Why Your Brand Should Be Analyzing Consumer Behaviors

Kimberly Surico |
 01/05/22 |
7 min read

Why Your Brand Should Be Analyzing Consumer Behaviors

It’s that time of year again. People are making resolutions to change bad habits and adopt new ones. Some will be successful, whereas others will abandon ship fairly quickly. One thing’s for sure, though – they’ll be talking all about it online.

Social listening opens a window into consumer behaviors that brands can use to educate and meet the needs of their audience. You may even have newcomers trying your products to help them meet their goals. As such, having a familiarity with the pain points they will encounter enables you to swoop in and save the day.

Regardless, the new year isn’t the only time your brand should analyze consumer behaviors – but it is a time where many people are pivoting. That being the case, it’s a fantastic time to monitor for changes. Here, we’ll explore why your brand should be analyzing consumer behaviors by . . .

  • Developing a consumer behavior strategy
  • Moving to the rhythm of consumer behaviors
  • Analyzing consumer behaviors

A keen understanding of the behaviors at work in your space plus an in-depth knowledge of the motivating factors causing them should play a key role in your decision-making process. After all, consumer behavior is never static – as these stats suggest:

  • How consumers shop depends on what they’re shopping for. Consumers tend to visit multiple ecommerce sites when looking for consumer electronics, home items, and Furniture. Conversely, shoppers exhibit more brand intent when purchasing in the health/beauty and apparel/accessories categories.
  • 69% of people surveyed by Nielsen said they turned to e-commerce to buy household goods for the first time during the pandemic. Additionally, Millennials outspent Gen Z and Boomers when stockpiling during quarantines.
  • Using customer analytics to understand the nuance of your target audience is critical. For instance, Millennials are the most diverse generational group in US history, with 44% being racial or ethnic minorities.

With that, let’s jump into the fascinating world of consumer behavior and see how social listening can help your brand succeed.

Consumer Behavior Strategy

Social listening provides insights into consumer behaviors that help brands develop meaningful strategies. We’re not just talking about uncovering simple demographics and running with them, either. We want to know the exact behaviors that people exhibit regarding our purchase funnel, the customer experience, and their unmet needs within our category.

Additionally, we’d like to explore consumer behaviors related to our competitors to identify differences between their audience and our own. On top of all that, it’s of utmost importance to understand the role of emerging trends in shaping consumer behavior.

That may feel like a lot to take in at first glance, so it helps to understand the common themes that compose consumer behavior. Generally speaking, five overarching aspects influence consumer activity and purchasing decisions.

  1. Economic element – includes income, credit, debt, assets, government policy influences
  2. Social element – family and group influence, role and status within them
  3. Cultural element – culture, language, religion, class, race, ethnicity, gender
  4. Personal elementage, occupation, education, lifestyle, interests
  5. Psychological element – motivations, perceptions, expectations, beliefs, desire to learn

These are the factors at play behind consumer behavior. Brands need to uncover the top behaviors within your audience then boil them down to find the motivating elements. In this way, you can adjust your products, placement, and messaging to influence consumer behavior by appealing to the elements at work behind it.

To do so, you’ll want to capture your brand conversation as it’s happening online and note the behaviors that come up most frequently. An excellent way to start your consumer behavioral analysis is by asking questions such as:

  • What do my consumers say when they use the word “want” or “need”?
  • How and why are they using the terms “buy” or “can’t afford”?
  • How does audience behavior vary between my audience and the competition’s?
  • What are the top behavioral complaints coming from my brand detractors?
  • What are the barriers between the consideration phase and purchase intent?

Together, your audience’s compositional elements and trending consumer behaviors will give you a massive leg-up on developing an effective strategy. You can then build upon desired behaviors and provide solutions for negative ones. With the right social listening tools, uncovering these consumer insights is pretty straightforward – and it’s well worth the effort.

Moving to the Rhythm of Consumer Behaviors

Trends come and go, circumstances change, and technology advances, all of which profoundly affect consumers. As such, brands must stay in tune with their customers. Social listening uses text categorization to account for every mention of a word or phrase. It is capable of understanding emotions, behaviors, and attributes as well, so finding what’s top of mind with your audience is painless.

First, you’ll want to understand consumer behaviors as they relate to your brand. This will alert you to any glaring problems you need to address quickly. Since behaviors are aggregated by mention count, you’ll soon discern what people love and hate about your brand and how it influences their decisions.

It’s great to get a handle on the positive behaviors surrounding you, but after a quick assessment, you’ll want to move on to the negative side of things. And this is where you’ll probably need to start addressing things first. Sometimes, minor frustrations can be ironed out with a simple messaging campaign or software update. Other times, there are bigger fish to fry.


Top behavioral terms on social media for national US grocery chain. 11/29/21-12/29/21

As you can see, if this was your brand, there are some consumer behaviors here that you’ll need to address right off the bat. And once those issues are cleared up, you can systematically move through the behaviors associated with your brand in order of importance.

Additionally, it’s wise to follow consumer behaviors surrounding emerging trends and current events. If there’s a storm on the horizon that could impact your category, it’s better to understand how consumers are reacting to it in advance.

For instance, you might not be having any supply issues right now – but others are. Knowing how consumers pivot when they can’t find items they need is invaluable consumer insight. Even if you have tons of inventory and no supply issues with your customer base, finding trouble spots elsewhere illuminates white space opportunities you can leverage.

Here is a behavioral analysis we ran on the phrase “out of stock” to see how the conversation is playing out. Sentiment is an understandably dismal -17% on a scale of -100 – 100. But as you can see below, not all the top terms are unfavorable. Digging into these terms reveals people looking for alternatives and pulling the trigger. And brands that are paying attention can provide solutions when the competition is out of gas.


Social media discussion about out-of-stock items showing top behaviors. 11/29/21-12/29/21

So far, we’ve covered the elements that influence behavior, questions to answer with your analysis, and the importance of capturing the top behaviors around trends and your brand narrative. Now, let’s look at a few ways to capture insights fast.

Analyzing Consumer Behaviors

First off, if your tools can’t sort social conversations by behaviors, attributes, and emotions, then you need one that will. And it must offer enough transparency to dig into the posts behind the results. There could be many different things discussed using the word “want.” Lastly, you’ll need a tool that assigns sentiment values to words and phrases, so your results are measurable. Let’s see why.

Sentiment Drivers

Artificial intelligence assigns a 1 to positive terms, a 0 for neutrals, and a -1 for negatives. By aggregating the top behavioral mentions by count and assigning sentiment values, we can use these sentiment drivers to understand the scope of consumer behavior surrounding our brand.

We used this method for our “out-of-stock” analysis above, but it’s equally effective for brand-centric social conversations. Judging by an analysis of consumer behaviors surrounding the Apple Watch, people love them. Top behaviors include want, buy, use, give, wear, need, ask for, and need – all positive.

But as you’re going through, you’ll stumble upon some negatives, and you may want to dig further. For example, here are some negative mentions of the Apple Watch using the word “ditch.”


Digging into Specifics

Now we have feedback on how important this behavior is in the overall conversation. We can investigate the soundbites to see how people use the word, and we can add the term as a filter for deeper analysis.

While this term isn’t huge in itself, it does correlate with others like “get rid of” or “not wear.” However, there is utility in digging deeper into the root of these behaviors. Following this post to a Peloton thread on Reddit reveals a consumer that used the watch for fitness purposes. Not being able to program in rest days was a deal-breaker. This particular issue could be easily addressed as a new function within a software patch.


Filtering for Behaviors of Interest

Consumer behavior analytics will take you down a wormhole – but that’s the point. You’ll be met with behaviors that don’t make sense, some that are one-offs, and others that pique your interests. Of course, what those interests happen to be hinge on your brand’s unique market situation.

As we alluded to earlier, words like want, need, buy, etc., could mean many different things. Users could need a part, a user manual, or someone at customer service to pick up the phone. The ability to pop the hood on behavioral terms lets you get a feel for the conversation. That way, you’re able to strategize around the right needs at the right time.

For example, we isolated the word “want” from the Apple Watch behaviors using our term filter. Doing so reveals that most of the dialogue behind this behavior is about screen protectors, watch bands, upgrading an old watch, and needing an Apple Watch to begin with. The point is, you can do this with any behavior you uncover to get to the root.


Top “wants” in Apple Watch consumer behavioral analysis. 11/29/21-12/29/21

Knowing how to uncover consumer behaviors helps brands focus on what’s important to their audience. And seeing how they play out around emerging themes can help capitalize on white space opportunities. Consumer behavioral analysis is a game-changer for brands – so if your tools aren’t up to the challenge – reach out for a personalized demo tailored to your brand.

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