Media Alerts / Story Ideas

Week of June 20, 2011

Published on June 20, 2011

NEED TO SPOT A TREND? TRY GOOGLE.

As social media becomes more commonplace for everyone from tweens to grandparents, companies are looking for ways to quantify consumer activity on websites like Twitter, Facebook, blogs and search engines. A host of online consumer interest tracking measures already exist, but a marketing professor from the University of Houston Bauer College says there’s a better way.

Associate Professor Rex Du has co-authored a new study on “quantitative trendspotting” that is receiving accolades from the academic community, earning the 2011 Best Paper award at the American Marketing Association’s Advanced Research Techniques Forum.

“Our research shows that if somehow common trends can be distilled from a large set of those tracking measures, their collective explanatory power and insights can increase dramatically,” Du says. For example, the researchers found that on average, 73 percent of fluctuations in new car sales in the U.S. market can be explained by seven common trends behind the ups and downs of consumer online searches for 38 major car brands.

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