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Applying text analysis to online communities for enhanced market research

market research online communities

In this digital age, it’s becoming increasingly important that brands tap into the sea of data and insights available online. As technology continues to advance, so too does the world of qualitative analysis and how brands conduct their market research.

The growth of Market Research Online Communities (MROCs) means that brands no longer need to rely on in-person focus groups, and online community hubs are filled with thoughts and opinions of diverse audiences, which is why understanding where relevant communities live is vital to a marketing strategy.

What is a Market Research Online Community?

Virtual communities are all around us, and you’re probably part of one without even realising. Think niche Facebook groups, subreddit conversations or forums focused on a particular topic or interest.

However, in contrast to these organic communities, MROCs are specifically created for the purpose of research. They consist of a closed network of people who have been recruited to participate in research-related activities or conversations around a given topic or brand. In some respects, they’re the 21st century equivalent to a traditional focus group.

The benefits of online communities

MROCs enable businesses to delve deeper into the minds of their consumers, which has enormous strategic benefits on branding, user experience and product development. They enable brands to map the customer journey, identify pain points, understand brand perceptions and optimise accordingly.

An online community can be carefully curated to resemble a business’s target audience, providing invaluable insight into consumer values. Both organic discussions and more specified research surveys can take place within an online community, capturing qualitative data and enabling brands to understand how and why an audience thinks and feels.

Moreover, MROCs can be a quick and easy method of conducting qualitative research. By having access to a diverse audience, a research question can be posed online, and results can be gathered quickly. Through engaging with a highly responsive community, brands often uncover new ideas or business opportunities that they previously may not have thought of.

Relative Insight meets online communities

Here at Relative Insight, we utilise language comparison to make qualitative analysis scalable and efficient. While online communities are an invaluable source of qualitative research, companies often struggle to find ways to analyse large amounts of unstructured language data.

Relative can help you extract the most business value out of these online communities, generating unique insights from your targeted market research efforts and text data. Once you have uploaded qualitative data into the Relative Insight platform, you can slice and dice your data in multiple ways. This enables you to run various comparisons off a single data set by using metadata tags such as age and location. By utilising Relative’s unique methodology this way, our clients get up to five times more value from any one data source.

The platform then creates an easy to navigate output, highlighting the differences, similarities and frequencies in words, phrases, topics, grammar and emotion on either side of the comparison. By layering Relative Insight on top of your research, you’ll find insights you never knew to look for.

What can you compare?

Demographic comparisons
Understand how different demographics speak about certain topics or brands. By comparing the conversations of two distinct groups – generations, genders or nationalities – you can learn what makes specific audience segments tick. Pinpointing these differences can help brands to create nuanced marketing and targeted campaigns for each demographic.

Competitor benchmarking 
It’s essential to understand how your brand fits into the market, and to know the strengths and weaknesses of your competitors. Using comparative-based text analysis, you can analyse how members of online communities discuss your brand in comparison to your top competitors or the wider industry. This comparison will reveal sophisticated insights about how your brand and products stack up against the competitive landscape, which can then be used to inform marketing strategy and product development.

Topic or brand analysis
In comparing how an audience speak about a topic or brand over time, you can understand how consumer opinions have changed or analyse the effect of an activation or new product feature. This approach can be invaluable to supporting product development and perfecting the user experience.

Relative Insight’s unique language comparison approach helps you extract actionable qualitative insights from unstructured language data. Get in touch to find out how comparison can transform your business.

Speak to our team