Case Study: Social Listening

Understanding the user behind the screen

Client Overview

A large, multinational FMCG company tasked SI to use Big Data to investigate the real-life consumption patterns of an emerging nutraceutical. While our client had anecdotal evidence of how these products were being consumed, there is still very little research on this nascent, but quickly evolving segment.

Therefore, by elucidating consumer-product interaction we aimed to unpick the user experience to better inform strategy in this market


The global consumption of vitamins, minerals and supplements is on the rise. This is especially evident in the US where of the almost 80% of the population who take them, a third have increased consumption since the COVID-19 pandemic, including nearly half of Millenials*.

Given the incredible speed at which the industry moves – often driven by consumers seeking information from other consumers – SI was asked to investigate how these products were actually being consumed, and crucially, how consumers felt about them.


Our Approach

1. Data scrape: A highly detailed brief was created with the client to determine geographies, products and product attribute categories of interest. Relevant data sources from eCommerce, social media and forums were then hand-picked and fed into a cutting-edge text analytics platform that combines AI, natural language processing and proprietary ontologies to identify emotions and bring meaning to unstructured text.

2. Analysis: Only when the platform’s themes and lenses were tweaked did data analysis commence. ‘Humans in the loop’ from the SI team ensured the relevance and accuracy of findings, but importantly picked up any ‘weak signals’ hinting at the new normal of tomorrow.

Previously unknown consumption patterns unearthed included:

    • WHAT: Product type, brand and strength
    • WHERE: At home or on the go
    • WHEN: Time of day and routines
    • WHY: Motivations and effects sought
    • HOW: Consumption frequency and dosage

Additionally, intangible factors such as Hero and Zero products, sentiments throughout user journeys, pain points and unmet needs were identified.

3. Strategic recommendations

Supported by our real-life data, SI were able to present recommendations on specific product attributes and newly identified personas for our client to remain on top of their game.

Outcomes: Outside of the biased confines of focus groups and intervention studies, social listening allows us to investigate how products are consumed, in real time AND in real life. As a result, we were able to produce one of the first and largest bodies of evidence investigating this nascent market.

Moving forward: Our insights are presently informing our client’s product development strategies, and plans are in place to track this quickly evolving space over time to note, and agilely act upon any changes to consumption patterns and user experience.

Conclusion: In employing our text analytics platform, social listening achieves breadths and depths not possible in focus groups and intervention studies. But the real value lies in our highly-skilled ‘humans in the loop’ who turn Big Data into actionable insights.