May 17, 2023

Turning Consumer Reviews into Something Useful

Date & Time (GMT):
May 17, 2023 12:47 PM
Date & Time (EST):
May 17, 2023 12:47 PM

There’s nothing quite like the experiences of real consumers to tell you how well your product is going down.

But how do you get at these in a way that’s actually useful?

There are the usual sources:

- Sales data and Neilson rankings (stat based, lots of ‘whats’ not many whys’).
- Surveys and focus groups (expensive to find actual users, the time delay between product experience and the research).
- Feedback from your channel partners and sales team, or calls to your service desk (hostage to anecdote, we all know about that one customer who’s experience quickly became the instigator, evidence and catalyst for change).

These signals can be confusing, out of date or just wrong. Which makes it that much harder to learn from your successes or know what needs tweaking.

We believe in-market product insight should be based on more than this. It should give innovation, product and marketing teams the insight they need to know what to do next. To spot new opportunities, develop the right feature set and tell a compelling story.


Social data (and particularly consumer reviews) are the key to unlocking this – it turns the experiences of thousands of consumers into something you can actually do something with.

Social media works because it gives voice to two powerful self-interests:

- We all want to get the best bang for our buck, and
- We like to share what we know and help others out.

You only need to look at the number of reviews on Amazon, or TripAdvisor to see how mainstream this has become.

This has shifted the way we buy. There’s a new normal for buying something for the first time: search, compare, read the reviews / watch the videos to get a sense of the detail. We value the views and experiences of people ‘like us’, rather than just the opinions of brands or ‘influencers’ who have a more commercial set of motivations.

It’s the detail that helps us make the choice. It helps make something intangible (product specs, price) into something experiential (how it feels, how it works). There are lots of headphones on the market, among all the noise – how do you choose the one for you?

What makes social data special is that it captures the opinions of customers using and experiencing the product – in their own terms. It’s this in-the-moment, natural quality that makes it so powerful.

How to…

The reviews that people leave (either written or videos) are an incredibly rich source of experiential and emotional insight about how your product is performing in-market.

They talk about why they buy, what they need and how it’s all working out for them. There’s so much here that it’s worth approaching it properly.

It’s a mix of smart tech to help find and process the data (visual and verbal), with in-depth, qualitative analysis that to appreciate what people are saying and understand what this all means to you. All at a scale which provides robust evidence to counter anecdote and opinion – providing a clear way forward.

This work helps you to understand:

1. Who are your customers?
2. Why have they bought your product?
3. What benefits are they looking to get?
4. Did they get what they were expecting?
5. When are they reviewing their experience?
6. What delights, what frustrates?
7. What’s missing?

This understanding helps you to assess your own product’s performance, but also understand:

1. How your product compares to your competition.
2. The needs of different segments and how these change across international markets.


In-market analysis brings the opinions of thousands of consumers together to provide:

1. Robust evidence of where a product sits in the market, what’s working, what’s not, and where the opportunities are.
2. A sense of where the innovation potential is in any category, by identifying the gaps, understanding the unmet needs and spotting what’s new.
3. Clear direction and inspiration for creative and comms teams on how to reach, talk to and engage customers in a compelling way.

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