A Guide to Sentiment Analysis

Kimberly Surico |
 10/20/22 |
5 min read

A Guide to Sentiment Analysis

Emotional decisions go beyond a mere, ‘I want it.’ And so does a thorough sentiment analysis. It breaks down the hidden emotional messaging behind consumers’ posts so you can effectively target them with information that resonates – down to the psychological level. Consumer emotions are the deciding factor when it comes time to make a purchase, making sentiment analysis critical for your brand to read between the lines and target consumer emotions effectively,. Let’s see how it looks and ways your brand can get in on the action!

In this guide, we’ll talk more about how a sentiment analysis tool can aid your brand, and:

  • How emotion plays a key role in all purchases, especially in 2021
  • Strategies to help brands with sentiment analysis
  • The fine line brands walk when employing emotional profiling

And keep in mind:

  • There are eight emotions that influence purchasing decisions.
  • Emotional reactions are 3,000 times quicker than rational thought.
  • 95% of consumer purchase decisions are subconscious and what they really think or feel about a product or service often contradicts what they may vocalize

Sentiment Analysis in 2022

Top neuroscientist, Antonio Damasio, found that emotions play a significant part in our choices. He discovered that decisions are made using feelings, as logical decisions often take too long to process. This is where emotion kicks in to subconsciously guide consumer decisions.

Additionally a study done by Smith, found that there are eight emotional mindsets that influence consumers to not only shop, but also to buy. They are:

  • The need for intel – these consumers are shopping for information
  • The desire for validation – these consumers are greatly influenced by others’ opinions
  • The need to be first – first in line, first to receive
  • The want to have fun – shopping may be a hobby
  • Avoiding Remorse – they want to avoid buyers’ regret, and therefore are looking for brands they trust, as well as ease of purchase
  • They have decision anxiety – some consumers have a hard time making purchase decisions, so a gentle nudge is in order
  • The need to feel special – everyone wants to feel special, this applies to products and purchasing
  • The feeling of frustration – they just want to be done with it already and maybe your product or service offers that relief

Sentiment analysis uses artificial intelligence to assign a value to unstructured data. This data can be social media posts, consumer or employee reviews, or any other dataset. Machine learning then assigns positive, negative, or neutral values on a scale of -100 to 100.

And this is essential, because in 2021, it’s vital to understand what emotions are driving purchases. Consumers are more self-aware than ever emotionally. And they want to connect with a brand on a deeper level before buying, no matter how much they may need the offered product. If your messaging, business goals or product itself, isn’t in line with their beliefs, they will pass you by for a brand that is.

For example, this word cloud details drivers and barriers for purchase, by applying a sentiment analysis directly to the words themselves. Drivers for purchase include this top retail company’s entrepreneurship program that targets minorities. However, barriers include not have pride flag – this speaks to lack of inclusivity and one consumer view of how diversity is talked about on the company’s website.


This brand needs to clarify their stance, as it seems to be sending mixed signals, and emotions are likely to deter some shoppers from their website and services all together.

Sentiment Analysis Strategies

So, how do you make a plan around fleeting emotions? It’s easier to read the room than you think using the right social listening tool.

Emotional reactions are 3,000 times quicker than rational thought. And they are attached to everything online. There are many ways to explore and create strategies based off of what you find. Exploring consumer behaviors for example, reveals language that is used to indicate purchase intent. This allows your brand to message out appropriately. This applies to the consideration phase as well giving you a chance to create messaging that speaks to their concerns or fears – and it pushes them forward.

Below, we have brand attributes for the consideration phase of the purchase path. This brand example shows that Social Responsibility is strong. Advertising and Sustainability stances are well received.

Digging into quality and trust reveals consumers who feel that this brand could redefine what quality means, as they find their products cheaply made. And as far as trust goes, consumers do not trust their privacy promises.


Tracking over time can identify emotional drivers along the purchase path – from consideration to post purchase. This helps your brand understand what you did right vs what could be improved. It also keeps you alert to any possible crises, allowing you to get ahead of negative press. And keeping tabs on your brand’s perceived social responsibility is wise as 47% would pay extra for sustainability.

When analyzing the same brand from our pre-purchase discussion above for post purchase feedback, we saw improvements in trust and quality front. So, what happened?

In a robust sentiment analysis tool, this insight is explorable, so we can dig in to reveal what is driving each emotion. Trust increased due to this brand’s expanded health food options, as well as the quality of their prepped foods. And this interest in premade foods, could spin a brand off into an entirely new direction, which brings us to our next opportunity – identifying and speaking to common interests.

Understanding Common Interests

Another brilliant way to connect is through your audiences’ common interests. And once you understand what they are, the next step is sorting out how you can make yourself a part of these discussions to help influence their purchasing decisions!

For our brand below, family, religion, politics and music take up a large part of shared consumer interests. But looking at the under-indexed areas of interest could be where a new audience resides. For example, we see one that ties into that super important sustainability-focused audience that’s always watching – green living. That is an audience ripe for expansion and it may be one that this brand’s competitors have yet to corner.


By exploring these, you can find an audience you may not have considered otherwise, or one that needs more attention. By putting in just a little more effort, you can increase reach and revenue.

Behind the Scenes Sentiment Analysis

95% of consumer purchase decisions are subconscious and what they really think or feel about a product or service often contradicts what they may vocalize – or even fully realize. This further emphasizes the need to understand driving sentiments. When you pinpoint sentiments, you can craft shopping experiences around each individual group of consumers.

It’s important though, that you do this while respecting their privacy. Consumers are worried about this, so although sentiment analysis will inform your efforts, it isn’t something you necessarily want to add into your messaging. People like to feel known, not emotionally manipulated – so connecting with them on a personal level, at scale, is amazing but you don’t need to share your reasoning behind it.

For example, you could analyze subreddit conversations by looking at common interests and notice that music and dance is a linking factor. Instead of saying, “we see X from your conversations and so we made this,” you’ll want to create a marketing strategy that targets their love for music and dance without pointing it out. The goal is to connect with them, not make them feel emotionally manipulated after all.

There are multiple ways to reach your audience. But you need to start by understanding what emotions are playing key roles in their decision-making throughout the purchase path. Reach out for a demo to on how to emotionally connect with your audience and cultivate an engaged, repeat client base!

Join The
15,723 People
Who have subscribed to our blog

Sign up to receive the latest updates

Premier social media analytics platform

Expand your social platform with LexisNexis news media

Power of social analytics for your entire team

Media analytics and market intelligence platform

Enrich your media analytics with social data

Social media benchmarking
and competitive intelligence

Data streams & custom KPIs for advanced data science

AI, Image Analytics, Reporting Tools & more

Out-of-the-box integration with other data sources