11 Best Practices for Online Consumer Insights

Tips on how to generate better consumer insights

Think about the last time you updated your operating system. No brainer, right? Download. Follow the prompts. What’s the big deal? 6 hours later you couldn’t send an email if you tried really hard…oops. Then the IT person comes in and does a fresh install. 10 minutes later, boom. It’s a brand new box. Knowing the tips, tricks and best practices makes all the difference.

Insight, in a whole new light.

A simple insight can change everything. When a member of your team connects the dots in a way you’ve never seen before, the lights go on all over the place. Something that may never have been in focus becomes the new direction for the entire enterprise. These ‘ah-ha’ moments don’t happen every day, but this blog post aims to help you make them happen more often.

It’s hard to remember the world without Twitter and Facebook. These two giants struck a chord with a billion people and the global conversation began. Suddenly there was more information than there were ways to use it.

Enter artificial intelligence. Many of the functions associated with the human brain can now be performed by machines and, suddenly, self-driving cars are right around the corner. Reasoning, learning, interacting with the environment, problem solving and even creativity are definitely on the menu when you’re working with AI. And now, mega storage and hyper processing have allowed AI to be scaled up in ways that are incredibly useful to businesses. So research results that were once primarily numeric can now benefit from emotive and highly personal information available through online resources. It’s no longer a data game, it’s an insight game.

Artificial intelligence. The Internet meets its match.

The most sophisticated practitioners of this AI evolution are way past the analysis of tweets, conversations, and posts. The source material now includes a much larger universe beyond the social conversation. With AI and machine learning, all kinds of source material can be used to solve business problems and create new insights:

Publicly available data.

By design, the internet is a public venue where people talk about every topic under the sun. Whether these discussions take place in news publications, blogs, forums or review sites, they are a goldmine for people trying to keep their finger on the pulse of consumer preferences and opinions.  

Enterprise-held data.

Of course it’s not just about online data —your internally held information is also part of the equation. Your customer service calls and responses, support tickets and your CRM data all come into play when you’re trying to understand your customers. Combined with online consumer conversations, this privately held data is essential for getting a 360-degree view of your audience.

Broad-based social data.

And of course the virtually infinite amount of information available from Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Reddit and more is there for the asking. And in addition to its sheer volume, the most significant characteristic of social media is that it is all unsolicited, volunteered, and unedited.

All of these sources can be combined with the best in artificial intelligence to turn what was once thought of as social media analytics into online consumer insights. The results are a deeper and more holistic understanding of your consumers and potential buyers.

The Top 11 Tips for Smarter Analysis (A Top 10 List Just Wasn’t Enough!)

1) Go Back – Where are you coming from?

Historical data is a great place to start. Run a brand analysis covering the last 10 years and you’ll see the big trends and pivots that have changed the course of your brand. How has the messaging changed? How has the audience evolved? Have there been notable outside factors that could affect future growth? Be sure and take this snapshot of where you’ve been.

2) Go Wide – The Big Picture Is Priceless

Don’t get too laser focused too soon.You may have a very well considered list of questions. But if  you’re too narrow early in the process you may end up with a self-fulfilling prophecy. Keep your early work wide and valuable insights may well be revealed. If you’re interested in looking at a topic in the last 12 months, why not include the last 3 years to enable historical benchmarking too?

3) Use Templates – Don’t Reinvent the Wheel

For comparative analysis, experienced consultants will always recommend that you take advantage of templates whenever you can. No need to make the same mistakes others have made. Templates are there because they work. You stay disciplined and focused.

4) Quick Search – Context On Command

The Quick Search feature offered in some platforms can be an inspiration. Use this tool to instantly see what’s related to your topic.  It helps with keyword configuration, potential exclusions and recently used hashtags. It’s how to accelerate the overall structure of your project, in minutes.

5) Image Analysis – Artificial Intelligence Meets Instagram

Smartphone cameras and Pinterest are the tip of the iceberg. Barely a moment passes without someone taking a picture. Or a video. And you can see it all for yourself with a simple query. Want to see your product in use? If you’re Nutella, search ‘cake’. Or ‘breakfast’. If you’re Nike, search ‘hike’. Or ‘jogging’. If you’d just like to see how your logo looks in the real world, it’s all there. The images that come back will astound you and inspire you.

6) Benchmarks – How Are You Really Doing?

Taking a snapshot now is the only way to know how you’ll be doing a year from now. Or a week from now. You want to measure the success of a campaign? Or a major re-brand? How about ongoing share of voice? Metrics only have meaning when you can compare them to something. Use a dashboard to keep you on track.

7) Affinities – Who’s Interested In What?

It will surprise no one that people who own luxury cars might be interested in Rolex watches. But it gets really interesting when your customer’s affinities are compared with a competitor’s. If the America’s Cup is on one list, and NASCAR is on the other, you may be on to something.

8) Basic Boolean – Smarter Analysis Is Only an ‘and’ Away

Save time and resources by using primary boolean operators whenever you can. Think of it as a very basic form of artificial intelligence. If you’re Ritz Carlton and you’re looking at customer feedback, try ‘three star reviews on Expedia. Compare that to ‘three star reviews on Yelp. Even better, see how Marriott is doing in those same searches.

9) Recent Trends – Find Insights You May Not Have Thought of Looking For

Crimson’s AI-powered platform surfaces trends for you that you may not have even thought to look for. Use the “Recent Trends” feed for AI powered insights alerting you to things you didn’t know you needed to know! Make it part of your daily routine to check out this trends feed and prioritize your workflow based on the results.

10) Schedule Reports – This Is Not Set It and Forget It

When you’ve structured your analysis and hit ‘go’, things are about to get very interesting. So don’t forget to look at your reports. Weekly/monthly, whatever interval is most helpful, schedule your reports so that you don’t miss a thing.

11) Search Savvy – Http/Https Is Not Your Friend

Leaving out ‘Http/Https’ is one of the best tips ever. It’s an incredibly easy way to exclude most promotional content, ecommerce sellers and other content that is really just noise for your purposes. Real customer opinions usually don’t come with the hypertext transfer protocol attached.

Ultra High Definition Insights, Down to the Pixel.

The ability to intelligently query online resources this large is nothing short of a revolution in research. Online consumer insights are current, accurate, broad based and deep. And because AI connects information in ways you may have never anticipated, online consumer research will yield insights, new directions and exciting opportunities. It’s how to get a pixel perfect image of where your business goes from here.

To learn more about how AI-powered insights can help your business, demo Crimson Hexagon today:

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