Tool uses blogs, social networks for market research

The scope of market research is expanding from focus groups and the analysis of consumer buying patterns to combing through blogs and social networks.

Umbria Inc. today unveiled Umbria Tribe Analysis, which can analyze online content to help marketers understand the common interests of "tribes," or groups organizing themselves on the Web according to common interests.

The tool, now in beta, will analyze blogs, online social networks, message boards and other Internet forums where users express likes, dislikes and conceptions about products and services, Umbria said.

Aggregating this content from bloggers who are discussing a topic, and applying demographic segmentation techniques, can help marketers uncover new insights into the shared habits and preferences of a group, according to the company.

"Imagine the power of understanding what common interests are shared by supporters of a political candidate, or an entertainment genre, or a product," Howard Kaushansky, Umbria's president and founder, said in a statement. "Tribe allows us to now uncover the common threads which bind groups together."

The tool is expected to be generally available in the second half of this year.

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