Herbal Supplement Industry and Online Conversational Research
The following is an analysis of the online conversations from social media sites, industry blogs, review sites, forms, news sites, and top websites. The data was extracted using proprietary linguistic technologies developed by Focalytic. This summary report provides a snapshot of the online conversations currently taking place that are associated with several of the largest herbal products companies in the herbal supplement and nutraceutical industry.
The basis of the ‘focalytic’ approach is best summarized by this mantra: “Words are defined by the neighbors they keep.” Words that fall within close proximity of a company name, for example, are typically used in conversation to describe or define it such as “Apple is a fantastic company” or “Apple stinks”. Focalytic scours millions of online conversations associated with a company name, brand, phrase, or term and measures these associations. Statistical analysis is then run and the data is quantified. This report highlights a sampling of some of the metrics used by Focalytic.
Conversation Share is a measure of the amount of conversation taking place related to a specific topic. For example a blog post may mention “herb supplements” and “weight loss” in the same sentence, or someone may tweet about “herb use” and “skin care”. Each mention is counted and the share of online conversation is measured. A higher share of online conversation generally correlates to higher interest among consumers.
For this study we looked at five topics related to herbs: Health Care, Nutrition, Skin, Sports, and Weight. As can be seen from the graph to the left, conversations about Health Care and Sports are the most frequently associated topics with the word “herb” from among the five topics analyzed.
Differentiating Features ranks the conversation volume regarding specific features. It is similar to the Conversation Share metric but takes a more detailed look at the features associated with each of the five topics. For example, an online conversation may state “I doubt herb supplements help with weight loss”. In this case the word “weight” is associated with “doubt”, contributing to its total percentage. Because people tend to discuss topics of interest to them, this is a good measure of what features may be strong competitive differentiators or opportunities for product development.
Although there is a great deal of conversation taking place about Health Care very little of it is feature related. When it comes to features Nutrition and Weight are discussed the most often. Conversations tend to focus on terms associated with “quantity”, “responsibility”, and words related to “time” such as “I need to lose weight now”.
Price Conversation is a measure of the online conversations related to point of purchase and the five topics.
For the herbal supplement industry as a whole conversations associated with the terms Price and Expense dominate conversations. Online conversations related to Expense are especially prevalent when discussing Skin Care, and conversations related to Price dominate discussions related to Health Care when associated with herb use. It should be noted that pricing terms related to Rebate and Refund were also examined, but the amount of conversations associated with these terms was negligible and therefore not included.
Emotional Focus measures eight different emotions. Each emotional element on the graph sits across from its polar opposite. Several synonyms help define each emotion. For example, “Trust” is also associated with “confidence” and “rely on”. The term “Admiration” is associated with “love”, “appreciate”, and “thankful”. Each company, brand, phrase or term should be considered with regard to not only which emotions are the strongest, but also the volume. If a term has a small amount of emotion associated with it then conversations are likely being driven more by factual statements such as “Costco is having a sale on herbal products for weight loss”, rather than emotive statements like “I trust skin care products from Costco”.
Conversations associated with Health Care and Sports are largely factual in nature when discussing herbal supplements and register little emotion. There is some emotion regarding Skin Care and a notable amount of emotion associated with conversations about Nutrition and Weight.
The emotions of Doubt (“I don’t expect”, “I don’t think”), Annoyance (“It upsets me”, “I don’t like”), Optimism (“I hope”, “I expect”) and Joy (“Makes me happy”, “It’s wonderful”) all register as strong with regard to Weight and Nutrition. Because these emotions are both positive and negative there is a lot of opinion associated with them.
Sellers/Promoters vs. Users/Buyers simply looks at the amount of online conversation that is driven by people or companies selling products vs. the amount of online conversation that is driven by people buying products.