How to Harness Public Web Data to Delight Customers

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E-commerce players are using hundreds of ways and channels to connect with their consumers, ensuring they address their consumers’ needs and growing demands.  

This is both a blessing and a curse. On the one hand, every negative Tweet chips away at the brand image that you’ve worked hard to cultivate over years. On the other hand, with millions of interactions happening on marketplaces, social media, and forums each day, it’s easier than ever for brands to measure and stay on top of constantly changing consumer sentiment.

Brands can start capitalizing on public web data by focusing on four key areas: customer reviews, social media sentiment, search engine queries, and competitor listing analysis. 

Marketplace customer reviews: the logical place to start

Marketplace reviews are the bread and butter of public customer sentiment data. This is where customers are brutally honest about products and share valuable information about their overall customer experience. 

Collecting and analyzing reviews to isolate trends enables brands to be more buyer driven, develop relevant products, and ensure an overall experience that will gain buyers’ long-lived loyalty. 

What’s more, when managing multiple online stores, such data collection helps you stay on top of emerging issues like inventory management, which can be a great differentiator between being a leading brand that wins more customers and a lagging brand that wins much less. 

Social media: take your brand’s temperature

Elon Musk recently described Twitter as “the de facto public town square” of the modern world. In fact, each public social media channel represents its own town square – and it’s important for brands to have eyes and ears on the ground. 

Video reviews, text posts, and even dedicated forums all provide valuable information about what customers really think. By scanning these for recurring social sentiment indicators — like the tone of comments and reactions, the number of shares, and the speed with which conversations move — brands can piece together a user-generated market picture. 

Let’s take the example of a portable electronics brand whose social sentiment analysis reveals that unboxing videos and posts about a product are increasingly negative due to an add-on like batteries not being included. The brand, wishing to ensure their buyers’ needs are fully addressed, can use this insight to take restorative steps, like creating a “bundle” that incorporates batteries or simply communicating more clearly that they’re not included. The brand could even reach out to disappointed influencers to let them know that they’re listening and have made changes accordingly, resulting in positive follow-up feedback and a direct effect on sales. 

Search engine queries: simple interactions that reveal valuable insights

Most customer journeys begin with a Google search. By aggregating and analyzing these, it’s relatively easy to paint a clear picture of the questions being asked about your brand. What descriptors are consumers using? Do they have obvious knowledge gaps? These answers are hidden in search queries. 

For example, an electric vehicle brand might discover that consumers in the US are asking, “Are EVs cheaper than gas?” or “Does the government offer tax breaks on EVs?” These questions indicate that the average person doesn’t understand the financial aspect of owning an EV. Using this insight, the EV brand in question can create educational content to instruct, and ultimately convert, their target audience.

Competitor listing analysis: your route to staying ahead of the pack 

Competitor listing performance data, like seasonal sales trends, correlations between promotions, sell-through rates, and seller ratings, are a valuable source of public consumer sentiment data. 

These data points can tell you how consumers view your competitors as well as shed light on how external factors affect positive purchase decisions. Often, marketers can uncover interesting correlations — such as a competitor’s new listing image leading to a spike in sales — that can help to inform their own strategy. 

The bottom line? In this brave new world, the brands paying close attention to measuring customer and consumer sentiment will win the battle for e-commerce, especially now when social commerce is on the rise. Public web data can help brands get there.

Omri Orgad is North America Managing Director at Bright Data.