Introducing Delicious Tag Mining for Brand Research: A Look at the Top 50 Retailers

In my previous experience in the world of traditional marketing and advertising, I remember conducting a marketing plan and evaluating a brand’s current category position. In this exercise, we often associated words/adjectives with the way the brand was currently viewed in the minds of consumers, and contrasted this with the adjectives that the brand wanted associated with its name. In its totality this exercise was an eye opening experience, but often I felt as if the words chosen were filtered, chosen by marketing executives who often had little interaction with customers.

So what if companies knew the associations that their customers were having with their brands? What if they understood the ways that people described their company, or knew exactly what type of category that customers grouped them into? Perhaps these brand exercises would be a little more accurate, and perhaps a company would know more about the direction its brand and marketing should take.

So let me introduce a new research technique for both social media marketers and traditional marketers alike: Delicious Tag Mining.

This has been one of my latest re-discoveries. I have always appreciated the ability to bookmark on a personal level, but until one of my reports never thought of the application for using the data as a marketer until I was searching a particular URL and noticed the quantitative and qualitative data there was available. So to demonstrate some of the data available, I’ve taken a look at some of the top retailers in 2008 (based on research from SAP).

Quantitative Data Available on Delicious:

The first and rather obvious type of data available on delicious is quantitative, by taking a look at the total number of “saves” and the number of “notes”. As you can see from my list of the top 50 retailers, this varies dramatically by retailer, and while there wasn’t a correlation with the retailer rank as I was hoping for, I suspect that the companies with strong e-commerce or valuable blog content are more likely to have users save links. What does this mean for your company? Take a look and see how your company is faring with your competitor, and then take a look at their site and see what links people are saving. To give you an idea of how the top 50 retailers are faring, I’ve compiled the following list (which has probably changed already).


The above chart shows a complete list of the total saves and notes per retailer in the top 50 list, but perhaps what is more compelling is taking a look at the competitors in the top 100 retailers list. Below shows the competitor data, which shows that some of the higher ranked companies had a higher number of saves and notes.


Qualitative Data Available on Delicious:

Perhaps one of the most valuable but often overlooked data available on Delicious are the tags and notes by retailer. These are quick glimpses into the words and phrases associated with a brand, and are valuable in determining the brand associations your customers have with your company. To demonstrate the value in this, I’ve taken a side by side comparison of competing retailers (in the top 50):

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In comparison, you can see that Barnes & Noble has trumped Borders in sheer number of tags. What I think is more interesting is that “music” was within the top 5 tags for both retailers. This could mean an opportunity for these companies to notice an area of potential new business growth.

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It’s no surprise that Best Buy has more tags than Circuit City, but the tag “Compras” for Circuit City shows that the store may have had an untapped target market of Hispanics it wasn’t aware of.

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From the outside, Costco and BJ’s seem like very similiar membership-based clubs, but in the minds of consumers, BJ’s seems to be known for specialties like financing or its discounts for children’s items.

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Between AT&T and Verizon there are slight differences, like “flash” and “technology” associated with AT&T. This could be a reflection of AT&T’s partnership with Apple with the iPhone.

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Clearly, Auto Zone has surpassed Advance Auto in both Delicious tags and ranking as a retailer.

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Even though JC Penney and Belk have very small number of tags, the descriptions of both are interesting. “Plus Size Clothing”, and “Registry” are related to Belk’s brand, and JC Penney’s tag have “Jewelry” and “Bed”, which could show differentiators between the two department stores.

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Both Trader Joes and Whole Foods have similar tags, which show that these two stores are considered similar in the minds of customers. This also is reflected in the category position of the two retailers, with Whole Foods at rank 53 and Trader Joe’s at category position 54.

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Both Dollar General and Family Dollar have a low amount of tags associated, probably due to the fact that neither are large online retailers. Even still, we can see that both have similar branding.

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An interesting finding between these two retailers is that “Staples” as a brand name is associated within tags, while “Office Depot” is not. This could mean that Staples has developed higher brand awareness within its target audience than Office Depot.

Any additional thoughts to this concept you would like to add? Please share in the comments below!

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