Sentiments on Sentiment Analysis

Humans are innately social creatures, and in an increasingly interconnected world, we’re sharing more than ever on social media. Consequently, social media data is hardly ever black and white, but rather riddled with opinions and attitudes. For advertisers, this wealth of shared information is a gold mine for insights about a company’s actions or products, but where do you even begin analyzing it all?

Because of the nature of shared data, its analysis begs a deeper look at the emotions and opinions. Sentiment analysis, also known as opinion mining, is the collection of users’ expressions about a brand or topic that can be categorized as positive, negative or neutral. Rather than compute it manually, many advertisers are now turning to automated software that interprets this data on its own. But, as with all technological advancements, there are some caveats to be wary of. Is opinion mining, the analysis of human expression, safe to be trusted solely with computer software?

What is Sentiment Analysis?

Sentiment analysis monitors public opinion online. This is a pivotal method of monitoring results and impact, particularly when a brand or public figure needs real-time results to act accordingly. For example, the Obama administration utilized sentiment analysis to feel out the public’s perception prior to the 2012 presidential election. Social listening is important for any brand, not only presidential, so that messages that don’t work can be adjusted and messages that do can be boosted. Noticing the effect on your target audience and changing your tone can make you more favorable and even lauded for connecting in an authentic way.

How is Sentiment Analysis Performed?

For the most part, sentiment analysis is divided into two categories: manual and automatic. Manual processing is exactly what it sounds like: going through expressions one by one without using a program. It is the most accurate judge of sentiment, but not completely error-free. Larger accounts would most likely use algorithms to process keywords or computer systems for sentiment analysis. These streamlined approaches are quick, easy to implement and cover the most for what it’s worth. However, the downfall to these programs is that sarcasm and irony aren’t very likely to be detected. The accuracy rate for these types of programs is less than 70%.

Is Sentiment Analysis Suited for All?

There are few distinguishing factors that separate competitors in today’s industries, and brand perception is perhaps the greatest one. If you aren’t clued in to what your audience thinks of you, tough luck. Sentiment analysis is the closest a brand can get to on-the-fly surveys to position themselves the best it can. Although sentiment analysis has its shortcomings, the overall benefit of understanding the consumers’ minds outweighs the cons.

The best practice for sentiment analysis would be to utilize automated systems combined with real-time monitoring, as we do here at evōk. The high volume of expressions is simply impossible to go through manually, but in unison with a team that can clear out troublesome phrases, sentiment analysis can get people chatting about your brand in a positive way.