Atomik Research

The Creative Market Research People


Specialist Panels

‘Trackers’ unveil consumer behaviour and brand perception

Evolutionary pressures are an ever-present component of modern consumer markets.

Businesses today have to adapt to survive in a landscape where the only constant is change. Social media and various other online channels have made the corporate environment of today almost unrecognisable to what it was ten years ago, placing renewed demand on market research techniques which reveal consumer trends and habits.

Longitudinal studies are increasingly being considered as a way of gauging market progression, anticipating change in consumer demand or behaviour and spotting key trends as they emerge. By conducting research over a period of time, businesses can uncover a rich pool of data to inform your decision making process and build deep consumer insights.

Not only can longitudinal studies track certain consumer behaviours, but companies can also ask questions about the brand and how it is perceived by consumers. Even the long-term impact of marketing campaigns can be put to the test, providing a more effective way of judging ROI.

Trackers are a wonderfully insightful way of achieving longitudinal insight, but what are they, and how are they being used?

Consumer Trackers

Consumer trackers allow businesses to monitor changes in behaviours over a period of time. These studies are usually conducted by targeting a specific market and posting questions to them on a monthly basis on what they are buying, where, when and how etc… It’s a good idea to include at least one attitudinal question, which work well as a news hook, if the brand desires to use the research in such a way.

  • What should be tracked?

Consumer trackers generally monitor specific products or lifestyles. By honing in on precise details it’s easier to establish trends. An example of this would be to monitor how many times someone purchased a fizzy drink over a month, or several months.

  • When and who to track?

Seasonality can sometimes play a role in deciding when to track people. A manufacturer of ice creams might want to monitor consumer trends throughout the summer, for example, whereas a hot chocolate brand might be more interested in analysing how people act during winter months.

Brand Trackers

Brand perception is crucial in today’s economy, and businesses allocate substantial resources to building a social media following and getting their name recognised with very little in return in the way of measurable ROI.

  • What should be tracked?

Brand trackers differ considerably to consumer trackers in terms of what is being monitored. The first thing to ascertain is the awareness of the brand through recall and recognition. The usage of the brand can then be measured through recency (frequency of usage) and total spending in the brand and product category. Other things to track are brand attitudes and perceptions and purchase intent, which can change significantly after the consumer has been exposed to marketing.

  • When and who to track?

Tracking brand perception should be a bespoke study with a demographic in mind. It’s impossible to gain real insight from holistic studies, so track the specifics. Most brands choose to monitor current and prospective customers and analyse how their brand is perceived on both sides of the fence.

Marketing ROI

Tracker studies can be used to validate the ROI of campaigns, monitoring the long-term impact on consumers in terms of how they perceive the brand and how it has impacted their purchasing patterns. Thanks to the wealth of data longitudinal studies dig up, marketing performance can be monitored by judging the before and after effect it has.

Why Trackers?

Trackers offer a means of moving along with evolutionary pressures, rather than being crushed by them. As new technologies and capabilities are introduced to the market, conducting longitudinal studies is the best way of staying ahead of the crowd, offering insights into where the market is likely to go, rather than where it is now.