The URL: Getting To Know You

The URL. Uniform Resource Locator. A web address that typically includes the type of file, location of web server, path of the file and file name.

It’s easy to take the URL for granted and forget just how important a role the URL plays. Such is the case when monitoring consumer-generated word-of-mouth (WOM) and providing analytics that can be applied to solving complex business problems.  I’m not just referring to locating meaningful content but identifying sources that consumers consistently go to as part of their shopping process. 
  

In an earlier post, I alluded to the importance of the URL in identifying specific online forums, notably those that consumers went to for automotive reviews.   For example www.truckforums.com is a review site for truck enthusiasts. Other sites are specific to certain brands, product categories or applications.

At the analytic level, links can be classified this way: Segment/Mid-Size, Brand/Ford, Nameplate/Taurus, Competition/Toyota Camry, Attribute/Reliability. The key is to know which URLs generate most of the rich content. In effect, what is your “Top Ten” URL inventory? If you are using a monitoring service, have them provide a comprehensive URL list, in descending order of magnitude of brand conversations as classification data.

Some of the analytical applications might include knowing which brands or product categories are discussed the most on line and where; segmentation analysis of consumers who visit certain types of sites e.g. technical vs. lifestyle; comparing sentiment across sites to understand positive or negative drivers of brand perception. On the managerial side, knowing where brands are discussed most often on the web will provide insight into where consumers are exerting material influence.

This high level view just scratches the surface. Like being at the theatre, while we are focused on the stage, there’s a lot more going on behind the scenes.

– Ted Morris, 4ScreensCRM
                                                                                                                                                               
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