Harvesting insights from digital silence

Have you ever wondered what people do on internet when they don’t talk? Meaning, when they don’t post or comment. Consider yourself for a minute, maybe you are part of the audience who does not feel like sharing opinions online. Besides, you might not even be tempted to like a post. Does it mean you are absent from internet? Not at all ! You are simply part of a silent audience. However, you still have an internet presence leaving your own footprint on the web. After all, even the most vocal of us, also have a silent footprint, and this footprint can be highly insightful. This article shows you how to understand your audience with search data.

Drop the Data Exhaustivity rush…

Since the arrival of social media, the conception of market research has widely evolved. So much so, that social listening and particularly social network listening have become a must to build global marketing, communication and even product development strategies.

Brands want to know, first and foremost, what people talk about? Indeed, the Holy Grail of this quest for online conversations was always exhaustivity. Getting everything, every single comment, article, and post. If this was never possible for technical reasons, 10 years ago, as social listening was starting to take off, we were certainly closer to exhaustivity than we are now.
Old Millennials will remember a time when the social media landscape was rather simple with Twitter, Facebook and the new kid on the block Instagram. And for a few years we were able to get a lot, until the arrival of RGPD and the new limitations imposed by the platform restricting the access to data. Add to the mix platform evolving fast, some becoming less certain, less stable and the heavy rise of video format and ephemeral content (reels, shorts, stories, etc.). Capturing conversations had been made harder and more expensive for brands, pushing them further from the exhaustivity dream.


The former wide access we had to conversations with a stable and concise online landscape made us forget that not everyone talks, and even more importantly not everyone talks all the time.

… Rather look for Data Accuracy

Beyond the conversations we may or may not have, we all leave a silent footprint. This footprint can be tracked and analyzed to garner insights.
Knowledge and insights were never dependent on exhaustivity. It was never about how many posts you get but rather what type of information you get. Weak signals for instance have proven their importance.

At Digital Insighters, we firmly believe in our holistic approach to insights, which we have been applying for our clients for several years. We integrate various types of data to achieve a more detailed view and a better understanding of the audiences we analyze.

Learn to find and read your audience digital footprint.

So, what do we look at?

We look at views, engagement, behaviors, and search.
It is not because you don’t talk that you don’t see, like, follow, search for, or read.

Also, note that all industries combined, we see volume of conversations globally decrease in favor of engagement. People might be less vocal but not less active or involved with the content they care about.

There for, there is something to learn in the fact that:

  • A topic might not generate strong volume but high engagement.
  • A post/pictures garners engagement.
  • An audience has certain interests (who they follow, what type of they channel they watch or radio/podcast they listen to, etc.)
  • Users might reveal informations in their bios.
  • A topic  generates multiple threads of conversation on reddit and in the number of visits these threads gets.
  • A topic is searched on google, amazon or Bing.

There is a bit of a science and a technic to read, cross and interpret this data. Digital Insighters developed its own methodology in studying consumers silent footprint and crossing it with their conversations.

The power of search data, Top 11 insights to leverage.

This data notably search data cross referenced with conversations has enabled us to enrich our analysis and understand specific problematics our clients were facing.
We were able to advise them on various porblematics.

Here are our top 11 ways to leverage search data :
  1. Real time feedback into what consumers are actively searching for, thus providing a dynamic view of current interests.
  2. Pain points consumers were having regarding a service, a leisure or a product for instance. Concerns, uncertainty, and fear about a products, a posology, etc.
  3. Knowledge gap, in existing content or information, revealing areas where users are seeking answers or solutions that are currently underserved.
  4. R&D inspiration / consumers’ whishes & expectations, if we find consumers are looking for a product a brand is not yet offering.
  5. Intent, analyzing items searched to helpe get a deeper knowledge on possible purchase intent.
  6. Main entry point when looking for your brand products (boutique, online reseller, v+towns, price, etc.)
  7. Owned content strategy advise.
  8. Paid content & targeting strategy advise.
  9. SEO strategy enhancement, by identifying high-volume keywords, assessing competition, and understanding user search behavior.
  10. Campaign tracking enhancement, by looking during the campaign period is products searches are boosted.
  11. Predictive Analytics, forecasting future trends, user behavior, or market dynamics based on historical search patterns.

Digital Insighters Conviction.

Looking at the silent footprint is one of the aspects of the holistic approach to insights. With some of our clients we can also go further by crossing other types of data such as field data from traffic, sales, market research, etc.

Our conviction is that conversations are only the tip of the iceberg and with new tools and technology we have now access to what was before invisible knowledge.
With these accesses we should no longer have a compartmentalized view of the data, building reports around data set, but we should have an approach and organization based on your questions and problematics as a brand.

Naturally, the brief was always the starting point, but it did not inform the structure of the study, data set did.

Our approach allows us to tell you the story of your consumers, not just the story of connecting data sets. And this story can only be complete if we consider the silent footprint of your consumers.

Finally, to reference a quote by JRR Tolkien : “All that is gold does not glitter, Not all those who wander are lost”, you could say that “All who speak does not rule, Not all those who are silent are absent”.