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Geo 101: What Is Sentiment Analysis?

Here's how marketers can leverage it to provide the right experiences to happy customers — and salvage the brand relationship with frustrated ones.

From geo-targeting to voice search, technology is opening up a world of possibilities for marketers. But it’s also complicated, as new capabilities and use cases seem to emerge every day.

With the goal of breaking down some of the most important concepts to provide a better understanding of the basics — and a jumping off point for exploring how far technology may take us — we introduce the next installment of our GeoMarketing 101 series: what marketers need to know about sentiment analysis.

What Is Sentiment Analysis?

Sentiment analysis — also referred to as opinion mining or “emotion AI” — is the process of computationally identifying the opinions or feelings expressed in a piece of text or speech, with the goal of determining if the attitude toward a particular person, product or topic is positive, negative or neutral. In a broad sense, it’s exactly what it sounds like: Analyzing someone’s sentiments to determine mood or intent.

But sentiment analysis in the technical sense means identifying the sentiments expressed in, say, a social media post — or a spoken request to a voice-activated assistant. This means it involves the use of natural language processing, computational logistics, and/or text analysis to determine not just the words that someone says, but the intent behind them — and what that means.

Why Does Sentiment Analysis Matter To Marketers?

As we wrote previously, natural language processing is already important marketers’ business: first, because of the ability of voice-based communication to engender relationships, and second, because of the growing import of understanding the intent behind users’ queries when it comes to search marketing.

Sentiment analysis is important in a related way, because it is all about determining the mood and/or intent behind what someone says or posts. Again, as this relates to both written and spoken communication, there are broad brand applications.

For example, gathering data about how a person feels towards a brand or product — what words they used in a tweet, how much stress was in their voice when they asked for the customer service number via Siri — can help marketers respond to queries more effectively. The idea is that the tone a person takes when discussing an issue certainly matters in face to face communication; it should in online or device-facilitated interaction as well. This means that marketers can be one step ahead when it comes to providing happy customers with the right experiences — as well as potentially salvaging the brand relationship with disgruntled ones.

As CRM specialist Robert Stanley put it in a blog post, “when utilizing the right technology tools and applying it to key business drivers, sentiment analysis is a powerful tool for steering companies and their individual business units to successful outcomes from every customer interaction.”

As social media and influencer marketing continue to grow in importance — and voice adoption continues to skyrocket — marketers would be wise to explore platforms that facilitate sentiment analysis today.

About The Author
Lauryn Chamberlain Lauryn Chamberlain @laurynchamberla

Lauryn Chamberlain is the Associate Editor of GeoMarketing.com. A New York City based journalist, she specializes in stories related to retail, dining, hospitality, and travel.