for one-off projects where you will be performing your own analysis and just need a dump of the data.

Sifter by Texifter

Provides pricing estimates and licensing information for historical Twitter data.

Another good option for one-off projects where you will be performing your own analysis and just need a dump of the data.


Interested in seeing how historical social data can be leveraged for powerful research? Get a demo of Infegy Atlas

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