Choosing the right sentiment analysis tools to handle your unstructured data is supremely important. The sheer volume of consumer data available to brands is growing like wildfire, and your tools have to be up to par. Besides the ability to parse voluminous datasets down to a granular level, your sentiment analysis tools must be accurate. In this post, we’ll explore why sentiment analysis tools matter in 2021 – and beyond.
Specifically, we’ll peel back the layers of sentiment analysis with a focus on:
- What are sentiment analysis tools?
- How do sentiment analysis tools work?
- How sentiment analysis tools benefit brands
Here’s a peek at a few statistics that show why you should take your sentiment analysis tools seriously:
- Sentiment analysis tools provide a framework for understanding unstructured data, which accounts for 80-90% of consumer data available to brands.
- Sentiment analysis can be employed across a spectrum of use cases, such as gaining a precision understanding of your product through the consumer’s eyes. Consumer intelligence from this angle is critical since 93% of buyers say they are influenced by consumer reviews prior to purchase.
- With the growth of internet access worldwide and the subsequent rise of social media adoption, unstructured data is growing at a rate of 55-65% per year.
With the right sentiment analysis tools, it’s an exciting time in the world of data analysis as there’s no shortage of competitive, consumer and market intelligence to pull from.
That said, let’s take a look at what sentiment analysis tools are and what they do. We’ll also explore a variety of use cases to get your creativity flowing!
What are Sentiment Analysis Tools?
Simply put, sentiment analysis tools use artificial intelligence to assign a value to unstructured data. So, whether you are analyzing social media posts, consumer or employee reviews, or any other dataset comprised of unstructured data, machine learning assigns positive, negative, or neutral values on a scale of -100 to 100.
Sentiment analysis lends another method to parsing your unstructured datasets and is particularly helpful in analyzing and measuring how people feel towards your subject matter.
Sentiment analysis tools give you the insight you need to understand what’s going on in the world around you. For example, when a key opinion leader speaks, there are two sides to the story. Sentiment analysis tools break those perspectives down into manageable and measurable chunks to better understand perceptions into the story.
For example, at 3 a.m. on April 29th, there was a spike in mentions regarding Joe Biden with an upswing in sentiment at 8 a.m. Sure, your social listening will tell you that it happened … but what does it mean? That’s where you turn to sentiment analysis – take a look. Drilling into the conversation shows us that Biden’s speech to Congress caused the uptick in mentions, which came in at 23% positive Sentiment on a scale of -100 to 100.
Without the ability to capture this level of detail, what would you do with the fact that mentions spiked to nearly 10k when they were roughly 1k usually? Sentiment analysis tools allow you to decipher spikes in mentions to understand what’s going on with the volume of a conversation. More importantly, it tells you the consumer response embedded within – and that’s powerful insight for anyone to have, including the President of the United States.
That’s the bird’s eye view. Let’s take a look under the hood.
How Do Sentiment Analysis Tools Work?
Sentiment analysis tools powered by artificial intelligence extract sentiment in relation to the primary terms towards which you’ve directed your analysis. And these insights can include emotions, behaviors, likes, or dislikes which are expressed as a soundbite.
Generally speaking, for any given topic, some nuggets of text, such as social media posts, will contain sentiment, and some will not. And when sentiment is found, it is expressed as positive, neutral, negative, or mixed.
The first three are self-explanatory, but mixed sentiment means there is positive and negative language in the text. An example of this would be Brand X’s shoes are affordable, but their sizing is off.
In this case, the first half of the sentence talking about affordability is positive and would be assigned a positive value of 1. Conversely, the second half of the sentence that mentions ill-fit would be given a -1. So, yes, these cancel one another out in theory. Still, the applicable aspect of the sentence is apparent when sorting for either positive or negative attributes.
In other words, when you’re parsing your dataset on Brand X’s positive mentions, you will see that the affordability part of the sentence contributes to overall positivity and vice versa.
All in all, sentiment analysis tools provide the capacity to measure public perception across any topic. This, of course, allows brands to adjust their strategies to best suit their market situation. Let’s look at a few ways brands use sentiment analysis to that end.
The Many Ways Sentiment Analysis Tools Benefit Brands
Sentiment analysis is one filter that you can apply to your social media and market research data to gain deeper insight. For instance, run a keyword analysis of top terms that apply to your query. That alone gives you deep insight into what words reign supreme in your target conversation. However, do you want to bump it up a notch?
Add sentiment analysis on top of those keywords, and you’re in business. Sentiment analysis is the difference between knowing a brand’s new eye shadow is trending and whether everyone hates it.
Let’s take a look at a few use cases where your sentiment analysis tools can serve you best.
Brand Health & Perception
Let’s face it, how consumers see your brand means everything. Sentiment analysis puts your brand health front and center. And it gives you the ability to measure movement from one day to the next.
Without sentiment analysis in your toolbox, it’s nearly impossible to keep up with the voice of the consumer in a tangible way. Without it, you’re looking at sales figures to tell you that your products aren’t performing as you’d hoped.
If you want to get in the game and stay there, sentiment analysis tools will tell you where you stand. Taking measurements of where you are this year or in this season will give you a standard to measure against so you can track performance across time.
Sentiment analysis allows you to establish baseline metrics so you can monitor your performance over time. It also allows you to keep tabs on public perceptions in your category so you can capitalize on your strong suits and address consumer pain points.
For example, if your brand is in the cereal category, sentiment analysis will tell you the top trending behaviors that are driving sentiment in your space. As you can see, you want your brand to be in the ‘eat’ conversations while you also need to know who’s in the ‘not eat’ column.
Not only do you want to nail it on your next campaign, but you want to measure it along the way. Sentiment analysis tools give you the feedback you need to keep you on track. There’s no reason to hope for the best when you can track how people are reacting to your campaign as it rolls along.
Are you on to a new trend that you want to test out? There’s no harm in testing the waters, and sentiment analysis will tell you straight away how you’re doing. In all honesty, with the right sentiment analysis tools, tracking your campaigns is almost too easy.
Not only will you see what’s going well, but you’ll also be able to track what’s not hitting quite right. With the right tools, you’ll be able to see what’s clicking with consumers in real-time. That way, you can make adjustments and get your team on board come Monday.
Product Innovation & Launch
You work hard to develop your brand, and when it’s time to roll out a new product, you want people to pay attention. Of course, you want them to line up to buy as well. How do you know what they think?
Sentiment analysis tools allow you to go deeper than purchase data to tell you the why behind purchase decisions. This is the deep intel that helps brands stay on the leading edge of product innovation. There’s a reason that top brands keep hitting the sweet spot with their consumers.
It’s not about copying what other brands are getting right; it’s about being innovative in the first place. How do you set your brand apart? It sounds simple, but sentiment analysis will tell you where consumer needs and expectations lay so you are strategic with your product lines from innovation to launch day.
Acting in harmony with emerging trends is the key to maintaining relevancy in today’s market. Brands that intend to stay on the cutting edge need to consistently monitor their market for trends and their fluctuation.
As such, trend analytics are vital to brand success. A thorough understanding of emerging trends allows brands to better inform and strategize their marketing campaigns. Additionally, they assist in product development and placement that is most likely to satisfy consumer needs and perceptions.
Again, sentiment analysis tools assist in measuring shifts in consumer behavior, so you are prepared to act accordingly. Naturally, this helps to leverage white-space opportunities, so your brand is first on the scene with new products, messaging and services tailored to changing consumer behavior.
Mergers & Acquisitions
It’s easy enough to see how Wall Street feels about your brand and your competition. However, sentiment analysis provides a layer of situational awareness to how consumers and the media feel about particular mergers and acquisitions.
There’s a lot of intel to be had that points to the direction your category is moving, and you need to know exactly how consumers feel. Whether this applies to you or your competitors, you need to know so you’re prepared to turn on a dime.
Additionally, sentiment analysis tools allow you to perform a robust brand health audit when your brand is considering candidates for a merger or acquisition. That way, you have a thorough view into the inner workings of the company to account for strengths and weaknesses.
With sentiment analysis tools, you can even run an analysis on their employee reviews, so you minimize surprises during transition.
It’s best to assume that as part of their brand health, your competition has included your brand into their social listening strategy. As such, it’s imperative that you are using your sentiment analysis tools to pick apart their performance.
It’s not enough to look at their sales figures and social media traction and call it good. Sentiment analysis tells the story behind the numbers. As a matter of fact, sentiment analysis can provide baseline brand health metrics on your competition that you should use to track movement over time.
A complete rundown on the competition’s customer journey is achievable by measuring consumer sentiment to see areas of strength and weakness. This allows you to compare and contrast against your own brand health metrics for the ultimate in competitive intelligence.
An unforeseen crisis is a brand’s worst nightmare, and how quickly you can assess the damage and help steer the narrative means everything. To do so, your sentiment analysis tools need to be capable of delivering real-time insight on emerging situations before things get out of control. And sentiment analysis provides the context to the online conversation, so your crisis response gets to the heart of the matter.
It’s not enough to be aware that you have an explosion of brand mentions, and a lot of people are ticked off. Sentiment analysis bolsters your social listening by revealing conversational subtleties and putting concrete numbers to them.
This helps you see which areas of the conversation need the most attention, so you’re not creating messaging that’s off-center. Damage control is the name of the game when a crisis hits, and your reputation is on the line. Social listening helps you pinpoint channels with the most conversation volume, and sentiment analysis enables you to understand which channel is driving the most negative feedback.
Not all sentiment analysis tools are created equal, however. And you definitely want to make sure that yours are accurate, so you’re prepared when a crisis hits. That’s the worst time to find out that your tools really just make pretty charts. As you can see below, accuracy matters.
Voice of the Customer
All too often, brands struggle with adequately understanding the voice of the customer. They are the lifeblood of your brand, and top-shelf sentiment analysis tools make all the difference in assessing how they feel about your brand’s products and services.
Measuring consumer journey metrics using sentiment analysis is a crucial first step, so you know exactly where you stand. From there, you can monitor changes to consumer sentiment as you roll out new products, launch new campaigns and make adjustments to your consumer journey strategies.
Surveys and focus groups have their place for specific areas of consumer intelligence. Still, sentiment analysis should be the workhorse in your toolbox for understanding the voice of the consumer. But wait, there’s more.
The way that you run your sentiment analysis can be fully replicated on your competitor’s consumer base. Doing so allows you to judge where your competitor is doing well with their consumer base and where they could use improvement. Contrasting the competition’s performance against your own tells you exactly where you’ve got a leg up and where you lag behind.
Influencer & KOL Marketing
Most of the time, word of mouth travels farther with consumers than your own brand messaging. As such, having a handle on influencer and KOL conversations as they relate to your brand, category and competition is a must.
Again, sentiment analysis provides crucial context to social media engagement with the thought leaders that can impact your brand, so you know precisely where you stand.
Additionally, sentiment analysis tools provide valuable intel for every step of your influencer marketing. When you are looking to add new influencers to your team, you need to look deeper than follower count and traction. Sentiment allows you to see what aspects of an influencer’s style is really driving the resonance with their audience.
With that knowledge in hand, it’s easier to choose influencers that most align with the messaging you’re seeking to create. Additionally, just as you’d monitor your brand health over time, sentiment analysis allows you to measure influencer performance. That way, you know when you’ve got a winner and when you need to make adjustments. And the capability to watch their conversational fluctuations over time is icing on the cake.
Likewise, sentiment analysis tools make short work of understanding where KOLs are influencing your consumer base. You want to keep a close eye on their conversations and how your target audience reacts. Additionally, you can do the same with brand detractors, so you’re covering every angle.
Sentiment analysis is the difference between thinking that other companies or technology are a threat and knowing they are. As you detect competitors innovating in a particular direction, your sentiment analysis tools will help you to monitor resonance. That way, you fully understand whether they are potentially disruptive. Likewise, you’ll be able to conclude whether the competition is threatened by you.
Sentiment analysis is complementary to your social listening and market research. As such, it enables you to better understand central themes and emerging trends, detect gaps and white-space opportunities and accurately profile your target audience for your product innovation investment.
Additionally, since sentiment analysis tools provide the framework for understanding the voice of the customer, you’ll know precisely what consumers want and need. Armed with measurable consumer intelligence, you’ll be in the best position to strategize your innovation trajectory and keep the competition on its toes.
Summing up, top-tier sentiment analysis tools powered by artificial intelligence add a robust layer to your social listening. Additionally, they enhance every aspect of your business intelligence, including consumer, competitive and market intelligence.
And when you know that your sentiment analysis tools are accurate, you know that the intel they provide can be acted upon and yield the intended results. In a nutshell, that means you have effectively reduced your brand’s risk.
Do you feel confident acting upon the intel your sentiment analysis tools provide? Reach out for a demo, and we’ll show you how next-generation artificial intelligence can inspire confidence in your next sentiment analysis.