The Social Media Intelligence Blog

Insights on social media intelligence, marketing, and consumer insight

2018 in Review: Analyzing Billions of Online Posts with Social Listening

By Derek Franks  •  January 8, 2019

Using social listening and market research analysis, uncover the top brands, people, topics, interests, and emojis, as well as sentiment analysis for countries and U.S markets

2018 in Review: Analyzing Billions of Online Posts with Social Listening

Posted by: Derek Franks on January 8, 2019

2018 Year in Review social sharetitle GIF


Time to bid 2018 adieu.


As we reign in a new a year, it’s important for brands and business teams to shift gears and turn their top focus to getting to know customers and consumers, their changing preferences and buying behaviors, and the evolution within various industries.

We can talk all day about how important this research is. But that isn’t the goal of this article.

Instead, we’re going to do something fun. We’re going to take a look back at 2018 and find the most intriguing insights about this crazy social world and help you prepare for the year ahead.


Consider this your starter kit for getting in the right direction with your consumer research efforts in 2019.

Who are the most discussed brands, products and people across the entire social web? What are all online audiences top interests? Which channel do people most often express an intent to purchase?

GEN Z REPORT: Get the Ultimate Guide to Gen Z Personas

Ahead, you’ll see analysis of any crazy type of stat and comparison you can think of-- from the world’s happiest countries to the most used emojis. (Stay tuned to the end where we analyze the top moments and top stories of 2018.)


This is the story of the billions of online voices that impacted (and nearly broke) the internet in 2018:

How to Find the Data With Social Listening

There’s no better way for brand and agency teams to research and understand their consumers than by using social listening to analyze the massive universe of online conversations.

Social listening tools like Infegy Atlas leverage natural language understanding and text analytics technology to analyze and measure the billions of online consumer voices and bring researchers understanding and context around those conversations.

The great thing about this technology is that we can research consumer voices with or without a query.

So, if Nike wanted to know what audiences thought of their Colin Kaepernick campaign last year, they could type search queries relevant to their campaign to get into the minds of consumers.

But, let’s say a popular soda brand wants to look at the state of Gen-Z audiences as a whole to better understand who those audiences are. They could start with a search within the age-filter in the tool and get insights like sentiment analysis, linguistics and top discussion keywords, most discussed brands, products or influencers and demographics data for that segment all in one dashboard.

The latter is the type of research that enabled us to create this 2018 in Review report.

Below, you’ll find analysis of global audiences from across the web for the year.  You’ll discover key insights on the entire social world that you cannot find anywhere else.

Ready to see how 2018 shaped up? Let’s dive in:

Sentiment of all posts

sentiment analysis of all social media conversations 2018


Sentiment by country

Screen Shot 2019-01-28 at 1.59.41 PM

Most Positive U.S. Markets

sentiment analysis most positive US cities

How did top ad gencies perform for their client brands last year? Click here  for the social insights report!

Top Positive Hashtags

sentiment analysis top positive hashtags 2018

For context, here are the top hashtags from the year prior in 2017:

sentiment analysis top positive hashtags 2017

Top negative hashtags

sentiment analysis top negative hashtags 2018

And here were the top negative hashtags in 2017:

sentiment analysis top negative hashtags 2017


Gender Distribution of Positive, Negative, Neutral Posts


sentiment analysis gender distribution demographics

Age Distribution of Positive, Negative and Neutral Sentiment

sentiment analysis age distribution

Most discussed brands

top brands on social media


Most discussed people

top people mentioned on social media

Top emojis

top emojis 2018 most used emojis

Most discussed interests (specific topics)

These are the top interests for users on the social web, including people's bio's, posts, comments and other engagements:

top interests and topics 2018 social listening data

Top Interests for each channel


  1. Hobbies
  2. Food & Drink
  3. Style & Fashion
  4. Desserts & Baking
  5. Arts & Entertainment
  6. Technology & Computing
  7. Sports
  8. Clothing, Style & Fashion
  9. Health & Fitness
  10. Home & Garden

DOWNLOAD: The Ultimate Guide to Pinterest Audiences



  1. Sports
  2. Hobbies & Interests
  3. Arts & Entertainment
  4. Technology & Computing
  5. Style & Fashion
  6. Food & Drink
  7. Travel
  8. Health & Fitness
  9. Style & Fashion
  10. Automotive


  1. Sports
  2. Arts & Entertainment
  3. Hobbies & Interests
  4. Technology & Computing
  5. Travel
  6. Health & Fitness
  7. Style & Fashion
  8. Food & Drink
  9. Law, Gov't & Politics
  10. Sports-World Soccer


  1. Hobbies & Interests
  2. Sports
  3. Arts & Entertainment
  4. Technology & Computing
  5. Health & Fitness
  6. Style & Fashion
  7. Food & Drink
  8. Society
  9. Travel
  10. Religion and Spirituality


  1. Technology & Computing
  2. Arts & Entertainment
  3. Sports
  4. Hobbies & Interests
  5. Email
  6. Technology & Cell Phones
  7. Health & Fitness
  8. Television
  9.  Books & Literature
  10. Automotive

Sentiment by channel

The sentiment analysis of all posts from each channel measured with social listening:

sentiment analysis by social media channel

Consideration by channel

This shows the social listening analysis of the percentage of total posts that expressed a purchase indicating action, such as purchase intent or acquisition:

consideration themes by social media channel social listening data


Age Distribution by channel

age distribution and audience segments by social media channel

Top emotions

emotion analysis of all social media posts with social listening

Most joyful U.S. markets

People from these cities expressed the most joy emotion in their social and online conversations

saddest U.S. cities Atlas data

Saddest U.S. markets

These are the leading cities for expressing the emotion of sadness in their online posts:

emotion analysis saddest citites


Most angry U.S. markets

These cities expressed the most anger in their online content:

emotion analysis angriest cities

Most trusting U.S. markets

These cities expressed the most trust in their online posts:

emotions analysis social listening must trusting cities


Top Stories of 2018

This shows the social data for the most discussed events, news and stories throughout 2018:

Screen Shot 2018-12-20 at 1.56.54 PM

Top Moments of 2018

This shows the social data for the peak days of conversations about specific events:

 Screen Shot 2018-12-20 at 1.56.40 PM


As the competition to stand out in a crowded world rages on, companies have no choice but to find the most precise data on their business ecosystem. They simply cannot afford to continue on without this kind of research on the people that matter. That’s clear.

Knowing the state of the global online world can help your team prepare for the year ahead, while also giving you new metrics and trends that can help you ask the right questions.

By looking at how people act and interact online, how they express emotions, interests and buying behaviors will provide your team with the appropriate context to market to them, who to engage and where, and will enable you to get into the minds of consumers.

Hopefully, this overview of the entire social world for 2018 gives you an idea of how people interact and helps you see the value in conducting this type of research.

Want to see these insights for your brand or target customers? To see how social listening can help your team, get a free, personalized demo of the highest-rated social listening tool today.

Topics: market research, sentiment analysis, social listening, social listening tools, social listening data, social media analytics

New Call-to-action


Recent Posts

Popular Posts

Get Our Monthly Social Insights Newsletter

Follow Infegy

Receive Updates From Infegy