Sentiment Analysis is the hot new buzz phrase in the world of internet marketing metrics. With the rise of social media importance in marketers’ lives, it naturally follows suit that we want to measure whether people are talking favorably or unfavorably about our brands. And, when the number of social media conversations grows beyond the ability of simple manual tracking, we look for automated capabilities.
The problem, though, is that today the state of the art of social media sentiment analysis is not technologically advanced enough to provide reliably meaningful information. Manual analysis is often still required if we want to ensure the accuracy of the result. At a minimum, automated statistics need to be periodically spot-checked to determine how valid they are.
As an example, let’s look at a recent analysis of tweets for a major brand from one of the sentiment analysis engines out there. (I won’t mention which engine so as not to unfairly target one over the others.) The below chart shows the first 23 tweets analyzed for “Pepsi”. Those on the left (shaded green) were determined to have positive sentiment and those on the right (shaded red) were determined to be negative. Next to each is an extra block with a manual determination of the same tweet. Green blocks mean the tweet was manually determined to be positive and red negative. (Although some tweets could also be considered neutral, we kept it simpler – just positive or negative.)
The result? Out of the first 23 tweets returned from the engine, 14 of them (60%) were deemed to be coded incorrectly! In fact, the automated analysis translates to an overall slightly negative sentiment (.43), when in fact the manual analysis showed an overall strong positive sentiment (.78).
Also note that for our analysis, we used a brand name (“Pepsi”) that is relatively easily identifiable by automated systems. But, had we chosen another common brand such as “Coke”, our original problems would have been compounded further. In addition to the same incorrect sentiment classifications, we have two more problems.
- The system will incorrectly include in its analysis tweets that use the same word but not intended to refer to the brand. For example, many tweets about “coke” refer to the drug. (And of course we have to take into account all of the tweets by those in the coal and steel industries referring to “coke” as the result of processing bituminous coal. They’re always skewing our numbers!)
- The system also fails (except with a second pass) to include tweets that use other forms of the brand name – in this case, the more formal “Coca Cola”. (Pepsi is lucky in that both its shortened and full names both contain the word “Pepsi” so internet searches and analyses are easier.)
Does this mean that automated sentiment analysis should be avoided? Not necessarily, but it does mean that they need to be regularly spot-checked by actual people until they are more consistently reliable.
Domus is a leading edge internet marketing agency that brings its full range of classic marketing expertise to its hi-tech digital capabilities. For more information on how Domus can help you accurately analyze your internet presence and develop effective strategies to further your brand, visit us at http://www.domusinc.com.
Recently, Rich University’s Department of Psychology released a study, “The Effect of Content Desirability on Subjective Video Quality Ratings”, authored by Philip Kortum. In summary, the study showed that people’s perceptions of video quality is correlated to how much they enjoy what they’re watching. So, if the content of what is being watched is captivating enough, people not only overlook poorer video quality, but actually perceive it to be higher.
Similarly, in advertising, the effectiveness of ads is primarily dependent on the content. The more captivating, interesting, memorable, identifiable, and relevant you make your ads, the more effective they will be – whether shown on TV, on the internet, in print, or heard on the radio. Look at any effective advertising campaign today, and the ads will score highly in each of these five adjectives.
Let’s look at each of these individually.
- Captivating – If something about the ad doesn’t jar your attention away from whatever else you were thinking about, and doesn’t hold your attention, then whatever message is conveyed throughout the ad will be lost.
- Interesting – An annoying ad can be captivating, but that doesn’t make it effective. Once captivated, you must also want to keep watching – and also to share and talk about it. This adjective is critical to making an ad go viral. Note that “interesting” can encompass intellectually stimulating, funny, emotional, or other.
- Memorable – For how many ads do you recall part of the jingle or visuals, but can’t remember what brand the ad was for? So ads have to be memorable both for the brand and message being communicated. However, they also have to be memorable in and of themselves. They should pop into people’s heads during the course of the day, during conversations, and especially when shopping.
- Identifiable – This is related to the above, because if the advertised brand is not immediately and clearly identifiable, then the chances of it being memorable are small. In today’s age, though, “identifiable” has more facets than in the past. For example, the brand should still be identifiable if the viewer is fast-forwarding the ad on TV with a DVR.
- Relevant – This is somewhat related to “identifiable”, but is more focused on the message. In addition to being identified with a brand, the ad needs to support and enhance the brand position.
If you are creating ads – display ads, videos, print ads, or whatever – measure your work-in-progress along these five scales. The higher you get on each, the more effective your work will be.
Domus is an exciting marketing agency, combining classic marketing principles with state-of-the-art digital execution to continually deliver effective strategies and campaigns for our clients. For more information, visit us at http://www.domusinc.com or visit our digital and social media site at http://www.domusdigital.com.
Yesterday Twitter announced on its blog a new feature, “Fast Follow”. This allows people in the US to receive tweets on their phones even if they have not signed up for Twitter. It’s sort of a teaser to get people hooked on Twitter so they’ll eventually sign up.
How many people are interested in getting tweets (as SMS txt messages) from their favorite vendor or brand, but have been reluctant because of the requirement to sign up with Twitter? There might well be quite a few, which means that tweeters will start seeing more followers soon.
Domus is an innovative marketing communications firm that incorporates state-of-the-art technologies and classic marketing principles into effective marketing campaigns. For more information visit us at Domus, Inc. and Domus Digital.
Printer manufacturers have long since given up most of their profit margins on the actual printer hardware. Rather, they make most of their profit on the continuing sales of ink once the printers have been purchased.
When ebooks were first introduced, they were relatively expensive. Both Sony’s and Amazon’s were over $300. Now there is a version of the Barnes and Noble Nook for $149 and a version of the Amazon Kindle for $139. At these price points, they’re starting to make very little on the hardware itself, but hope to make longer term profits on the subsequent ebook sales.
The major implication for the market is that dedicated ebook readers that don’t have an integrated ebook distribution system are not going to fare well. In fact, most of the ebook readers that were announced earlier this year have already folded. The only major player other than B&N or Amazon that is left is Sony and, unfortunately for them, they don’t have a (book) content distribution system that compares with the other two.
Of course, the wild card in the race is the iPad and other up-and-coming non-dedicated ebook readers. And a big wild card it is. Of course, neither Amazon nor B&N are hurt too much by the iPad because both have iPad apps that let their customers read their books on it, but it does damage their exclusivity and force more price competition on the books themselves.
The next twelve months should be interesting.
Domus, Inc. is an integrated digital and traditional marketing communications agency. For more information, please visit us at http://www.domusinc.com.
GM is hoping its Chevy Volt will become a huge success, and from a product design perspective they might well have a great car. It certainly is the only car that competes in its exact category. From an energy perspective, there will be four basic kinds of cars on the market by the end of this year – the traditional internal combustion engine cars, the hybrids like the Prius and Fusion Hybrid that run primarily on gas but switch to electric at times to improve gas efficiency, the pure electric like the Tesla and the upcoming Nissan Leaf, and the Volt. The Volt runs as a pure electric car until the battery is drained, at which point it seamlessly switches over to its gas engine. So GM is positioning the Volt more directly against pure electric cars like the Leaf, but for people who are nervous about the battery dying on a longer trip.
Compared to the Leaf, which will also be sold in the US by the end of this year, the Volt has a lower capacity battery (40 miles vs. 100 miles) and is more expensive ($41,000 vs. $33,000 – although each qualifies for tax breaks). So, unfortunately for GM, consumers are forced to trade better electric milage and significantly more more money for the peace of mind afforded by the gas engine. It won’t be an easy sell, although it’s possible.
The Volt’s price, though, presents GM with a much bigger sales problem because of Chevy’s brand positioning. Chevy has always been GM’s lower cost, every man’s car (separate from the iconic Corvette). Virtually all of its car models have starting prices of between $10,000 and $20,000. People expect Chevy’s to be less expensive. So the Volt’s price will be its albatross – it doesn’t fit Chevy’s brand positioning. Moreover, people don’t associate the Chevrolet brand with leading edge technology and innovations, which clearly GM is trying to do with the Volt.
GM would have been much better off if they had launched the Volt under the Buick or Cadillac brand. In addition to better lining up the car with the brand’s established position in people’s minds, GM could even have raised the price a little to include a larger electric engine. It would then have a car that beats the competition on all fronts.
The time is coming soon, though, when we’ll see how well GM’s strategy worked. By the end of this year the Volt will be on the market, along with competitors like the Nissan Leaf. As an early indicator, though, consider a few interesting statistics. The Nissan Leaf is significantly ahead of the Chevy Volt in terms of internet search volume (Google Trends) and Facebook fans (Nissan Leaf Facebook page vs. Chevy Volt Facebook page).
Domus is a marketing communications agency based in Philadelphia. For more information, visit us at http://www.domusinc.com.
Recruiting non-traditional retailers to help lotteries reach the younger “don’t worry, spend happy” consumers
Most U.S. state lotteries enjoyed near-monopoly gaming status during their early years, with legitimate gaming competition coming only from resort casinos in Las Vegas and Atlantic City. However, times have changed and now the convenience of online gaming and the glitz and glam offered by the latest crop of gaming venues have led avid lottery ticket buyers astray.
Within any industry, the only way to thrive, not just survive, is to continuously evolve and find new opportunities to generate revenue, and the lottery is no different. Some states have joined Powerball and Mega Millions or added instant ticket vending machines. All of this is good, but an opportunity exists for more. We’re overlooking the most profitable untapped market: the get-rich-quick, money-obsessed younger generations who have money-burning holes in their pockets.
How do you target these spend-happy consumers? Simple; expand your retail footprint beyond traditional outlets to reach a wider, AKA younger, audience.
Through the proven success of retailer recruitment, state lotteries can identify, qualify and select non-traditional outlets to grow their sales pipeline and reach the 18-35 year olds that already have wish lists to help spend their not-yet-won lottery millions. Bowling centers, movie theaters, general discount stores, diners and cafes are all breeding grounds for the younger market. Why not leverage them and make their most popular customers your most popular customers?
Domus has been working on behalf of the Pennsylvania (PA) lottery for over 7 years and has successfully identified new revenue streams through non-traditional avenues to expand their retailer base and target an influx of new players including the elusive 18-35 customers. We’ve helped the PA lottery increase ticket sales by 58% in 2009, let us help you.
Google’s Nexus One phone was an interesting marketing experiment – introduce a new, self-branded phone that Google sold directly, not through the wireless carriers. Unfortunately, sales never reached high enough targets and this week Google announced that it has ended production of the phone (through its manufacturing partner, HTC) and is closing its web store.
The questions of why the phone failed and even whether the phone failed are even more interesting, though. We’ll never know for sure, but here are some thoughts.
First, assuming the phone did fail (which we’ll come back to later), one possible reason is that Google did not pay enough attention to its four marketing Ps – product, price, promotion, and place (distribution). Let’s assume that the phone itself was good, so that leaves the other Ps.
First let’s look at the distribution channel (place). Cell phones – more than most other products – are inextricably entwined with their service provider, so attempting to bypass the service provider was already a daunting gamble by Google. Even Apple, which garnered enough interest in its phone independent of the network, still chose a service provider with whom to partner.
The cell phone distribution channel is especially important because of the marketing effort that the service providers put into their phones. First, there’s the next P, price. As everyone knows, you can always get phones for less than the retail price when you buy from the wireless carrier (as long as you accept the two-year commitment). So why buy outside of the wireless carrier? We’ve all been conditioned to think that way.
And finally, let’s consider the last P, promotion. Google didn’t just introduce a branded phone. More importantly, it also introduced a phone operating system (Android) that it hoped to induce others to use in their phones. One of those manufacturers who immediately decided to do so was Motorola. They, in conjunction with Verizon (as opposed to Google’s approach of going it alone), launched a huge advertising campaign for the new Droid phone (“Droid Does”) at the same time that Google started selling its Nexus One. With Verizon’s massive marketing push, everyone knew about Droid, everyone got a good price for Droid, and everyone associated the name, “Droid”, with “Android”. Where did that leave Nexus One? Apparently nowhere.
However, all of the above was based on the assumption that Google did fail with the Nexus One. What if, though, the primary purpose of the Nexus One was to generate enough buzz about the Android operating system to propel all Android-based phones (i.e., Google-based phones) to mainstream success? Once the buzz did its work, the Nexus could happily be retired. In that sense, maybe the Nexus One was an outstanding success. Android-based phones are quickly challening the iPhone for smartphone market share. Google never was in the physical product business anyway.
Domus, Inc. is a marketing communications agency specializing in integrating the digital and social media worlds with classic marketing principles to deliver high returns on investment for our clients. For more information, please visit us at http://www.domusinc.com.
So many companies put extensive resources and budgets on search engine marketing and brand building advertising. But how many of those same companies apply effective resources to monitor and address online reviews and complaints about their products and services? In reality, “buzz” about you on these sites might well be more important than the number of page 1 Google rankings or any display metric. Today, shoppers regularly go to sites like yelp.com, epinions.com, and others to find out what experiences others have had with companies they’re interested in doing business with. If the comments written about you are predominantly negative – especially in comparison to your competition – then increasing the public’s awareness of you will just increase the number of people who get a negative opinion of you.
So, if you’re not already monitoring these sites and honestly addressing posted concerns, you might want to think hard about your current marketing allocations.
Domus is a full service marketing communications agency that combines classic marketing experience with digital marketing expertise to effectively deliver improved business performance for our customers. For more information, please visit use at http://www.domusinc.com.
Last year Microsoft introduced the world to an up-and-coming technology called “Project Natal”, its Xbox appliance that enables gamers to interact with Xbox games without any hand-held controllers. This week at the E3 conference Microsoft is finally introducing it for delivery this holiday season. But as part of all of the fanfare, Microsoft officially named the device “Kinect”.
Now, “Kinect” is actually a good name for the product, and the device has the potential to be incredibly successful, but that’s not the point of this blog post. Rather, I’d like to muse about the strategy to use one name for the many months leading up to the actual launch, and then change the name just before the launch. Microsoft has always done that with its operating systems. For example, Windows Server 2008 was referred to as “Codename Longhorn” from early 2005 through August, 2007, when Bill Gates announced its official name in anticipation of its February, 2008 release.
Although that might be fine with operating systems, especially those designed for the corporate server market, Project Natal – er, uh, Kinect – is different. It is a consumer product, not a corporate one. And 2010 is not 2005. When Microsoft announced Project Natal in 2009, it released a video showcasing its capabilities. That video has been on the Top 10 viral video charts every month since then. It has received millions of views, and virtually every gamer has heard about it. Moreover, forums and social media sites have been abuzz over it non-stop.
In other words, social media is the name of the game in 2009/2010, for those companies who know how to use it well. Microsoft certainly did use it well this past year, getting the whole gaming world knowing about and discussing their upcoming product. But they didn’t hit a home run because of their naming tactic. Some of that branding value will now disappear because the word “Natal” no longer exists for Microsoft. They absolutely can – and will – spend lots of money to imprint the new name in people’s minds, but a more nimble and cost-conscious company might have come up with the final brand name a year ago. Then they could have gotten their branding done for them without a massive advertising campaign (allowing that money to be used more effectively elsewhere).
Domus is a marketing communications agency specializing in integrating social media, digital, and traditional advertising and PR into effective brand strategies. For more information, please visit us at http://www.domusinc.com.
The NY Times reported that yesterday GM sent a letter to its headquarter employees that they should stop saying “Chevy” when communicating with people, instead exclusively using “Chevrolet”.
“We’d ask that whether you’re talking to a dealer, reviewing dealer advertising, or speaking with friends and family, that you communicate our brand as Chevrolet moving forward,” said the memo, which was signed by Alan Batey, vice president for Chevrolet sales and service, and Jim Campbell, the G.M. division’s vice president for marketing.
“When you look at the most recognized brands throughout the world, such as Coke or Apple for instance, one of the things they all focus on is the consistency of their branding,” the memo said. “Why is this consistency so important? The more consistent a brand becomes, the more prominent and recognizable it is with the consumer.”
Every once in a while some piece of news leaks out that just offers so much opportunity for fun. Everyone is talking about how stupid this is. Just as a few examples:
- Do they truly think that Chevy is made or lost as a brand by refusing to use the name that most of the public regularly uses?
- Might the GM executives have considered that the inconsistency of using “Coke” as an example of why they shouldn’t use a brand nickname?
- If they wanted to tell their employees not to use “Chevy”, might they have also considered changing their web sites, TV, and other advertising? All of them still use “Chevy” throughout. (In fact, tonight every TV commercial that I saw referenced “Chevy” exclusively – not a single mention of “Chevrolet”. And the web site presented was chevydealer.com, not chevrolet.com.)
Did Alan Batey and Jim Campbell not think that in today’s internet-based social media world, their ridiculous directive wouldn’t be discussed by everyone around the world? Did they not realize that they would be mocked and that Chevy’s (and GM’s) brand image would be hurt>
Isn’t the internet fun? Too bad not everyone knows yet how to play in it.
Domus is a digital agency and a full service marketing agency that combines expertise in marketing and technology to effectively communicate brand platforms. For more information visit us at http://www.domusinc.com.