SAS Social Media Analytics Product Launch: Initial Thoughts

by Shannon Paul on April 12, 2010

At first glance, the just-launched SAS Social Media Analytics platform looks to be the most comprehensive, in-depth social media monitoring and analytics platform I’ve seen yet, but before I get too excited and discuss all the details, know that this platform is intended to be an enterprise solution.

In other words, if your company isn’t receiving at least 1,000 – 2,000 mentions per month, this platform will likely be too powerful for your needs and way beyond your budget. Beyond initial setup, monthly fees for the platform will run about $5k to $15K per month.

"Influence and Topics" tool in the SAS Social Media Analytics platform

However, I think the advancements contained here are still worth noting for individuals and companies of all size; tools like those contained in the SAS Social Media Analytics platform are growing to help provide more than just data, but real business insight.

You’re Not Wrong, You’re Just Early

PR and marketing measurement expert, Katie Paine had a lot of input into this product as well as Chris Brogan. During this morning’s press conference to launch the product, Katie noted that many of us acting as proponents of social media engagement were just early to the game. To us, the value has always been undeniable even if the available tools fell short of our desire to translate that seemingly intangible value to others in business. The power contained in this new platform means social media for business has finally arrived.

SAS Social Media Analytics Screenshot: Graphs of Mentions by Source

SAS Social Media Analytics Mentions by Source

What makes SAS Social Media Analytics Different?

  1. Emphasis on taxonomy - any company that decides to integrate SAS Social Media Analytics into their business intelligence practice will have a custom integration process with the potential to link to existing CRM analytics i.e. Salesforce as well as other marketing and PR analytics. For example, a customer profile could also show recent comments about the company/product and influence scores in social networks as well as their recent account or purchase activity.
  2. Forecasting – SAS Social Media Analytics will allow companies to do predictive forecasting that will show likely response patterns for sentiment based on hypothetical responses or outreach. Other factors such as seasonality can also be accounted for.
  3. Backtracking – One of the drawbacks to other social media analytics and monitoring tools is the limit on available data. With SAS Social Media Monitoring, up to two years of data is automatically accessible.
  4. Automatic Sentiment Analysis That Actually Works – During the press conference Katie Paine said that human analysis with an 88% accuracy rate is generally accepted as “good”. This automatic analysis built-into the SAS platform has the ability to track sentiment at an accuracy rate of greater than 90%. For anyone who’s spent time tagging sentiment on individual posts, this will come as a great relief. Another very cool feature is that this tool actually has the ability to learn from human input so if you manually tweak posts for sentiment, the tool will actually adapt and learn from your input.
  5. Multi-Language Capabilities – This will only increase in value over time as more companies focus on a global market AND as mobile technology exponentially expands the number of people with Internet access.

Aside from the platform, as a guest at the SAS Global Forum, I have been very impressed with SAS as a company. The evolution of any analytical tool relies heavily on input from early adopters. This company actually awards its customers each year for providing great feedback so my hopes are high for future case studies and industry insights to be gleaned from the in-depth analysis this tool has the potential to deliver.

I’m still here at the Global Forum and I have meetings scheduled this afternoon with some of the SAS leadership. If there are questions you would like me to ask on your behalf, please share them in the comments.

Alex Williams from ReadWriteWeb is also here covering the launch. See his take on the new SAS Social Media Analytics. I’m also looking forward to Wayne Sutton‘s take on this product so I’ll include a link as soon as it goes live. Update: April 13, 2010: Wayne posted some great video footage of SAS CEO Dr. Jim Goodnight talking about cloud computing, iPad, social media analytics and more.

Disclosure: SAS invited me to their SAS Global Forum user event as their guest to attend the launch of SAS Social Media Analytics. They paid my conference registration fees and gave me access to the product for evaluation. They have also promised me a dinner this evening, which I have yet to consume.

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{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

April 12, 2010 Ted Shelton

Are you familiar with Attensity? — I am still unclear on what SAS has done (other than better marketing) that Attensity has not done already a year ago.

Ask JetBlue, Lufthansa, Siemens, Whirlpool what they are using right now — its not SAS (hint: Attensity)


April 13, 2010 Matt

Do either SAS or Attensity have actual customers using their SMA products? I haven’t heard of any companies using either product, just a lot of marketing.


April 13, 2010 Shannon Paul


I had not heard of any customers using Attensity until Ted chimed in up above with some examples.

SAS just launched their product yesterday — which is why I wrote this post. They may have some clients who have been testing the software but I think it may be a little premature for testimonials and case studies ;-)


April 16, 2010 Steve Polilli

Matt, Shannon,

When you have a chance, take a look at this video
It’s from a session at SAS Global Forum and while it’s all interesting, it really gets to the point at the seven-minute mark.


April 12, 2010 Philip Sheldrake

Ted, too early for a full comparison… need to get my hands on both SAS SMA and Attensity… but one thing that sets SAS SMA apart from Attensity is integration with SAS’ other analytical services.

Web analytics to begin with, but they won’t have missed the idea of linking the data together with retail analytics, CRM, BI etc. in the longer-term.

Per my post today (, this marks the start of Awesome Analytical Advantage!


April 12, 2010 Mike Templeton

I caught the live feed a little late this morning, but I did manage to see you asking a few questions. It’s great to see that SAS leaned on some of the industry’s leading practioners to participate in the discussion, instead of relying solely on traditional type media.

Now on to the product. :) From what I’ve learned today (which is admittedly very little), this new product from SAS will be a benefit to the entire industry. While many of us have been
clamoring about the benefits and upside to social media for business, this tool will allow companies to SEE the impact – in terms and context they can understand.

Thanks so much for sharing this review and for attending the Global Forum on what seems like all of “our” behalf. I look forward to learning more about the SAS solution and seeing companies start to leverage it to build better business cases for social business.


April 13, 2010 Shannon Paul

Thanks, Mike — a very thoughtful comment. I agree, it was impressive that SAS tapped people like Katie and Chris to provide input… I also think inviting people outside the mainstream media was a great step, too.

I’m still thinking about all the great conversations and people I was lucky enough to meet thanks to this event.


{ 3 trackbacks }

  • SAS Launches Social Media Analytics for Enterprise Customers | Social Media B2B April 13, 2010
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  • Assimilating SAS Social Media Analytics Application to Create Performance Snaps « VT's Tech Blog September 15, 2011

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