How Facebook Topic Data Helped One Brand Adjust to New Market Conditions

Kester Ford
3rd December 2015 0 Comments

We all love shiny new things. The word novelty sums it up, blending the two ideas of newness and excitement. When it comes to products, most of us are more likely to talk about something new that we will have forgotten about in a year than something we have used for decades. Now I think about it, it all seems a bit harsh on those brands that are taken for granted. Won’t somebody think of the brands?!

OK, there are probably more deserving recipients of our sympathy, but how does an established brand react when a new player enters the market and starts to make waves? How do they determine the size of the threat? And what can they do about it? Can they look at what they have done to be such a success over the years and accentuate those characteristics to cement their position? Do they need to adapt to a new way of doing things? Or are they in danger of going the way of the dodo in their newly disrupted market.

The makers of a personal care product found themselves in such a predicament earlier this year. From what they had been able to determine from the mainstream media, it seemed everyone was enamoured with their new competitor and a bit “meh” about their own product. So they asked their ad agency to use Facebook topic data to find out how consumers engaged with their brand and that of their new competitor.

The agency looked at aggregated and anonymized data from Facebook posts and engagements for the two brands and the other major players in the market segment. This amounted to an average of just under ten thousand interactions per day. All of these posts, likes, comments and shares were tagged in real-time using VEDO (DataSift’s classification engine) so that analysis could be performed by brand, by product feature (e.g. price, delivery, quality) and by sentiment expressed towards each brand.

The first thing they discovered was that this wasn’t the end of the world, sentiment towards the incumbent brand was a lot more positive than they had feared. However, they were also able to get some insights from the data that would allow them to engage more effectively with their audience. For example, they were able to determine which features of their product drove the most positive engagement and use these features as the basis for new creative in advertising and marketing.

The agency was also able to understand how different demographic groups interacted with each of the brands. They were surprised to find that the challenger brand had high levels of engagement from women – a demographic that the incumbent had traditionally ignored. This opened up a whole new audience for the agency to target with new content and messaging.

Through their use of topic data, the incumbent brand were able to get a truer picture of their reputation in relation to their new competitor. They were also able to adjust their creative strategy to make the most of the characteristics that had made them so popular in the first place. Not only that, but they were able to discover a whole new audience likely to engage with their content, enabling the development of an additional strand of campaigns to support their existing marketing efforts.

And they don’t feel taken for granted anymore.

Kester Ford

Written by Kester Ford

Kester Ford is DataSift's Director of Product Marketing

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