There are a variety of ways to look at market research for the start-up. The first question that needs be answered is budget and burn-rate opportunities. Market analysis without a business framework provides a strategic map that cannot be acted upon, so startups need to think about what types of opportunities they can go after.
The easiest tools to understand digital trends revolve around SEO and keyword traffic. They include Google’s line of keyword tools (estimator, ad campaign, ad planner, insights, and trends) as well as site specific services such as Compete and Quantcast.
These keyword metrics can be applied to existing marketplaces that you are trying to engage with, or to identify if a market opportunity/gap exist. Ideally you would look at 5 to 20 communities, influencers, and like-minded businesses from a digital perspective to formulate if a gap exists.
Once a gap is identified, you can then run through a traditional set of business related questions to validate if your start-up can monetize the opportunities surrounding any specific gap.
Social Mention provides valuable tools for researching basic social volume elements. Google alerts also provides a method for tracking key individuals and brands.
All of the major APIs are also worth looking at. Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, Youtube, etc all provide additional data points that are not in the general user experience. For the right startup, these numbers can provide amazing clarity.
This type of structured strategy is built into how we think at Social Media Kit, so let us know if we can do something for your launch!