How to Identify White Space & What To Do With It

Kimberly Surico |
 08/04/20 |
5 min read

How to Identify White Space & What To Do With It

Sometimes the next big thing for a brand is found in the places where there is a small amount of buzz, but not enough to make it immediately identifiable. Having the right social analytics can show you how to spot white space and what to do with it!

Sometimes all you need are the right questions. And with proper social listening you can discover a whole new world of opportunity. We will explore this, as well as:

  • White space identification and understanding what it can tell you
  • Competitive intelligence that identifies new opportunities for your brand
  • Using social listening to solve consumer and brand concerns

And here are some white space statistics uncovered with white space intel, to help you along, including:

  • Digital Food orders have grown 300% faster than dine-in since 2014
  • On average, consumers spend 2 hours and 24 minutes per day on social media, knowing what they’re talking about is key
  • Social monitoring is important, as one negative review can cost a brand 30% of its customers.

how to make sma work for you

Understanding White Space

A metaphor for opportunity, white space has many definitions but only one goal: To identify space for a brand to explore and turn into their next big thing. You could also look at it as a directional signpost – a way to address new prospects or threats for your company.

Let’s explore some industry shifts, for example. In the last six months, the landscape of many industries has changed to meet the growing demand of no contact food services and retail. And many brands have found opportunities and made it work for them. Will many struggled, a good number were able to create successful situations out of it – sustainable business models to hold on to moving forward, even. And as we are in the recovery phase, still more opportunities are out there waiting to be discovered.

To understand where these white spaces are, you must first know what the conversation is. And for that, we turn to market intelligence. Our timeline (below) of conversation around restaurants reveals top discussions and how they’ve shifted and fluctuated over the past six months.

For instance, our segment The New Eating which explores new restaurants popping up was top talk around February, has diminished in size and has been overtaken by the segment Restaurant Diners, which is about dining protocols and outdoor eating experiences:


This tells us that people are returning to establishments.

And now that we know this, it’s time to peel back the layers on some of these top categories and discover the white spaces in between.

New Opportunities & Competitive Intelligence

With re-openings happening all over, it’s vital to know what the conversation is specifically, since re-opening is proving to be precarious. Brands are paying close attention to what’s being said, and what’s not.

Our scatterplot (below) shows the previous emerging trends that are experiencing the most growth. Here, we can explore further to get a more detailed look into what’s happening in the world of eateries and diners.

Outdoor Dining is winning in both published counts and social engagement, which means it’s generated both media attention (published count) and consumer attention (social engagement).

And sitting low in social engagement and high in published count is segment Five New Restaurants. So, there’s buzz, could this be an opportunity? Combining it with the related and socially engaging Food Delivery Apps shares, your brand may be on to something. Let’s see why.


When we delve deeper, it reveals a more technological conversation wrapped around dining experiences. And one article stands out – Helping Restaurants Adjust to Their New Tech-Based Reality. From no-cost online ordering to voice assisted dining experiences – is this the wave of the future that your brand can help facilitate?


Fine-tuning Your Market Research

Article upon article reveal themselves, like this one, not just hinting but confirming that technology has a foot firmly planted in the restaurant industry, something the pandemic only encouraged. This accelerated trend appears to have teeth.


Using Quid’s Content Strategy to view the convergence of tech and eating out, a visual emerges showing cross subsections and illuminating top players, such as Technologies, Amazon and Velocity Technology. Mentioned a large amount of time is Vice President of NPD, Industry Advisor, and Foodie, David Portalatin.


And David is sure that the future of food is found in technology. Supporting this, we have the statistics: Since May, digital restaurant orders increased by 138% and this area has grown 300% faster than dine-in traffic since 2014.

And be sure to note – food tech isn’t just for delivery. Fine dining is utilizing technology to give consumers a new and exciting experience as well:


From Virtual Reality to a voice assistant to remove the bustle and buzz from your in-restaurant dining experience to make it more intimate, it’s clear that food tech-talk is multifaceted and moving beyond order and delivery. Where will your brand fit in and what will the consumer sentiment be?

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Solving Consumer Concerns

Having a thick skin is mandatory no matter what industry you’re in. And when it comes to consumer sentiment, you better layer up. Consumer feedback can sink you or raise you like cream to the top. Learning to listen to negative consumer conversation about your industry or brand is necessary and vital to producing money making decisions.

Keeping with the food-tech themes, over the last month, top emotions expressed about Uber Eats are decidedly positive, however there are negative sentiments mingling such as worst, disappointed, and frustrate.


Getting to the Bottom of Negative Sentiment

To get to the bottom of this, we can explore each individual word by clicking on it. Using annoying as our guinea pig, a new word cloud is formed that details specifics. We find out that the complaints focus around the ordering system, the app and payment.


And detailing that contention are these connected posts by two clearly upset Uber Eats consumers. It’s important insight to have. With the average user spending 2 hours and 24 minutes per day on social media, negative news can spread fast.


All of this points to customer service being a weak point in Uber Eats’ business, and with the pandemic throwing brand loyalty out the window, jumping right on this concern could be the difference in making or losing lots of money – and consumers. Additionally,research has shown that one negative review can lose a company 30% of its customers. And social media is the king of unofficial reviews that everyone listens to.

Hopefully, Uber Eats is working to repair their customer service image. It’s important for even the big brands to be ready for whatever is coming their way via social. And you can be ready too! Let us show you how to discover new opportunities and attack growing spaces, while defending your brand from attack. Reach out for a demo!


how to make sma work for you

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