What Makes Citibeats Unique: Social Understanding vs. Traditional Survey Methods

Citibeats Platform on a laptop on a wooden desk

[Disclaimer: In a previous article, we analyzed the differences between social listening and social understanding tools, such as the Citibeats platform. Being this an analysis of the differences between social understanding tools and traditional survey methods, we have decided to leave almost unchanged those sections describing Citibeats’ technology.]

While social understanding tools continuously gather real-time data to interpret societal narratives and generate actionable insights, traditional survey methods analyze digital conversations and statistics collected during a specific timeline.

For instance, the Citibeats platform utilizes social understanding technology to gather unstructured data from social media commentary, blog posts, forum discussions, and more, intelligently organizing all this into meaningful insights about populational concerns and the prevalence of given topics, from sustainability to social risk. By monitoring these evolving, region-specific insights on a streamlined web dashboard, organizations can be empowered to maintain a real-time understanding of specific challenges and trends, as well as inform better decisions and proactive mitigation strategies.

Social understanding works with Big Data (or “organic data”) to measure the “what,” while surveys provide insights on opinions and attitudes—possibly with more granularity (think about demographics, for instance)—and highlight correlations and trends. However, traditional surveys do not provide a deep analysis of other connected subjects.

Social understanding technology shares more in common with surveys than so-called social listening tools." When utilized together, they can contribute to a comprehensive analysis of a particular social phenomenon at the macro level. Although the two methods do not provide the same in-depth insights yet, they do offer complementary analyses of the same reality from different perspectives.

Social Understanding vs. Traditional Survey Methods

Social understanding platforms such as Citibeats serve a people-oriented purpose, aimed at positively impacting society by interpreting real-time societal changes, public opinions, and conversations to deduce macro- and micro-narratives. Traditional survey methods are more opinion-oriented, collecting data at a local level and analyzing public perceptions and attitudes in a more circumscribed way. 

While this conventional method analyzes digital conversations throughout a very specific period of time, offering insights related to that concrete historical moment, social understanding tools interpret micro- and macro-narratives and public opinions historically, and in real time.

From purpose and bias mitigation to reporting methods and data sources, numerous aspects distinguish the two tools.


Citibeats Social Understanding

Traditional Survey Methods


Perceptions- & Opinions-Oriented


(Understand Social Changes With
an Ethical Purpose by Letting People Express Themselves and Analyze the Outcome)


Statistical Approach
(Listen to People’s Opinions & Perceptions With a Statistical Purpose)

Monitors Micro- & Macro-Narratives Based on Content in Real Time

Monitors Micro-Narratives Based on
Questions Collected During a Specific Period of Time

Self-Learning Categories

Keyword-Related Categories

Interactive Reports Created Inside the Platform (Private & Safe)

Quantitative Report

Evolutive Learning From a Few Seed Words

Snapshot on a Restricted Time Window

Focused on Big Data

Focused on More Granular Data

Open-Text on Various Topics With Bias Mitigation

Tailored Questions Potentially Adding Bias into the Analysis

Complex Datasets From Millions of Data Sources Reflecting Constantly Evolving Societal Changes in Real Time

More Homogenous Datasets Focused on Predefined Questions Delivering Models on a Smaller Scale



Multilingual Intent Detectors

Utilizing natural language processing (NLP) and machine learning (ML) technology, Citibeats fields large quantities of unstructured data to generate real-time analyses of complex issues. The language-agnostic platform includes voices often ignored by traditional research, transforming gathered opinions into actionable insights. Citibeats’ multilingual intent detectors detect possible concrete linguistic acts of speech used in collected information and interpret micro- and macro-narratives in real time, structuring data based on context, not only keywords.

By contrast, conventional approaches are designed to answer specific questions, collecting citizens’ conversations in a more limited coverage capacity in terms of space, time, groups, and subgroups.

Detects Early Warning Signs, Quickly

For the past four years, Citibeats has empowered large organizations and governments to make better decisions, and collaborated with skilled field experts to meticulously craft our Sustainability and Social Risk Monitors to proactively detect early warning signs.

Although some AI tech companies might feature large-scale technology offerings, they tend to demand substantial investments of funds and time when creating projects. By contrast, the Citibeats platform generates actionable insights within minutes. With full visibility across various geographical regions, the platform efficiently provides language-agnostic insights in a cost-effective manner.

Self-Learning Categories

Through self-learning technology, Citibeats provides governments and organizations with up-to-date information through machine learning. The platform essentially trains itself to ‘fill in the blanks,’ and draw conclusions or find patterns about gathered information. When the algorithm receives more data, Citibeats learns new associative relationships and patterns between words, contexts, and defined categories, generating improved, more precise analyses, daily. 

Surveys, on the other hand, provide a more static picture of citizens’ opinions based on pre-established categories that do not evolve or self-learn over time.

Customizable Social Indexes

Citibeats enables world leaders to actively address quality of life issues such as inflation, discomfort, polarization, and more, by honing in on customized social indexes within population clusters. This capability enables users to filter insights about specific issues, distilling trends within the dashboard for more individual analysis. 

Given its statistical focus, surveys are not capable of customizing such indexes. 

Interactive Reports to Monitor Societal Changes Over Time & in Real Time

Citibeats additionally seeks to locate changes in societal trends or outliers within a range of collected data, and creates accessible and interactive reports within its platform to protect safety and privacy. This is yet another unique characteristic setting the technology apart from conventional options, with quantitative and statistical reports that are spread over time in a discrete way, providing greater detail over time and in real time.

Evolutive Learning From a Few Seed Words

The intelligent, self-learning process of social understanding tools begins by associating one word with a few, basic seed words. Following the initial learning, the platform automatically develops a better understanding of related words with similar meanings and context, similar to the ‘fill in the blanks’ process of self learning. 

For instance, when learning the word “mobility,” Citibeats initially associates similar terminology such as “truck,” “car,” and “train.” Then, automated machine learning technology continues the process, independently evolving to associate additional related words with “mobility,” such as “electric vehicle,” “lorry,” “flights,” “transportation,” “station,” “airplane,” “airport,” and many more.

Surveys, by comparison, lack this evolutive learning process. They usually rely on concrete and specific questions that could demand a lot of set-up time for an extensive questionnaire. 

Citibeats can follow up on any trends without the need to create large surveys, relying on its capability to deliver a thorough analysis and starting from a few inputs—thus, saving time and effort. 

The Advantages of the Citibeats Platform

Compared to focus groups and other traditional methods, Citibeats uniquely generates unparalleled, real-time analyses and insights, utilizing technology designed to reduce biases and create better results.

Actionable Insights, 90 Days Faster

Citibeats’ technology generates actionable insights 90 days faster than traditional methods such as Gallup, for example. While conventional survey results are confined to specific timeframes, Citibeats insights encompass longer periods—enabling visibility into constant, daily data updates, and empowering clients to respond to real-time trends and create positive impacts.

In contrast with the oftentimes limited results of time-consuming focus groups or surveys, this cutting-edge software is a welcome alternative, facilitating necessary feedback before it is too late.

Citibeats’ AI technology detects topic fluctuations in real time so decision-makers can proactively mitigate risks before they manifest into negative community impacts.

Utilizing daily conversational analyses, world leaders and organizations can thoroughly assess populations’ most pressing issues, compared to the inherent bias resulting from asking questions in surveys. This bottom-up approach unveils public opinions and concerns about starvation, demonstrations, complaints, and so much more. 

Safeguarded and shareable with select team members within the monitor, Citibeats generates private, interactive reports markedly quicker than conventional approaches.

The Citibeats platform unequivocally works for you, seamlessly gathering relevant datasets from evolving societal trends in an efficient, affordable manner, and empowering you to make the best decisions for your community’s specific needs.

Citibeats leverages ethical AI for social understanding, gathering and analyzing real-time unstructured data from social media comments, blog posts, forums, and more. Our Sustainability and Social Risk Monitors shed light on millions of developing real-time conversations, facilitating organizations with actionable insights to contextualize changes.

Schedule a demo today to learn more.