eCommerce Product Review Vs. Social&Media UGC Monitoring: 9 things that make the difference

Thursday, July 4th, 2019


As eCommerce product reviews are the newest type of user generated content (UGC) that is gaining more and more traction among consumer brands and companies, the confusion around how one could bring them in one place has already been instilled.

Accustomed to traditional social channel and media monitoring (S&MM) — like Facebook and Instagram comments, Twitter posts, blogs, forums and e-magazines — and how these services measure the noise around a topic, many companies that reach out to FeedCheck express their needs for aggregating their product reviews across all” the eCommerce sites in the US and Europe where customers leave their feedback on.

Since their early beginnings, S&MM tech providers have made a big promise to the market: that they would capture and aggregate in one place brand names and related keywords that were mentioned by people “all over the Internet”. Wherever selected names and keywords were mentioned, these S&MM tools would bring in excerpts from the text containing them and notify you.

Covering hundreds of websites around the world or in a country sounded nicely to marketers’ ears and created the confidence that nothing would be missed out when monitoring the Internet with these tools.

But who has the time and resources to check and validate that, every single day of service, further from a hand of relevant social platforms and media sites? Actually, nobody, but the term “all” has been ingrained deeply in users’ minds and more often than not it is part of brands’ requirements when it comes to eCommerce review monitoring too. Therefore, every time it comes up it requires a contextual definition.

Lately, some of these providers have modestly been mentioning that they can bring in product reviews too. Which they may do so but in a way that is far from what product review consistent monitoring means for brands that need to understand and measure their in-store customer voice and its impact on their brand and products’ reputation, and future sales. At most, they might bring in a mention or two captured from the most recent page of an eCommerce website where a few reviews were posted, which is perfectly in line with their value proposition after all. Just that by simply mentioning product reviews as part of their Internet monitoring area, brands and product companies may get it wrong.

Let’s talk below about the mechanics behind by looking at the differences between Social & Media and eCommerce product review monitoring tools and services:

#1 – Content type

First of all, the type of content and sources monitored by these two types of tools are radically different:

eCommerce – The monitored sources are eCommerce websites that follow a specific pattern where the monitored content is present in the form of reviews and is distinct from the rest of the site’s content.

S&MM – The monitored sources and the content itself are unstructured and the content can be placed anywhere. Due to that, only excerpts of certain lengths from the whole text are captured by the S&MM tools.

#2 – Content value through context clarity

Content is king, as many say, but the context is key!

eCommerce – When aggregating what people talk about your brand, products and other related topics, the context in which they do that is essential. How can a clear context be better captured than when full product reviews are brought in? From all the written content out there in the media space, eCommerce product reviews provide the most clearer context to marketers looking for actionable insights.

S&MM – Besides posts and reactions to them in the form of comments, that often deviate from the original post, only excerpts from the text containing the pre-defined keywords are brought in by the S&MM tools. Hence, an accurate context may not always be captured this way.


#3 – Authenticity

Who generates the content makes it more or less authentic.

eCommerce – Product reviews are mostly generated by real customers who have been verified by the eCommerce sites based on their previous purchase of the reviewed product. Hence, the reviewers share authentic experiences with the reviewed brands, products and related topics.

S&MM – Here, the authors are usually unknown which puts a poor credibility veil over the content’s authenticity.

Actually, so far, the term UGC – user generated content – has said it all. But CGC – customer generated content – is gaining more and more interest and expands brands’ attention towards the eCommerce media space.


#4 – Content sales impact

Which content is likely to impact more your daily sales?

Both types of content are important as each of them impacts the future customers at different points in time throughout their journey. But product reviews have become the most powerful ones.

eCommerce – From all the content out there, product reviews are located on a strategic place on a product page, right next to the shopping cart. Therefore, the latest product reviews and average ratings make or break visitors’ final decision on their way to checkout.

S&MM – Comments and blog posts are far from the acquisition moment and place, but may have their importance during the preliminary product research phase.


#5 – Data accuracy

How do you measure the accuracy of data coming in?

eCommerce – The eCommerce product reviews space is easily measurable. At any time, one can verify whether all product reviews have been brought in.

S&MM – This type of content is more volatile than product reviews. It’s also hard to validate whether all mentions have been brought in for a certain period of time.


#6 – Number and quality of websites monitored

As mentioned earlier, it’s nice to have the whole Internet under the loop, but what is really behind that wording?

eCommerce – While the eCommerce space is growing fast, it’s pretty simple to decide which websites should be monitored for a brand or company depending on its business domain, online retail presence and review volumes.

S&MM – There may be hundreds of websites covered for each and every consumer brand but only a few will produce relevant results.


#7 – Monitoring product reviews

What does product review monitoring means for each of these tools?

eCommerce – eCommerce product reviews are a special breed, having their own complexities unlike the content of a social or generic media site. Products and their reviews are displayed following eCommerce sites’ specific patterns and monitoring them requires going deep into all product variants and how reviews are organized for each of them.

S&MM – A more accurate definition for the media monitoring tools that say they monitor reviews would be “in-review keyword monitoring”. That means that only excerpts from product reviews displayed on the most recent eCommerce sites’ pages and that contain the respective mentions, might be brought in.


#8 – Who is it for

eCommerce – Product review monitoring tools are for everyone in a company, from marketing, sales and customer support to R&D, product management and manufacturing as the voice of customers impacts everyone’s work.

S&MM – Marketing and PR departments are usually the only ones interested in mentions across social and media channels.


#9 – Technology differences

Last but not least, each of these two domains, eCommerce and Social & Media, requires different type of technology platforms for managing and analysing the respective content that, as we saw above, has its own characteristics.


As we can see, “all” comes from the S&MM value propositions that aim to assure brands of the maximum Internet coverage these tools can offer. In reality,

  • not all Internet websites are monitored
  • not all monitored websites are relevant to a brand

and that applies to the eCommerce space in particular.


That’s why at FeedCheck we first look at defining what “all” means for each of our customers and approach our eCommerce review monitoring projects by identifying:

  • what are you trying to solve by keeping your ears and eyes on your product reviews
  • who benefits from that and how
  • what eCommerce sites do you think have been relevant so far to your business
  • which products do you have in mind for monitoring their reviews

If you’re wondering what and how your customers talk about your products, let’s find out what “all” means for you and start from there.



Cover Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

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