When you think of “social media data,” what channels do you include? When I talk to marketers tasked with managing information on the social web, they usually talk about Twitter, Facebook, blogs, forums, comments, and probably a bit more. But there  a set of channels commonly missing from this list: ratings and reviews. Most consumer brands have product pages on their website that ask customers for ratings or reviews. Even though these sections create a rich pool of consumer generated content, marketers often treat ratings and reviews as a separate set of data.

That’s why I was interested to see today’s announcement of a partnership between Nielsen and Bazaarvoice. This partnership gives Nielsen the ability to feed Bazaarvoice’s on-site ratings and reviews into its My BuzzMetrics dashboards, integrating the customer feedback channels into the larger scope of social media data. This connection of data sources provides access to a deeper view customers’ opinions — both prompted and unprompted. Earlier this week I chatted with Bazaarvoice's co-founder, Brant Barton about the integration of data sources. He, like I, see this as a natural fit and told me that more and more of his customers have asked for this offering.

Although not all marketers have an immediate need to integrate product ratings and reviews into their Social Intelligence strategies, this partnership is a good indication of the broader use of social media data. As an isolated set of channels, social media serves a great deal of purposes. But by integrating social data with other sources, marketers gain richer insights about their customers.

What it means for Customer Intelligence professionals: It’s time to stop looking at social media data as an isolated series of channels. Start planning out how to integrate social data with broader customer data, marketing data, and web data. If you have ratings and reviews on your site, think about what you can achieve by integrating this data with other public social discussion.

What it means for vendors: Social media monitoring is about more than the traditional social channels. Your customers will soon start pushing for more custom data sources. For example, Clarabridge also pipes in Bazaarvoice ratings and reviews, along with a mass of traditional customer-data channels, to integrate with social media data. More vendors will adopt this practice in the near future.