Using Sentiment to Understand Your Consumer & Your Competitors

November 8, 2011
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One of our senior analysts, Peter Knoblock, wrote up a great post about sentiment: Sentiment – A Potential Mirage on the Data Horizon where he talked about using terms and themes to truly understand consumer sentiment. I thought it would also help to provide a visual explanation of how we use an idea called dimensions to bring clarity to consumer expressions of sentiment.

One of our senior analysts, Peter Knoblock, wrote up a great post about sentiment: Sentiment – A Potential Mirage on the Data Horizon where he talked about using terms and themes to truly understand consumer sentiment. I thought it would also help to provide a visual explanation of how we use an idea called dimensions to bring clarity to consumer expressions of sentiment.

Dimensions are extracts from conversations around a specific topic, like price, quality or intent to switch. For example, we can apply a dimension around price considerations to consumer conversations (posts, status updates, Tweets) and extract only the snippets of the conversation related to pricing. The end result is a collection of snippets from on-topic conversation directly related to pricing. I’m not going to suggest that creating context alone will ensure that sentiment values are exact. But using conversation topics as an organizing element will help you isolate the subjects about which your customers are expressing their  positive, negative or neutral opinions.

The Dimensions: Overall Sentiment chart in our insurance dashboard shows three important concepts:

  • Volume breakdown of conversation by Advertising, Customer and Pricing.
  • Sentiment expressed by consumers about these three topics
  • Competitive volume and sentiment breakdown

Click image to enlarge

Measuring Consumer and Competitor Sentiment Over Time

The real value of applying dimensions and sentiment is to monitor these metrics over time to measure the impact of changes in pricing or outreach and compare that feedback against a group of competitors. Not only can you monitor the competitive landscape when it comes to pricing or other important consumer consideration but you can view the verbatims associated with each snippet. Information related to demographic, like author profile information, can be used to inform outreach efforts and campaigns or appended to existing more traditional data.

Click image to enlarge

Click image to enlarge

Clicking a date range updates the charts with volume, sentiment and verbatim details.  This type of chart packs a lot of detail into it allowing you to not only quickly monitor changes in consumer engagement and sentiment as relates to your business but within the context of your competitive landscape.   The next step is folding these insights into your strategy for engaging your existing customers or prospects.

Take a look at the video if you are interested to see how dimensions and timing can bring more value to your sentiment analysis.