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3 Social Media Trends Driving Consumer Research in 2022

Consumer research no longer needs to rely on telephone surveys and focus groups. With the rise of social media, consumers are providing brands with valuable feedback and platforms for engagement. As the social media conversation continues to drive brand strategy, social media analytics and AI-based consumer research have become the primary methods by which brands understand their audience.

Read on to learn more about 3 big-picture social media trends that will impact how brands approach consumer research in 2022.

1.)   Tik Tok Is Continuing to Grow

Tik Tok, the platform that allows users to scroll through dozens of short videos in just minutes, continues to capture the attention spans of users, especially millennials and Gen Z. In September 2021, the short-video platform revealed that it had surpassed 1 billion active users, a staggering amount of growth from the 55 million users it reported in January 2018.

Brands can no longer dismiss Tik Tok as a fledgling platform without value for consumer research. Understanding how Tik Tok users feature brands and brand-relevant content in these short videos is particularly important for reaching a younger audience that responds to social media influencers and user-generated product reviews rather than traditional marketing campaigns.

But how can brands sort through the mass of content on Tik Tok to gain actionable consumer insights? One approach involves sentiment analysis, an AI-based social listening tool that identifies the emotions underlying social media posts.

Sentiment analysis recognizes and analyzes emotions and opinions featured in text or images. This is extremely valuable for Tik Tok-based consumer research, as Tik Tok videos often consist of both videos and captions.

Social media analytics platforms such as NetBase Quid can analyze these videos to provide a Net Sentiment score that reveals whether the response is positive or negative and how strong the emotional response tends to be. Brands can sort this data based on different demographics and audience segments to identify market gaps and lock into the conversations already featuring their products.   

2.)   Instagram Users Look to Stories To Learn About Brands

Instagram Stories are becoming a popular way for brands to generate creative content that connects with their audience. Similar to Snapchat, these stories offer collections of short video clips that disappear after 24 hours. Brands use stories to feature consumers that love their brand, connect with influencers, and even create polls and quizzes about the brand.

Using Instagram Stories, brands can actively engage with their consumers and reach out to a larger audience with strategies such as hashtag challenges that feature a new product or campaign. Understanding how Instagram users respond to these strategies and feature a brand’s product in their own stories is particularly valuable in influencing future strategic decisions for marketing campaigns.

3.)   Reddit Remains an Overlooked Source of Consumer Insight

Reddit is often not included in the same conversation as more prominent platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter in the consumer research conversation, but it is a platform with unique value.

Because Reddit posts are longer and entirely text-based, they are a prime target for text-based sentiment analysis. While Reddit posts are not as frequent as those on other platforms, they tend to be more detailed, and many consumers turn to Reddit as a trusted source of authentic user perspectives on a product or service. Brands should not be ignoring this opportunity to identify potential consumer issues to remedy and consumer values to emphasize.

And Reddit’s user numbers are significant. In 2021 the platform revealed that it had 430 million active users, which put it ahead of Twitter’s user numbers at the time.

Consumer Research is Evolving With Social Media

We have long passed the point of questioning social media’s relevance to consumer research. Social media is a primary means of understanding consumer behavior. But social media is also an evolving space, with new players emerging and usage habits shifting with the release of new features on existing platforms.As social media continues to evolve, brands need to make sure that their approach to consumer research evolves alongside it, and this requires keeping an active eye on how the social media landscape is changing.

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