Marketing & PR

Broad topic monitoring: Unveil market trends and audience insights to inform your marketing strategy


Your brand does not exist in a vacuum. All kinds of external forces - from general industry trends to celebrity gossip to international news - affect the way consumers interact with your products or services. Therefore, a clever marketer does not limit themselves to monitoring of their own brand or the competition, but also invests in broad market monitoring and analysis.

Tetiana Kutsa

Tetiana Kutsa

Chief Marketing Officer

12 November 2019

Experienced marketers know all about the importance of keeping abreast of any conversation about their brand - whether these discussions are incited by a new product or campaign launch, or happen unprompted based on the brand's impact on the consumers' everyday lives. This is why social media monitoring is essential to any modern marketers' toolbox, a topic we have covered at length before.

However, your brand does not exist in a vacuum. All kinds of external forces - from general industry trends to celebrity gossip to international news - affect the way consumers interact with your products or services. Therefore, a clever marketer does not limit themselves to monitoring of their own brand or the competition, but also invests in broad market monitoring and analysis.

What is broad topic monitoring and how it can help your brand monitoring efforts

Broad topic monitoring can range from tracking online public discussions around a specific industry (for example, the international pharmaceutical market) to monitoring entire geographic locations (for example, the entirety of the U.S., or all of North America). Depending on your brand's target audience and brand presence regionally, your broad monitoring can be as niche or as general as you desire.

Taking a wider glance at prevalent conversations in your area of interest allows you to learn more about the general consumer trends in that region or industry. For example, you can uncover certain topics that are popular on social media among specific demographics in any given region, like the fact that 18 to 24-year-old female users are particularly interested in Instagram and YouTube beauty tutorials, while 25 to 34-year-old female users are more likely to follow mommy blogs and seek parenting advice. You can also compare different regions and demographics to one another, to see if the trends hold in different geographical locations in similar audiences.

Whatever your consumer insights needs are, YouScan's new broad monitoring solution can address them. Broad topic monitoring allows you to seek out general trends and use these novel insights to inform your marketing strategy.

How broad topic monitoring works

But don't take our word for it - take a look at some concrete examples of the kinds of valuable information that can be gleaned from broad topic monitoring of all publicly available online content in the state of California.

In the Analytics section of this broad topic, as with other YouScan mention streams, we can learn about the audience demographics, the most popular social media platforms, and the most common objects or activities that appear in photos related to your monitoring subject, among other things.

In this case, since the scope of our monitoring includes all public social media discussions published by authors in California, our Visual Insights will reveal common objects and activities in written and visual content that has been geotagged as originating in the Golden State.


Majority of mentions from 18-24-year-olds, nearly double the number of the next most active age group - 25-34

Visual Insights' most popular objects, scenes and people:


Predictably, for California - home to Hollywood, Coachella and Goop - there is a lot of content related to crowds, entertainment, music artists, athletes and various sports, and modelling. For scenes, the most prominent bubbles are related to the same activities and people: beauty, fashion, art, performance, sports.

Let's examine an example of how these general California insights can be useful. So far, we have learned that the most active audience online are 18-24-year-olds who post about entertainment, fitness and beauty. If you are a new youth decorative beauty brand looking to break into the fairly saturated California market, these insights can help you find what kind of related content already resonates with this active audience.

From a brief look at the "beauty" scene in Visual Insights section of our broad topic monitoring from California, we can already notice some decorative makeup trends.


Based on your search, you have a good visual sample of certain makeup trends existing among the California market.

You can zoom out even further and see if the same trends hold across the country. In order to do that, you will have to do a broad monitoring query for social media content out of the United States.

Taking a look at the Analytics,we can see that 18 to 24-year-olds still make up the most active demographic.


Diving into the "beauty" scene of Visual Insights from across the U.S., we see a slightly different look among decorative makeup trends.


Use broad topic monitoring to uncover consumer insights

To bring it all back to our example of a youth beauty brand looking to expand into new regions: how can these very broad insights inform our action plan?

First, let's take a look at the demographics and popular platforms. Knowing the age group of the most active audience online in a given region allows you to adjust your online marketing strategy accordingly. So if your target audience consists of 18-24-year-olds in the United States, you are likely to find many of them on Instagram and YouTube, while those with a target audience of 50 and older should look for other marketing routes. Similarly, if you are looking to cater to the 18-24 demographic in California specifically, it would be wise to invest your efforts into Instagram and Twitter instead of YouTube, as those platforms are most popular in that specific state.

As for the visual analysis of social media content in these broad topics, the Visual Insights present a kind of color story for the regions: many makeup looks feature full lashes and bold brows, but while across the country you may see more pops of color in the eyeshadow, content from California features more pastel and blush tones. Therefore, a decorative makeup brand might want to consider more muted tones of eyeshadow palettes for its California customers.

Use broad topic monitoring to track discussion and sentiment of current events

Let's examine a completely different example of the benefits of broad topic monitoring, which reviews the influence of current events on discussions in a specific geographic region.

Effects of the international conversation around climate change have been felt in nearly every industry in every part of the world. We can see an excellent example of this ripple effect in the broad monitoring results of public online discussions in the U.S.: Swedish activist Greta Thunberg's recent journey from the U.K. to the United States caused a splash in the news media and social media:


We can observe two significant spikes in discussion around Aug. 28 and Sept. 23, the day of Thunberg's arrival in New York and the day of the activist's speech at the UN Climate Action Summit. We can examine the sentiment around the discussion and chronicle how long the issue stays in the public forum - as you can see, the conversation stays strong through Sept. 27, the day of the global climate strike in which Thunberg was an active participant, and starts to die down after.

Similarly, we can use the same sample - all public online discussions geotagged for the United States - to track the impact of the Democractic presidential candidate debates. By searching by "debate" keyword, we can easily pinpoint the dates the debates took place from looking at this graph:


If you wanted to dive deeper into the kinds of conversations that took place around the debates online in the U.S., you can check out the associated word cloud or look at the distribution of sentiment across different posts.


Tracking major current events, as we did in the examples above, is important to avoid getting lost in the news cycle. For example, if you happen to have a branded campaign launch planned for a day of a major protest or a political event, it might be worth rescheduling to avoid the risk of appearing tone-deaf or getting lost in the noise generated by the news.

Benefits of broad topic monitoring

The possibilities of broad monitoring are endless: you can use it for competitor analysis, to see which brands are popular among certain demographics in a given region; you can use galleries from a specified region to make up color stories for fashion and beauty marketing; you can use it to monitor trending discussions in a region to find situational marketing opportunities; and much, much more. The trick is to keep an open mind and not shy away from playful creativity.

Want to try broad topic monitoring in your region? Reach out to your YouScan Customer Success representative today to request this feature.

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