Product Reviews are Leading Indicators of a Product’s Performance

Are you getting pressure to measure sales and sales alone? Revenue and Profit are critical metrics, no doubt. Unfortunately they are they are focused on the past. A sale does not forecast a future sale. But there are metrics that can help you accurately predict sales. Let’s contrast these two indicators.

Lagging vs. Leading Indicators

Metrics like Revenue, Profit and Cost are Lagging Indicators which means they can only record what has happened in the past. Lagging Indicators tell you what happened but cannot predict what is going to happen. All too often, we only focus on these results, because they are easy to measure.
Leading Indicators, on the other hand, can predict how you’re progressing toward corporate goals. Some examples of Leading Indicators include:

  • Customer Service Complaints
  • Return & Warranty Rates
  • Product Reviews

Benchmark & Leverage Product Reviews to Affect Outcomes

product reviews leading indicators
Each of the Leading Indicators above can be measured both Quantitatively and Qualitatively. Let’s take a look at Product Reviews.

Quantitative Measurement

The beauty of product reviews is that the stars are very structured. Customers assign a rating, 1 through 5. This is simple to quantify. And there’s one more thing to quantify: volume. The sheer number of product reviews is another quantitative metric that can help you predict a product’s performance.

Qualitative Measurement

Then there’s the unstructured part of product reviews: the text. Between slang, misspellings and double meanings, it may be difficult to quantify the text. That’s where a knowledgeable partner comes in who can help you parse, analyze and assign sentiment to what is being said.
At Channel Signal, we use Drivers as part of our Qualitative measurement. Drivers are Key Performance Indicators found in the text of product reviews. The term Drivers is fitting, because these are the topics that drive¬†your product’s performance in the marketplace. Here are some examples:

  • Defects
  • Leakage
  • Battery Life
  • Portability


  • Materials
  • Weight
  • Large Fit
  • Small Fit


  • Zipper
  • Handle
  • Packaging
  • Counterfeit


  • Warranty
  • Taste
  • Smell
  • Straps

And the list goes on. The Channel Signal team specializes in this type of analysis and the platform is designed to help you uncover these KPIs in order to take action.


Of course, a measurement is not that useful if you have nothing to compare it to. In order to be reliable as a Leading Indicator, Quantitative and Qualitative Product Review metrics should be benchmarked against another data set. This could be another date range, another product or category, or another brand (even a competitor). Again, the Channel Signal platform is designed to do just this.

Taking Action

The great thing about Leading Indicators is that they aren’t final. They allow you time to assess and pivot in order to achieve your goals. Once an insight is uncovered, some of the swift actions you can take include:

  • Initiate product engineering change orders to fix problems that are detrimental to performance.
  • Edit product descriptions and information to clarify and address misconceptions
  • Re-allocate marketing budgets to promote products that are showing early signs of performing well with customers.

Don’t fall into the trap of focusing on sales and not product performance. Product Reviews are steadily becoming the leading predictor of product sales. Listen to them using the #1 product review analysis platform, take action, and the sales will come.