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How can you measure the impact of social media programs?

Social Listening Manages Consumer Perceptions

Business Challenge

With the rapid increase of social media, consumers frequently post their thoughts and feelings about products and companies in online venues. In turn, shoppers researching products often seek out those opinions, also known as Consumer Generated Media (CGM) when making buying decisions. While CGM can provide companies with a rich source of consumer intelligence, it can also be difficult to work with the unstructured data and extract relevant insights without the right tools and analytic expertise.

This is why a pet food manufacturer which had recently issued a product recall turned to us to utilize our expertise in gathering and analyzing CGM data to uncover consumers’ perceptions of their brand and determine what actions may be necessary to bolster their brand.


Our analysts partnered with our client to determine the scope of analysis – understand the timeline of the recall and indentify key competitors. Then we identified the relevant social media sites such as internet forums, blogs, wikis and discussion lists, as well as private data sources for our client – customer emails or website feedback.

Eavesdrop™, Fractal Analytic’s proprietary tool which records the regular chatter between consumers on social media sites, was used to extract and categorize the CGM data. This information was then classified as positive or negative themes and compared to competitors both pre- and post-recall. We further analyzed the data to understand what criteria was most important to consumers in purchasing pet food and overlaid this with our client’s perceived strengths and weaknesses relative to the competition.

Shoppers researching products often use CGM when making buying decisions.

  • Online recommendations are trusted more than traditional media
  • Online opinion makers present unbiased, unsolicited, analyzable, quantitative feedback in a natural environment
  • Online feedback is freely available for research purposes across many brands/topics
  • Data is rich (with time stamps, profiles, images etc.
  • The feedback is interactive and companies can influence it


We discovered that pet’s response, general health and quality were the top criteria guiding choice of pet food. Our client had good perceptions in terms of general health and age-specific food. Our evaluation of CGM provided the client with actionable recommendations to help address their perceived weaknesses and better promote their strengths.


CPG manufacturer (this client has requested anonymity)


Seeks to repair brand image following product recall


Eavesdrop™, proprietary social media listening tool


Gained consumer insights into brand strengths and ability to address perceived weaknesses