The best feedback on a brand is input from consumers. There are many ways to predict how well a product will do. Still, until customers who have purchased and used it give their impressions, it may be impossible to know how they feel—sentiment analysis channels information from reviews to create useful insights.

What Is Sentiment Analysis?

Sentiment analysis employs automated tools, text analytics, and algorithms to interpret user-generated texts such as social media posts and reviews. This process is scalable since it uses machine learning rather than manual collecting and evaluation and provides actionable data and insights on an ongoing basis.

Sentiment analysis offers a number of benefits to businesses. Automated tools track data more easily and efficiently, ensuring that there will never be a missed review or a mention of a product or brand. Apps and software send notifications when reviews or comments about a brand are posted, locates these mentions, scrapes them, stores them in a database, and performs a full analysis.

The process of analysis involves interpreting the text for tone and attitude. Each passage is given a ranking, from very negative to very positive or somewhere in the middle. Advanced tools have a nuanced way of interpreting texts and may even be able to detect subtleties based on context.

For example, when a brand launches 30% off sunscreen for the month of October, sentiment analysis tools rate the reactions. If someone on Twitter responds, “This is awesome. Now I can stock up on sunscreen for next year at a discount!” that comment would be rated as positive. “Great, but why do I need to buy sunscreen in October?” would be rated somewhere in the middle and, “It’s ridiculous. Why bother?” would be rated as negative.

 

Fixing Negative Sentiment

Sometimes products are not selling, and a business owner can’t seem to figure out why. They invested in market research, tested the product, and launched it with great marketing strategies, but it still doesn’t seem to be moving off the shelves.

Those who run a business often feel they are experts on their brands; when actually, some customer experience details may not relate to them. They may not notice if the product is difficult to use in specific ways that can only be discovered when attempting to use it. The packaging may be hard to remove, or perhaps it leaks. Costumes may not like the fragrance or color.

A company’s view of its product’s quality may differ sharply from that of its customers. When the American Society for Quality Control surveyed CEOs of the top 1,300 companies, three-fifths of them said their products’ quality had improved. However, many of their customers felt differently. Of 7,000 customers, only 49% felt the quality was better than the year before. Talking to customers provides clues on how to improve product offerings.

Predicting Future Trends

There won’t be a need to consult the financial and business media for articles about market trends with sentiment analysis. Once a new market trend hits the news, it is already old news. Scraping, processing, and analyzing user-generated content about products and brands provide the full picture of future trends. This process shows what customers are buying and what they want to see next.

 

For instance, research-based consumer insights inspired the now-famous Mastercard “Priceless!” campaign. When surveyed, Mastercard examined insights from a futures company whose customers rated “intangible success” higher than “material success.” The credit card company realized they needed to sell an attitude and approach to life rather than simply a plastic piece that can be used to buy things.

FCreating a Bigger Fan Base

Nothing works as well as positive reinforcement, and when a brand encourages good reviews, customers can take care of some of the marketing work. An effective brand uses reviews to focus on its enthusiastic fans and encourages them to inspire others.

 

Incentivizing shares and positive reviews with customers who have already expressed love for a brand is a winning strategy. Sometimes the issue is not having negative reviews but not having enough reviews to begin with. Urging those who of their own initiative have expressed positive feedback to write reviews is an honest and effective way of increasing the number of reviews.

 

Marketing a product to social media influencers is a good idea, but sometimes all it takes is one person who wrote a glowing review. Cultivate these fans and provide discounts based on the number of shares they generate or comments on social media. Rewarding referrals are an excellent way to build on the success of a good review.

Sentiment Analysis–A Smart Investment

Sentiment analysis tools are among the most valuable investments in a brand. There is no replacement for customers expressing their views frankly about a product or service. These conversations are increasingly taking place on social media and review sites. Sentiment analysis harvests this information and translates it into a form that can drive successful marketing and product development strategies.