Tapping into customers’ emotions often produces the best marketing or PR results. By reaching an audience’s emotions, brands can connect better to stimulate purchases, strengthen brand reputation, and motivate customers to recommend the brands to friends. By touching emotions, nonprofits can better engage the public in their missions, yield more and larger donations, and recruit more capable volunteers.
Appealing to your audience’s emotions connects with them on a deeper, more meaningful level that encourages customers to become brand advocates.
As a result, many marketing experts recommend that brands track customer emotions through sentiment analysis, also called opinion mining. Surveys, focus groups and direct customer input provide information on customer feelings, Social media analytics, however, can analyze a larger amount of data faster and more affordably than more traditional research methods.
More than Counting Brand Mentions
PR pros and marketers typically employ social media measurement to count mentions of their company and products. While that’s an adequate starting point to measure social media, consumers don’t purchase products based on social media mentions. They reach purchase decisions based on the content of the published reactions — what their friends say about the product or service. Specifically, they make decision based on what emotions those mentions spark.
Proper measurement of social media requires assessment of both volume and tone of mentions. A large number of brand mentions on social media may not be a good sign for the brand if a large or growing number of those mentions are negative.
Sentiment analysis grades both social media posts and news articles as positive, negative or neutral, or sometimes on a positive-to-negative scale. Some companies attach specific emotional attributes to reactions on social media.
Benefits of Sentiment Analysis
Sentiment analysis can:
- Reveal a problem with a product or service,
- Protect the brand’s image,
- Gauge the effectiveness of PR and marketing campaigns,
- Measure how well a company is recovering from a PR crisis.
- Help businesses quickly reach decisions about their advertising and marketing programs.
Expedia Canada noticed a steady increase in negative feedback to the music in one of its television advertisements. Canadians complained about the ad’s screeching violin. Instead of simply pulling the ad, the company created a new version of the ad that featured the violin being tossed out the door.
“We decided to show that we’re actually hearing people and respecting what our fans have to say. We used it an as opportunity to turn it into something positive,” Rich Pryce-Jones, creative partner at Grip Limited, told Marketing Magazine.
Sentiment Analysis Tips
Employ trained analysts. Determining if a comment is positive or negative can be challenging. In many cases, meaning depends on context. Assessing sentiment can be difficult if the comment includes irony, sarcasm, slang or abbreviations. Because of those challenges, well-trained human analysists provide more accurate results than automated sentiment analysis, although software programs cost less when analyzing large numbers of brand mentions.
“Computer technology has not yet caught up to interpret these complicated data within the right context. If you don’t have a truly accurate sentiment analysis service in place, you may be formulating and adjusting your marketing campaigns based on incorrect data,” blogs Shiho Hashimoto, marketing director at InsightsAtlas.
Define your metrics. Defining which metrics to track is the first step, says digital marketing expert Martin Powton. Organizations can measure the percentage of customers with negative sentiment or the percentage who feel a specific emotion. While many companies track sentiment retrospectively, tracking emotions in near real time is ideal, he adds.
Don’t rely on net promoter scores alone. The net promoter score (NPS) measures the likelihood customers will recommend a brand to others. Although companies that monitor customer experience often rely on their NPS, the metric does not provide the full picture, Powton cautions. “Tracking NPS alongside customer emotion will help give you an overall view of how your customers feel while taking your analysis to the next level,” he says.
Consider a social media analytics service. Besides measuring sentiment, social media listening can measure comment velocity or the speed of a conversation around a campaign; including engagement such as social media “likes” and “loves,” and shares and mentions of a marketing campaign.
“Due to the breakneck pace in which conversation evolves across social channels, monitoring all of the above on your own can be tricky,” says Ashley Sefferman at Apptentive. A social media analytics service can help, Sefferman adds.
Bottom Line: Because of the power of emotions in affecting purchases and brand reputation, it’s critical to track customer sentiment toward the product and your company, experts say. Including emotions among the key metrics in both news and social media monitoring can provide better insight into consumer attitudes toward and perspectives on the brand. Many experts recommend outsourcing monitoring and measurement to social media analytics services with experienced human analysts, who can grade consumer sentiment more accurately and cost-efficiently.