The Cyphers Agency

410.280.5451

tca push 'n pull home

Sentiment Analysis: Not Yet a Science

Picture of Jocelyn Rimbey, Digital Marketing Manager

Jocelyn Rimbey, Digital Marketing Manager

There’s no denying that consumer sentiment is important. It’s obvious that companies and brands are curious as to the thoughts of their consumers. More importantly, they are interested in where those thoughts lie on the positive to negative spectrum. “I love your product” says you’re doing something right. “This is the worst customer service experience I’ve ever dealt with” says you’re doing something wrong. And measuring these types of opinions or mentions is quickly becoming one of the ways that companies measure success of online marketing campaigns.

We have to be careful, though, because sentiment analysis isn’t quite yet a science. Where other things like site traffic, interactions, and audience growth are numbers, plain and simple, sentiment is an entirely different ball game. It’s not even across all playing fields, and can be different from client to client. What someone says about an insurance company can hold different weight than what someone says about a food product. Sure there are tools out there to help measure the positivity / negativity / neutrality of those comments, but are these truly capturing how people feel?

Sentiment analysis should needs to have a human element to it, and that becomes difficult on a platform as huge as the Internet. Do comments and likes on Facebook deserve to be weighed equally? How about a conversation? What about a blog posts praising / bashing your product? What about a recipe that includes a client’s product? Which count as positive, negative, or neutral, and to what extent? There’s so much that goes into every mention that we can’t simply rely on a tool and its set of trigger keywords to judge what someone thinks. Plus, using a tool removes the human element, disabling the real-time reaction you might need. And to top it off, being in the trenches allows you to track or control the ebb and flow of a conversation and help turn a negative situation into a positive one.

The moral of this story is that we’d be silly not to take consumer opinions into account, but we can’t rely solely on sentiment to gauge their thoughts. That’s where actual interactions come in. Converse, engage, talk about products, ask for honest feedback, take responsibility when bad things happen, and follow through on your promises. If you do these things, regardless of any hiccups, you’re bound to get some positive opinions out of it.

share this post:

share this post:

More Posts