What do consumers want?

Every brand seeks to answer this question because they know that understanding consumer opinions is critical to their success. While that’s always been the case, there are now many more ways for brands to answer that question. While research studies and surveys used to be the only ways for brands to tap into what consumers were thinking, the billions of daily posts on social media provide a direct window into the mind of the consumer.

With social media analytics, brands can answer any question they have on consumer opinion and preferences. Here are some examples of the types of consumer insights you can uncover with social media analysis:

What’s the most popular exercise in the US?

It’s yoga. Yoga has been the most talked about fitness activity since 2012 by both men and women. Men tend to discuss CrossFit more, while women discuss Zumba and High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT).


What streaming services are cord-cutters talking about?

Netflix tops the list, but Hulu and Amazon are closing the gap.

The chart above shows the top streaming products and services that cord-cutters discuss on social. It’s worth taking note of this market becoming more fragmented as it grows. While Netflix still dominates the segment in social media conversation, services like Hulu and Amazon are closing the gap. Apple TV was widely discussed in 2014, but conversation volume has dropped off significantly in the past 3 years.

Insights like this can help brands understand who their top competitors are as well as how the landscape has changed over time.  

What’s the most talked about new technology?

Artificial Intelligence (AI) beats out Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) as the most talked about new technology.

That means AI is top of mind for consumers while AR and VR haven’t quite reached the mainstream. AI also has much more negative conversation surrounding it than AR or VR as much of the conversation surrounds the potential risks and consequences of the technology, especially around privacy.

Brands promoting AI-powered products need to quell consumer fears about privacy risks while those promoting AR or VR products have some work to do to get the word out about the technology itself.     

Do people prefer dining in or out?

Consumers are much happier about dining in.  

In an analysis of the emotions around dining at home, dining out, and takeout/delivery, 76% of the conversation about eating at home is joyful while dining out and delivery trail far behind. Much of the joy around home cooking revolves around healthy eating and saving money, while the negativity around dining out and delivery comes from spending too much money and eating unhealthy food.

Understanding consumer’s eating habits and the reasons behind them would be important for a wide variety of consumer brands.  

What is the most loved iPhone feature?

The “do not disturb” function.

New features drive a lot of the conversation about new phones, and surprisingly, the release of the “do not disturb” function back in 2012 got consumers more excited than more technically advanced updates like the introduction of Siri, Touch ID, or camera upgrades.

Insights on the most effective iPhone launch features would be useful to Apple, their competitors, or any other consumer electronics brand.  

How do consumers feel about privacy?

They’re angry.

The chart above tracks the swelling anger among consumers discussing privacy-related topics over time. Not only is the conversation surrounding privacy issues growing rapidly, it is becoming more dominated by anger, sadness and disgust.

Brands should take notice that consumers are starting to take their privacy more seriously and that projecting an image that respects consumer privacy is beneficial when it comes to tech.

Are consumers ready for self-driving cars?

No, they are afraid of them.

Why? A lot of people fear that self-driving cars will be susceptible to hacker attacks. And fear only increases with real world examples of hackers showing the security risks (a Wired story showing how hackers could could remotely accelerate a jeep and slam the brakes at high speeds went viral in 2015).

While self-driving cars are exciting to techies, the general public seems to be very leery of the new technology and its potential consequences. This is a part of the larger trend of consumers fearing the implications of technological change similar to the negative sentiment around AI.

Ultimately, social media analytics allows brands to answer any questions they have about consumers and what they want. These insights allow brands to create products and campaigns that engage the right consumers at the right time.

Download the free 2017 Consumer Trends Report to to see what US consumers care about now.