Feb 23, 2022

Catching Big Fish in a Little Pond


How controlling the pool of observation can supercharge trend forecasting by keeping foresight rooted in the future and relevant to real emerging consumer needs


Trend Forecasting today requires a special blend of accuracy, confidence, and discretion. Take a behind-the-scenes look at how our data-driven, AI-powered focus on only the most innovative consumers, experts, and early adopters allows us to confidently stay a step ahead of the trends on the horizon.

Finding the Foundation

Are you trying to get a better read on what’s exciting your audience? Looking for ways to stay a step ahead of their next fascinations and obsessions? In today’s marketplace it can be challenging enough to keep your finger on the pulse of consumers’ ever-shifting priorities, behaviors, and interests. But to get out in front of these changes brands need to conquer the seemingly insurmountable obstacle of staying aware of the next trends and attitudes cropping up in the right areas of the consumer landscape.

For modern trend forecasting, finding appropriate and insightful sources and pools of observation is of tantamount importance. However, paying attention to and focusing on the happenings in small, innovative, and passionate communities is where many of the trend forecasting strategies out there fall short.

There’s no crystal ball for modern trend Forecasting . Credits: Unsplash

Traditional trend forecasting is often too focused on the actions of brands and the market, missing the all-important perspective of the consumers. Likewise, while social media listening can provide a real survey of consumers’ insights, it is by nature too broad and sweeping to dial into the smaller trends making their way to the mainstream. And without the proper pool of observation it’s impossible to pay attention to the phenomena just beginning to make their move into wider appeal.

The Power of Early Adopters

To combat these shortcomings and help brands see what’s really coming up on the horizon, we here at Nextatlas employ a data-driven trend forecasting strategy directly targeting the fledgling interests, behaviors, and buzz from the consumers that drive change, the tastemakers, experts, and innovators - a cross-industry community we call our early adopters.

Nextatlas employs a data-driven trend forecasting strategy directly targeting the fledgling interests, behaviors, and buzz from the consumers that drive change.

We’ve recently revamped the process underlying the building of our early adopter community to further key in on the profiles that matter. This discerning cultivation process is the backbone of our trend forecasting methodology. By focusing on communities deeply embedded in their industries, we can get past the what’s already in the mainstream and look forward to what’s showing promise for tomorrow and beyond.

How It Works

In order to cultivate a knowledgable and insightful community of early adopters, we leverage our proprietary AI to select the right consumer profiles from across a range of social media channels. Beyond our legacy sources like Instagram, Twitter, and Pinterest, the addition of a diverse Reddit component to Nextatlas has enlivened our early adopter community and proved to be a hotbed for on-the ground insight, passionate expertise, and cultural change. We are more committed than ever to mining these micro- and specialized communities because, asrecent research suggests, the insight that can be gleaned from surveying big search engines is diminishing as consumers on the cutting edge are flocking to online communities (like Reddit) where they can interact and learn from a hive of like-minded individuals.

Our community building all starts with a set of initial seed profiles identified by the AI under the careful supervision of our research team. From there, our AI uses machine learning methodology to critically expand this network that, all together, composes the community of 300k+ early adopters behind Nextatlas trend research.

Nextatlas trend research is supported by a diverse community of 300k+ early adopters.

To make sure we keep our sources out of the mainstream and relevant to trend foresight, this expansion is constrained in a number of ways. By placing parameters on follower counts, prevalence of spam and sponsored posts, and more, we are able to isolate profiles with knowledge and cultural resonance while avoiding noisy and misleading influencers.

Beyond these controls, we leverage our machine learning capacity to track and filter for users who are consistently ahead of the pack; a behind-the-scenes prediction scoring allows our AI to prioritize the users and profiles who been historically prescient in these field. By placing these metrics and prioritizationson the hundreds of thousands of profiles in our community, we can ensure our data is indeed reflective of the consumers consistently breaking new ground and shifting the market - a big reason why our trend research can boast a 93% prediction accuracy.

The example shows the adoption curve for the word “keto”
Candidate profiles discussing concepts such as this one before the 1st burst phase are selected to enter in Nextatlas’s ongoing analysis.

Better yet, by embedding these parameters into our machine learning algorithms, we are able to constantly and dynamically enlarge our community and check and maintain its quality, meaning our data is always reflective of real users living in and passionate about their respective sectors.

In today’s ever-changing climate, seeing what’s coming up next requires a special blend of accuracy, confidence, and discretion. Even more, surveying the marketplace for innovative and forward thinking solutions requires a survey of the right consumers. That’s exactly why we put our community of forward thinking early adopters at the center of our observation pool and at the foundation of our trend forecasting.

Come see what a difference it can make!

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Trend lines, data, and information described in this article emerge from the ongoing analysis performed by Nextatlas on its global observation pool made of innovators, early adopters, industry insiders expressing their views on Twitter, Instagram, and Reddit.

To learn more about our AI, discover Nextatlas Methodology here

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