Symanto: An Alternative to IBM Watson AI Personality Insights


Looking for an alternative to IBM Watson AI Personality Insights? Symanto APIs offer many of the same features and benefits.

As of December 2021, IBM Watson Personality Insights will completely cease to exist. IBM has already halted new instances, and is directing people to their natural language processing (NLP) service, which, incidentally, is also comparable with the Symanto suite of tools.

Let’s take a look at both tools and see how they compare.

What Was The IBM Watson AI Personality Insights Service?

IBM Watson AI Personality Insights used NLP to infer intrinsic personality traits of individuals from written text on social media, over emails, messages and on forums. The defined personality traits were based on the Big Five, a widely accepted personality theory. The Big Five are:

  • Agreeableness – The tendency to be compassionate and cooperative.
  • Conscientiousness – To what extent the individual is organised and careful.
  • Extraversion – Whether people enjoy and derive energy from the company of others (or whether they are more solitary and reserved)
  • Emotional range – In many descriptions of the Big Five personality traits, this is referred to more negatively as “neuroticism”, to what extent an individual’s emotions are affected by their environment.
  • Openness – How open is the individual to new experiences?

From this information, the IBM Watson AI Personality Insight service inferred the consumption preferences of the individual, and with timestamped content, could report on changes in behaviour over time.

Consumption preferences indicate what is most likely to motivate the author as a consumer. For example, do they choose clothing based on comfort or fashion? To what extent does social responsibility and welfare affect their buying decisions?

Useful information. It’s easy to understand why former IBM Watson clients are looking for an alternative. Symanto offers two personality traits APIs to choose from. So how do they each compare, and which API best suits your needs?

How Do Symanto Services Compare?

Just like the IBM Watson AI Personality Insights service, Symanto uses natural language processing to analyse communicative text online and derive insights into written text. Here is a brief overview of some of Symanto’s comparable services.

Symanto Psychographics

Symanto Psychographics combines our Personality Traits API and our Communication Style API. Both are modelled on the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) personality theory.

MBTI explained

According to the theory laid out by Myers and Briggs, each personality comprises four distinct psychological functions with each person preferring to perform these functions in one of two ways:

  • Extraversion or Introversion – is the person more energised by their external world (extraversion) or their inner world (introversion)?
  • Sensing or Intuition – does the person prefer to take in information using their five senses (sensing) or by interpreting meaning (intuition)?
  • Thinking or Feeling – does the person tend to make decisions using logic (thinking) or do they tend to make allowances for individual circumstances?
  • Judgment or Perception – does the person make sense of the world by organizing it (judgement) or do they stay open to new information (perception)?

One of the main differences between the MBTI and Big Five models is the importance of communication style. Using the MBTI model, it’s much easier to infer personality types from the way someone chooses to communicate.

This means that Symanto Psychographics is more reliable on shorter texts such as tweets, reviews, social media comments, etc.

Another major difference is that MBTI measures preferences, and it therefore less prescriptive than the Big Five model. Our preferences change over time and in different contexts.

For example, you may prefer to use your logic (Thinking & Judgement) when choosing the best software for your company, but switch to using your emotions (Feeling & Perception) when choosing what film to watch with your family in the evening,

Both differences make Symanto Psychographics the ideal option for measuring and enhancing consumer engagement.

Let’s take a closer look at Symanto Psychographics APIs

Personality Traits

Our Personality Traits API analyses even short samples of written text to give statistics on whether the author has a rational or an emotional personality trait.

  • Rational thinkers tend to be less neurotic and more conscientious. They make decisions based on logic, facts and objective information.
  • Emotional thinkers on the other hand, tend to be more agreeable and open. They make decisions based on their social values and relationships.

These indicators help you predict what kind of messaging the author will best respond to.

Communication Style

The Communication Style API automatically analyses the narrative style of the writer and the intention behind it, enabling you to better understand the motivations and communication preferences of the author. The Communication Style API takes statistics on whether authors are:

  • Self revealing – Do they openly share their own experiences and opinions with others?
  • Fact-oriented – Do they discuss factual information?
  • Information-seeking – Do they seek advice and ask questions?
  • Action-seeking – Do they give advice and recommendations? Do they require attention?

This information can help you tailor and hone your communications to address people using their preferred communication style.

Symanto Big Five

Symanto Big Five uses the same theoretical model as IBM Watson to uncover deep, underlying personality traits.

Given that the Big Five taxonomy is more static, it is most suitable for measuring someone’s personality in a fixed setting where their motivations are likely to be more consistent, e.g. the workplace.

As with IBM Watson Personality Insights, Symanto Big Five requires longer text samples for higher accuracy. Ideally 3500+ words.

This makes it less suitable for measuring consumer engagement, where such raw data is limited, but again, it is useful in workplace settings where there is sustained communication over time, and long form texts are more prevalent.

Use Symanto Big Five to discover what motivates employees, predict job performance, and make better hiring decisions.

Get started with Symanto

Whether or not you already have experience using the IBM Watson AI Personality Insights service, explore for yourself if Symanto’s suite of tools is right for your business needs. Get in touch.