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Online Trends

Published November 23rd 2012

Listening to Social Media to Predict the X Factor Winner

Here at Brandwatch we’ve decided to turn our hand to a little online palm reading. With just three weeks to go before the X Factor final, we want to see if we can predict the final results.

Even if you’re not ‘totes hooked’ on Rylan Clark, read on; you might just get some ideas for how to use a social media to benchmark and predict your brand’s success.

Want to know your future? Learn from your past

We’ve chosen X Factor to demonstrate how you can use social media data to predict the future because there’s plenty of data we can learn from. When working with social data, benchmarking is paramount – how can I know what good looks like if I haven’t seen bad?

We’ll be studying the last month’s X Factor quarter finalist discussion and comparing it with the five acts that made it through to this stage last year, looking at exactly the same period of the competition.

Buzz volume alone is not enough to predict a winner

If we look at discussion volume each week, we can see that James Arthur is by far in the lead, with his greatest competition for the title coming from boy band Union J.

However, if we look at last year’s buzz from exactly the same point in the competition we can see that the buzz leader then was Amelia Lily (who?!) and Janet Devlin, who was given the boot that very week.

Our eventual winners Little Mix were languishing in third at that point. It looks like Rylan Clark has everything to play for…

But that’s okay; we can look at much more than just volume…

To take this one step further, we took a look at which of the acts from this year and last year were most associated with winning at this stage in the competition.

We looked at anywhere that terms associated with “winning” appeared within 5 words of each of our acts. Furthermore, since we’ve already decided volume doesn’t matter, we’ve worked out each act’s winning buzz as a percentage of their total buzz to make a fair comparison.

The results are in:

Here’s the part where we feel like the show’s presenter, Dermot O’Leary (only taller). When we looked at who was most associated with winning the week before the quarter finals last year, suddenly we see our winners Little Mix at the top and poor old Janet in the relegation zone at the bottom.

In fact, for those of you who don’t remember last year’s running order in perfect detail, this winning buzz chart displays the quarter finalists in exactly the order that they were eliminated from the competition (bottom to top).

Ranking this year’s acts in the same way, it’s looking even more likely that James Arthur is the favourite, but it might not be so close with Union J after all.

Our money is squarely on James Arthur, but we don’t want to rule out Jahmene Douglas just yet. You heard it here first.

So, can you use online buzz to predict the future? So we’ll see you in three weeks to find out, but if we were Louis Walsh, we’d be working on our “gracious loser” face.

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