The Complete Consumer Behavior Analysis Guide 

Consumer behavior is a mystery at best sometimes, however savvy brands globally are harnessing the power of consumer behavior analysis to guide them in complex decision making.

More specifically, they tend to focus on:

  • Filling Knowledge Gaps
  • Identifying Emerging Trends
  • Voice of Customer Innovations
  • Revealing Emotions & Behavior
  • Connecting with Multiple Segments
  • Keeping Pace with Consumer Values
  • Understanding Performance Impact
  • Enhancing Data Analysis Expertise

And we are going to drill down to show what consumer behavior analysis is and how it looks in action, using our list above as a guide. Why? Well, these statistics give context to the importance of understanding consumer behavior:

  • 95% of purchase decisions are made based on emotion.
  • Seventy-one percent of people prefer purchasing from brands whose values align with their own.
  • 75% of consumer expect a consistent experience across online platforms – and using social intelligence tools will help you keep your team on the same page to provide exactly that!

how to discover market opportunities

What is a Consumer Behavior Analysis?

Consumer behavior analysis is the study of consumers and their behaviors! It doesn’t just tackle what they buy, but also delves in to the why, when, how often, the reasons for purchases – and much more.

So, for example, you may know that a large amount of your consumers are women and they buy your body wash. Consumer behavior analysis would reveal that they buy it for many reasons, including appreciating the biodegradable packing. Or they may think the packaging is misguided, with ingredients that harm the planet. It’s all good to know.

Using social listening, consumer behavior analysis gathers structured and unstructured data, compiling it and segmenting it for rapid investigation by you and anyone in your organization. And it’s important to note that this insight is essential for every part of your operation, from marketing (the usual suspects) to R&D, customer care, finance and operations. Strategic decision-making should flow from this insight, as we’ll see below.

1. Filling Knowledge Gaps

Brands need to put their best foot forward if they’re going to impress and keep clients, and that means eliminating information gaps on whatever you’re researching. It’s imperative to have intel you can trust with markets evolving daily as consumers jump from trend to trend at a moment’s notice. Accurate consumer research saves you valuable time, and it helps brands transform consumer intelligence into competitive intelligence, allowing you to stand taller than the rest.

Lauren Leahy of Viacom used market research tools as a part of her consumer behavior analysis to help communicate to their client that they are at the forefront of new and emerging shifts in a given category.

For example, a quick search in Quid reveals conversations a-plenty for a top toy company. Below, we have discovered outlier clusters (marked in green) that have an unusual amount of engagement when compared to other clusters on our map.


Here, exploring Outlier Clusters, with insights that deviate from those in the overall Toy Brand network conversation we’ve been monitoring, it appears a Star Wars Advent Calendar was very popular. This is great intel, as knowing which toys outside of one’s typical purview (or specific search criteria), are receiving a good number of engagements is key.

2. Identifying Emerging Trends

On average, a person sees between 4K-10K ads per day – all vying for their attention. How do you as a brand stand out? According to Shelina Taki of PMG, you can do this by using consumer behavior analysis to hack the human brain and discover human trends. “No one is born a consumer” she says, “but they’re born human.” And it is the human side of your consumer that drives any brand’s success.

If you can find ways to connect with your audience on deeper level, then you may have a customer for life. And social listening tools can aid you in discovering what these trends in human consumption are. Maybe your next ‘in’ will be found in a TikTok challenge, or maybe you’ll need to become more diverse in your approach. Monitoring social media trends and the corresponding consumer behaviors will help you stay relevant.

3. Voice of Customer (VoC) Innovations

Similar to discovering emerging trends, understanding your consumer’s voice is another part of consumer behavior analysis. Using social listening gives companies the power to not only deliver what their consumer wants, but to understanding the emotions driving these desires.

For example, a customer may love your dish soap, but they may want it in a compostable container. A consumer behavior analysis would uncover this deeply held truth.

Sarah Fogel with 113 Industries uses social listening tools to build topics and themes that extract the needs, wants, loves, hates and wishes of consumers. This allows her to uncover consumer values and articulated needs as well as unarticulated needs, which are revealed by consumer behaviors.

Here, using social analytics tools and applying themes, we’ve pulled personal narratives – statements such as ‘I need/want, I wish,’ and ‘my favorite’ – and we applied this them to a toy brand’s consumer conversation. We can see that consumers are very much telling this brand what they want – but is the brand listening? Are you? This intel should guide product innovation, and it would save any brands countless dollars on making the wrong updates to a product that isn’t doing so well. Consumers will tell you everything you need to know.


4. Underlying Emotions & Shopper Behavior

What makes a consumer buy one thing over another? Well, it turns out that there are many attributes that affect this decision making, according to Anupam Singh of 113 Industries. And we agree.

What makes a consumer tick could be situational, psychological, social, sensorial, or emotional. And since most purchase decisions are made emotionally, this has an even greater impact when it comes to marketing. And this means, it’s not enough to make a great product, you have to know how to connect with your consumer on a deeper level to entice them.

How do you do that? Anupam Singh uses consumer behavior analysis to read the sentiments and attributes behind social media posts and forum comments. These reveal how a person is feeling, thinking and acting throughout each stage of the purchase path so that brands can identify when to jump in and connect a bit more, or perhaps, provide something different all together.

5. Connect with Multiple Segments

No two consumers are alike; however, they tend to gather in groups. But if you’re only speaking to one segment, you’re missing out on so many others. Maybe your audience not only loves the outdoors, but they love crafting too and you never knew it.

As a brand you need to speak the language of many different segments. What you don’t know will hurt you – specifically your revenue and your brand growth.

Jocelyn Harjes of Ayzenberg, uses herself as an example: She loves red wine; her Cricket; she’s a mom; and, she loves traveling – so there are many facets to her as a consumer, just as there are for your audiences. Jocelyn uses consumer behavior analysis to dial into these specific segments to see where her company can find a greater connection, return and reach.

6. Keeping Pace with Consumer Values

Consumers prefer purchasing from brands whose values align with their own. Consumer behavior analysis helps your brand nail down what those values are, and even detect when those values shift. Jess Bundy, Consumer Insight Manager at The Walt Disney Company shared that it’s important to check for signals, “Checking for shifting consumer values and how to leverage them can make or break an organization these days.”

We all experienced a shift in these values during the beginning of 2020 when many consumers were out of work, quarantined to their couch and looking for understanding from brands. Some brands hit their mark, while others failed miserably. Keeping your finger on the pulse of consumer values will ensure that your messaging hits right every time.

7. Understanding Performance Impact

At this point, most brands know that in order to measure your impact, you need to benchmark performance on a consistent basis. And measuring volume is one thing, but understanding how that is impacting your brand is another.

Ashley McHugh of Memphis Tourism explained how she uses social listening to discover how different businesses in Memphis are preforming across different online channels. And then she went a step further to explore which of the brand mentions were getting the most engagement – and what or who was driving it.

Without the ability to peek behind the curtain, a brand is left wondering what is causing a post to gain traction. And doing so requires a level of data analysis expertise in your organization . . .

8. Enhancing Internal Data Analysis Expertise

During the past two years, many brands have realized the importance of data analysis expertise within their organization. And with the democratizing of data, brands are breaking down information siloes and working together to create a cohesive consumer experience. Using consumer intelligence software with robust dashboarding capabilties ensures that your team is all on the same page. And since everyone has the same data, there’s less room for error or miscommunications.

And if you “allow the data to tell the story,” as Lauren States, Independent Director at Northeastern University says, your team can collectively watch for signals to see if a new direction or approach is required. And since you’ll have many eyes watching the same thing in real time, you can act quickly when needed.

If you’re ready to dive deeper and experience greater results with less effort and time, reach out for a demo and see how consumer behavior analysis can amplify your brand’s efforts in 2022!

how to discover market opportunities

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