Consumers have a number of reasons to utilize the internet to engage in online shopping activities such as conducting price comparisons, seeking product information, reviews, advice and more. With increased accessibility to the internet via mobile devices and tablets, these activities and conversations are growing at exponential rates. The internet, thus, has become a fundamental tool for brand marketers and online retailers to communicate clear, concise, sophisticated levels of communication, catering to the expressed needs of online social consumers.
On a daily basis, people are becoming more avid in sharing their purchasing intents and experiences within their social networks. This online trend is creating valuable opportunities for marketers to engage directly with their consumers, allowing them to understand and influence their buying behaviors. Social media and online communities can be a goldmine of intelligence and opportunity for brands given that they are able to effectively understand what their consumers are saying, what it all means, and what they can be doing about it.
In the recent case study we conducted, "Android Showdown: Bionic vs Galaxy S II" we put this theory to work with a goal of understanding how individuals online were expressing intent to purchase a particular phone. In our study from April 1-June 21, 2011, we found 14,838 online conversations expressing explicit intent or seeking advice on whether to purchase either phone. By analyzing this data set, over ten times larger then leading market research firms, we were able to then effectively organize and make sense of the organic, unsolicited conversation across the social web. (Read more about the results of the study here.)
Seeking intelligence around consumer buying behaviors through the use of focus groups and surveys is time consuming and expensive. By utilizing social media listening services, companies are now able to organize thousands of conversations to inform, adjust and shape their online marketing initiatives.