Learning, Understanding, and Influencing Consumer Behavior

Kimberly Surico |
 05/20/22 |
5 min read

Learning, Understanding, and Influencing Consumer Behavior

Social listening and media analytics tools provide the resources brands need to decipher the social landscape shaping consumer behavior, and stay ahead of these changes. Let’s see how that looks!

Consumer behavior is unpredictable, and many brands struggle to keep pace with their fluctuating needs and wants. This struggle is compounded by an ever shifting geopolitical landscape that can result in a loved brand being outed by more relevant offering – or one that seems to come out of nowhere. However, that doesn’t have to be the case.

We’ll explore learning, understanding, and influencing consumer behavior. We’ll do so with a focus on:

  • Defining consumer behavior
  • Consumer behavior analysis
  • Shaping consumer behavior

Here are a few consumer behavior stats we uncovered to keep in mind as we continue:

  • 80% of consumers feel that the customer experiences a brand provides are equally as important as the products it produces and the services it renders.
  • 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 it came to stockpiling during quarantines.
  • 50% of customers will do an about-face and shop with a competitor after a bad customer experience.

Consumer behavior doesn’t have to be elusive; let’s check it out!

Consumer Behavior Defined

With the speed of social media and the news cycle, consumers are constantly bombarded with new information. This includes shifting opinions from key opinion leaders and influencers that help spur emerging trends or newsworthy events that induce panic buying or stockpiling.

Whether you are in the marketing department or the boardroom, your brand must have an ongoing familiarity with the factors at play influencing the decisions of your consumer base. From a market intelligence perspective, an understanding of consumer behavior is built upon data analyses that uncover your target audience’s needs, wants, likes, and dislikes.


Finding unmet needs

Additionally, a comprehensive view of consumer behavior should begin with a bird’s eye view of your category, the competition, and movement within it. It should also consider global trends that can potentially shape consumer opinion towards your brand or competitors.

In a nutshell, the goal of a consumer behavior analysis is to gain share of voice in your category by leveraging consumer intelligence to outperform the competition in light of current events and emerging trends.

Consumer Behavior Analysis & Measurement

For the best perspective into how the public views a product or brand, a customer journey analysis can provide deep insights into consumer behavior at every step of the way – from evaluation to post-purchase.

What this does is capture social media conversations centered around targets such as loyalty, purchase intent, consideration, etc. Here’s what that looks like for a major sports apparel brand.

Sports apparel brand dashboard showing stages of consumer journey.

Sports apparel brand dashboard showing stages of consumer journey.

What this does is establish benchmark measurements for the areas that we want to target. As you can see, the social media conversations around consideration and purchasing for this brand are strong relative to the rest. Knowing your measurements around the various steps of the consumer journey allows you to determine where you need to focus your attention.

Whether you are doing a customer journey analysis on your brand, product, or competitor, you’ll also want to establish the difference between your overall brand conversation versus the consumer journey discussion within it. This helps to track movement over time to measure your progress as you target specific areas with marketing or product developments.

For instance, here’s the same apparel brand with the entire brand conversation on top, followed by the consumer journey metrics beneath. Additionally, we’ve included the net sentiment breakdown of the consumer journey, which is one of the most important metrics you’ll want to keep tabs on along the way.

Sports apparel brand dashboard showing sentiment expressed along the consumer journey.

Sports apparel brand dashboard showing sentiment expressed along the consumer journey.

It’s important to note that the above analysis is a one-month capture of conversations surrounding this CPG brand. With just the intel we’ve provided above, there are already several interesting observations.

First, in our first bar chart measuring volume, loyalty was the smallest conversation out of the six themes, but net sentiment was the highest of them all at 87 on a scale of -100 to 100. Secondly, the consideration topic was the second-highest in volume but the lowest in net sentiment at just 35.

This begs the question – if this is your brand, where is the disconnect with consumers that is keeping customers in the consideration column from moving over into the purchase column?

Here’s what you can do about it.

Influencing Consumer Behavior

Each of the subtopics we measured above is a theme that isolates social conversations for specific factors. As such, we can choose the ones that pique our interest and go in for a deep dive to uncover contributing factors to consumer behavior.

Not only that, but we can also uncover any relevant data on social media users talking within our isolated theme. So, suppose we want to strategize on moving consumers from consideration to purchase. In that case, we can dig into the discussions within just the consideration theme to uncover the pain points we need to address.

For instance, after isolating the consideration discussion for our CPG brand, here’s a look at the word cloud representing the top behaviors mentioned in social media posts. At this point, consumers’ wants and needs are just a click away

Consumer needs and wants shared online.

Consumer needs and wants shared online.

That means we can drill down into the demographics, psychographics, geo-locations, domains, authors, etc., for a comprehensive deep dive into social media users who are considering our brand. That gives us the intel to shape our marketing strategies for a particular pain point.

Additionally, we can uncover the authors generating content within our consideration theme. This helps us identify potential influencers we can work with to shift the narrative, raise our net sentiment, and ultimately influence consumers to shift into the purchase category. Top influencers within this brand analysis top 36 million followers. It’s a great place to start looking for a new influencer relationship to maximize impact in an area of weakness.

In closing, uncovering consumer behavior in a very specific category doesn’t entail a Herculean effort. It involves casting a wide net across consumer groups like the consumer journey or a customer care analysis that details customer experience discussions so you can bolster your CX strategy.

Finding the points of disparity within your analysis allows you to drill into the conversations to understand what is influencing consumer behavior. From this perspective, your research will reveal the pain points your consumer base is most impacted by as well as data points such as authors and psychographic data you can use to develop effective marketing and innovation strategies.

Reach out for a demo, and we’ll show you how you can uncover the consumer behavior affecting your brand, so you’re always a step ahead!

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