Market Research Trends
This guide is an overview of Internet sources that monitor the key trends of the target market that comprises young men and women aged 15-25.
Trend Watching Sites
Developing the Process
Trend Watching Sites
PSFK is a collaborative trend spotting site run by a team of contributors in Europe, the US, Australia and Asia. It is run as a community of trend spotters,futurists,forward-thinking-individuals and cool hunters in Fashion, Design, Advertising, IT, Government, Art, You-Name-It around the world. Sightings of trends are fed to a group of main site editors who then may or may not publish them on the site.
- Trend Watching.com
"A monthly, opinionated consumer trends newsletter, relying on a global network of 4,000 spotters, working hard to deliver shivers and inspiration to more than 75,000 professionals in 120+ countries worldwide." It invites contributions from anyone. Ideas are paid for if they are used.
"The world's leading online research, trend analysis, and news service for the fashion and style industries." A very strong site for trend watchers, but one which requires an expensive subscription.
Important aspects of youth culture involve gadgets and technology, music, and travel and lifestyle. Therefore, the following are popular and influential technology news sites, along with titles that feature sector-specific news, in terms of more lifestyle based issues.
- Wired News.com
"Wired News covers the latest developments in technology, how the forces of politics and business react to those developments, and how mass culture and various subcultures respond."
"Slashdot has stumbled forward with the simple mission to provide 'News for Nerds. Stuff that Matters'. The majority of the work is done by readers who use the Submission Form to send in the stories that are posted every day.
Influential technology review site.
- Yahoo! Music
A site that features the ability to download music, videos, ringtones, etc. All the features, news, reviews, and biographies you read on Yahoo! Music are written by members of the music journalism community. The bylines of Yahoo! Music writers have appeared in major music magazines, including Rolling Stone, Spin, Vibe, Musician, Billboard, and Guitar..
A quirkier and more independent site than Yahoo! Music. Also features record and track reviews, feature stories, and music downloads.
Developing alongside conventional online media sites are weblogs or blogs. The classic definition of these sites is that they are personal online journals, often including links and commentary relating to other websites. But these experiments in online self-publishing are fast morphing into media properties in their own right. Accurate audience is hard to come by for most blogs but it seems a reasonable assumption that they will appeal to a young and savvy crowd. Hence their role as tastemakers is important.
There are blogs on just about any subject you can think of. Determine the ones you want to read as a useful complement to the subject areas you are already monitoring; that is technology, music, travel and lifestyle. Useful sites in this regard include:
"Travel Blog is a collection of travel journals, diaries, stories and photos from all around the world. The journals are added by real travellers, and recount real experiences and impressions from the places they visit."
- Ypulse: Media for the Next Generation
This blog offers commentary, links, and the latest sources of news and analysis on the needs, behaviors, values, and habits of teenagers and the younger Generation Y demographic. Created by a journalist who lives in San Francisco, and launched in May 2004. A lively, fun, and very informative source.
Developing the Process
There aren't any hard and fast rules governing how to identify trends. These are some of the methods you can develop to refine your approach to identifying trends both within the youth market and more broadly amid the myriad conversations occurring online.
Try this process:
- Quantify the topic
By analyzing the media content from the web sites listed above, you can come up with a list of "hot topics".
- Bands being mentioned were:
Kasabian and Bloc Party
- Gadgets being reviewed most:
Anything vaguely associated with Apple's iPod
- Places where people wanted to travel.
- Rank the topics by their popularity among consumers.
- Select newsgroups which are most likely to contain a high proportion of the 18-25 demographic.
rec.travel and alt.music (plus their associated sub-groups).
- Refine each topic into a search string and measure its popularity in terms of citation volume.
- Search Engine Behavior.
- Measure consumer likes and dislikes by looking in search engines. Fortunately for us, most web search engines provide at least a "Top 10 most popular search terms".
Google Zeitgeist and Yahoo! Buzz Index
- Determine what it costs to link keywords to particular search terms via Google's keyword advertising service.
(Even though these searches are for the whole of the web demographic, not the 15-25 age range, matching them against the specific topics identified above does provide useful information.)
This guide is based on an original feature article:
"Tracking Youth Trends On The Web" By Tim Houghton