The Consumer Intelligence Blog - Infegy

15  Product Trend Questions Social Listening Can Answer

One of the top questions we get asked about our social listening platform is: “how can we use this data?” Well, one of the biggest, top-secret ways to use social listening is for predictive analytics.


Believe it or not, social data shouldn’t just focus on performance and past data. Instead, you can actually use social insights to look into the future! 🔮


Our best guess is that 99% of social analytics users aren’t using social data in this way. And that’s just wrong.


But once you realize that social insights can be used to make predictions, that opens up a whole host of different ways to apply these predictive capabilities. So, we’ve outlined a list of 15 major questions you can potentially answer using social analytics for predictions. These questions all stemmed from our new guide: the Ultimate Guide to Predicting Trends Using Social Listening.


Ahead in this article, we’ll look at the questions about predicting trends that you can answer, AND we’ll give you some strategy ideas and brand examples on how you can apply the data.

Let’s jump in!


Predict Trends from Consumer Intent-Based Social Conversations

1. Will future sales for a specific product increase or decrease?
2. Will there be a dramatic change in demand for a category or product in the near future?
3. Does my social conversation align with sales data to predict future needs based on social volume?

The first thing for you to understand about predictions is pretty straightforward. Consumers express intent and potential future actions all over social media. Social listening tools have the ability to recognize that intent, and you can use the data to pinpoint a potential consumer trend or a product that’s about to take off. This could apply to general topics or products, such as bicycles, or something more specific like flavors and ingredients.


Your Social Listening Strategy


Social listening platforms are capable of recognizing intent expressed in online posts. You can use this technology to identify intent to find potential future trends. For example, in this Reddit post, notice how the user expressed an intent to buy a new bike. They mentioned their plans to buy and even the specific product.


Predict and Understand the Life of a Product Trend

4. How will my new product perform based on previous life cycle analysis?

5. What do online conversations reveal about developing trends?

6. What types of channels are best to focus on to identify emerging trends early?

 Introduction → Growth → Maturation

Early on, your goal is to identify the topics and products in that “introduction” phase. A couple of easy ways to go about doing that are 1) look at early adoption channels like Pinterest and TikTok and 2) leverage the right social listening metrics to spot a trend. In the next couple of sections, we’ll explore those metrics in a little more detail.


Your Social Listening Strategy


TikTok may be the best channel to watch for potential trends before they grow to buzzword status. It’s the nature of the TikTok engagement that makes it so good for finding early trends. Viral videos, new product reviews, or niche influencers could start the next new trend. Using social listening will help you spot something big early on.



Recognize Specific Trendy Topics, Products, or Ingredients

7. How can I predict emerging ingredients, flavors, products, styles, colors, brands, etc.?
8. How can I use social listening to understand the competitive landscape?
9. How can social listening indicate what phase an ingredient, flavor, product, style, color, brand, etc., is in the life cycle?

If you have the right tools, you can quickly spot a potential trend on social media before it happens. Our researchers love to measure percent change in online post volume and other expressions to find what’s trendy. The best application of this is looking at specific trending products. This is incredibly useful for understanding the next trends in food ingredients, flavors and scents, fashion, or decor styles.


Your Social Listening Strategy


A significant change in online post volume over a short period of time about a certain product could indicate that it is about to take off. During our research, we found that consumers talked a great deal more about the oil fragrances cinnamon, geranium, and rosemary than they were a few months prior. You could apply this to looking at how people discuss your competitors or products related to your own industry.


Analyze Online Expressions to Predict Specific Product Trends

10. What could I measure the potential success of a product offering, menu, brand, or campaign?
11. Which social listening metrics matter most to indicate potential successes?
12. How can brands leverage current product understanding for future products?

People express themselves online in very particular ways -- those expressions can be analyzed with social listening and applied in a forward-thinking way. Emotion analysis can reveal potential trends by pinpointing an increase in people saying they love a new menu item or trust a brand to launch a new product.


Your Social Listening Strategy


People express emotions when discussing key topics, brands, and products online. Whether they express excitement and joy or anger and fear, these emotions are critical for you to analyze. In addition, emotions are key indicators of future behavior.

Using social listening analysis, you can measure how emotions are expressed about key topics to pinpoint whether something might start to trend in the future.


Leverage Social Data to Forecast Sales

13. How well will a product sell compared to similar products or competitor products?
14. Which data points might be outliers that could trip you up on a quality prediction?
15. What is the relative weight volume should receive in the analysis as volume/rank increases?


Finally, social listening can be used to predict future sales. If you combine your current sales data with social data, you can correlate the data to predict future sales. This can help you anticipate demand for a current or new product, and reach customers with the right products and customer service.



And there you have it: 15 questions about predicting trends that social listening can help answer.

Many are surprised at the power of predictive analysis social listening offers. But with a little bit of TLC, your team could be well on your way to becoming a consumer trends psychic!

Reach out to our team today to see how social listening can help your predictive analytics efforts.

Oh, and don’t forget to get your copy of our Predicting Trends Guide here!