Painting the Competition Picture

— Examining data analytics on paint products from multiple retailers

One of the ways Product Managers use the Signals platform is to conduct competitive research. We recently provided assistance in conducting a competitive review of aerosol paint products available from major retailers. The goal was simple — to quickly educate themselves about consumer wants and needs in a new market that they planned to enter. The problem they faced — how to collect the data and how to easily find meaning within it. The analysis focused on user feedback and comments from various websites and social spaces, all unstructured data pools. We utilized Signal’s built-in data connectors to Walmart, Home Depot, and Lowe’s, and then included custom data mining of nine other websites including and The analysis also included brand specific social media comments utilizing our built-in data connectors to Facebook and Twitter.

Competitive Landscape

The competitive landscape for aerosol paints is broad. Our study focused on the aerosol versions of the following brands: Krylon, Plutonium, Kobra, All City, Evolve, Flame, Clash, Beat, Sabotaz, , KILZ, Fresh Paint, Rustoleum, Ironlak, Belton, Molotow, Montana, MTN, Valspar, and American Accents. The number of user comments and mentions during 2015 was over 50,000. Signals turned this bulk of customer comments in detailed insights with an easy to understand data visualization output.


Key Data Analytics Findings on Three Aerosol Paint Brands

Rustoleum was a brand of particular interest. Analyzing the user comments from the websites we were able to glean the following:

  • Top conversations centered on oil rubbed bronze/brass.
  • Top items mentioned were for light fixtures, patio furniture, doors, and wrought iron.

The Rustoleum brand was dominant when looking at all reviews from across the dozen websites. Holistically, the term ‘fast drying’ was the main product attribute mentioned.

Rustoleum’s Facebook strategy appears to be posting pictures. Much of the interaction is fans mentioning their friends, so that they look at the picture. We analyzed the temporal trends on volume of comments on Facebook fan pages, and learned that Rustoleum starts engaging in spring, but has spikes in engaging throughout the entire year

Rust-Oleum All comments Buzzword cloud

Valspar was another major brand of interest. The analysis of user comments from the dozen websites provided the following insights:

  • There was a consistent decline in product mentions from 2012 — today.
  • Customers highly recommend Valspar products sighting good coverage and easy to apply as positive characteristics.
  • Chalkboard paint gets good reviews.

Valspar’s Facebook fan page indicates they are using #askgen and #valspar to solicit engagement, and are leveraging Genevieve Gorder as ‘celebrity’, public figure designer. Valspar is most engaged with users in the spring and early summer.

Krylon was the third large brand of interest. Their Facebook engagement strategy was asking fans multiple-choice questions about what they like best. The volume of user comments on the Krylon brand spiked in late spring and early summer, and again in the Holiday season.

Twitter is a Noisy Channel for Paint

There was a high volume of user comments on Twitter for spray paints. Here is a summary of the key findings from this social media channel:

  • Many comments about spray paint in Twittersphere is vulgar in nature. Many comments were removed for violating Twitter’s code of conduct terms.
  • There was a high volume of Tweets selling spray paint products and accessories. Attempting to sell paint products on Twitter is very common.
  • Much of the volume of Twitter comes from people retweeting content that includes the word spray paint. Some from DIY’ers, but most including random thoughts on the term ‘spray paint’.
  • To derive any business value from Twitter, the analyst would need to focus in (write Boolean queries) to cut through all of the noise in this medium around the topic.

Product Manager Insights

The data analysis continued on the remaining 19 brands in the pool, and included an analysis of the trend on positive/negative customer sentiment. The Product Manager easily gleaned insights on the competitive marketplace for aerosol paint product through the Signals data visualization tool. The Product Manager could differentiate between user reviews on the various retailers’ websites and social media platforms. The built-in data connectors to Lowe’s, Home Depot, Walmart, Facebook, and Twitter made this process easy, and the Product Manager did not require the services of a data scientist.

How Signals Works

The Signals platform incorporates predictive modeling, machine learning, and robust statistical Natural Language Processing (NLP) algorithms to turn customer comments and user experiences into specific product insights. The platform has a user-friendly data visualization tool that allows you to define a particular buzzword, time-period, or geolocation to perform trend analysis or dive deep into a category. As demonstrated in this post, you do not have to be a data scientist or a product expert to use the platform!

Do you want to perform a product competitor analysis? Sign up for a free trial of our platform and try Signals for yourself.