What Is Sentiment Analysis? How to Tell What Your Customers Truly Think

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We form opinions on everything all of the time, whether we realise it or not. Sometimes we are passionate about how we feel, and can easily and directly express ourselves, other times our opinions are more nuanced.

Sentiment analysis helps us explore people’s feelings and opinions about any given subject. It’s something that we humans do naturally all the time in face-to-face conversation, but it’s much harder for computers to accurately assess people’s communication with regards to sentiment.

Let’s explore what sentiment analysis is, and how it is assessed and used in business and marketing strategies (to varying degrees of accuracy).

What is Sentiment Analysis

Sometimes referred to as opinion mining, sentiment analysis is about perceiving and evaluating how someone feels about a certain topic and to what extent based on tell-tale factors such as their word choice, communication style, pitch and tone of voice. Sentiment is measured as positive, negative or neutral.

Applications of sentiment analysis

Sentiment analysis has many practical applications in business from measuring customer response to a new product launch or marketing strategy to assessing customer service interactions at call centres, and it can be used in any industry. Here are some popular ways sentiment analysis is used in business:

PR monitoring

Monitor sentiment around your brand on social media to detect if there are any urgent issues and make plans to address them before they worsen.

Campaign analysis

Find out how customers are responding to your latest marketing campaign or product launch. Find out what has had a positive impact on sentiment towards your brand.

Product and business development

Find out which aspects of your product or organisation are viewed positively, and which need more work and plan for necessary adjustments. Use the term cloud for clear visualisation of where your issues lie.

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Brand monitoring

Quality over quantity. Brand monitoring isn’t just about counting how many times your brand is mentioned, it’s also about understanding the quality of the mentions wherever they’re found. Use sentiment analysis across review sites, news sites, forums, blogs and more.

Customer service

More advanced sentiment analysis tools can assign support queries to a topic so that you can quickly and easily direct them to the right department. With the Symanto Insights Platform, you also get further information about the personality trait and preferred communication style of the writer. Are they seeking action or information? Do they want a factual response or a more personal response?

The challenges of sentiment analysis

Most sentiment analysis is conducted on open-ended written text, such as reviews and social media comments. However, this type of text is notoriously difficult to measure. Language is complex and as a result, it is difficult for most technology to be able to distinguish between a positive and negative comment.

Some sentiment analysis tools take words in isolation and appropriate positive or negative sentiment to them. But it’s easy to see how this method lacks accuracy.

Take, for example, the word “great”. On its surface, an undeniably positive word. That is until you put it before the word “disaster”. “A great disaster” or “a great shame” are decidedly negative phrases.

Sentiment analysis is further complicated when more than one topic is described within the same sentence, for example, “The service was fantastic but unfortunately, the food was inedible.” Here we see that the topic “service” was highly positive, while the topic “food” was extremely negative.

There is a lot to learn from this review, but less accurate sentiment analysis tools may be unable to distinguish topics, and worse, there’s a high chance they may tag this review as neutral overall, balancing negative words with positive words.

Accurate sentiment analysis with Symanto

Symanto’s deep learning model analyses texts in their entirety so that words are understood in context. It has a high level of accuracy when it comes to assigning sentiments towards specific topics or categories so that you can see exactly what area of your business needs attention.

The Symanto Insights Platform visualises the data into easy to understand and easy to navigate charts. These interactive charts enable you to dive deeper into the insights and find out more about what people are saying and how they are feeling. Take, for example, our word cloud. Click on a word within the cloud to reveal conversations containing that word or phrase.

Best of all, these insights are available to you within a matter of minutes. The Symanto Insights Platform can scan, analyse and organise thousands of texts not only for sentiment but also for psychographics in the time it takes to enjoy your morning cup of coffee.

Discover the sentiment analysis capabilities of the Symanto Insights Platform for yourself by booking a free personalised demonstration, or get in touch.

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