Using a Telescope to See the Future, not the Past: Search & Sentiment Analysis

29 April 2022

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Consumer preferences are not simple metrics to read from a surface scan of current sentiment. If the tide of opinion is such that “sugar is the new killer”, why are sales of confectionery still so high, and getting higher? Trends and preferences — and ultimately buying habits — are not dictated by a few simple logical choices, there to be easily unearthed.

Yet despite an apparent immediacy of cause-and-effect, one of Marketing’s biggest challenges is to show stakeholders in the business how effective its efforts are, and additionally, provide quantifiable evidence as to marketing effects in what is a series of fascinatingly complex equations.

And even with data that’s up-to-the-minute accurate, a great deal of “traditional” marketing data gathering platforms miss out on the nuances expressed online around, for instance, search data. In crowded markets, changing the sentiment of common search terms around a product is more important than increasing the number of related searches, for example.

Sometimes the overall share of search terms may not be altered by campaigns, yet taken on their own, metrics like that give decision-makers the wrong idea about each campaign’s effectiveness. Building the data models that show deeper market insights is time-consuming and complicated, and of course, assumes that pro marketers have both the time and the tools at hand to do just that.

Yet there’s a wealth of valuable data behind headline statistics, and simple social listening platforms can rarely show anything deeper than product or brand mentions. Over the course of a long-term, nuanced marketing strategy, that can be a problem.

Search and Sentiment Analysis

Source: Search and Sentiment Analysis

The answer lies in analysing search and sentiment patterns. On the one hand, tracking search data can be incredibly powerful: literally, what do people want right now? But what about the sentiment that’s inherently expressed by search terms? After all, there’s a world of difference between “alternatives to [product]” and “products like [product].” Although both seek the same thing, the sentiments behind each query are polar opposites.

Search data, and its deeper analysis, allows consumer brands to better understand the behaviours of customers and, critically, customers-to-be. By staying on top of these types of information, brands can quickly pivot to fill niches as expressed by real-time consumer sentiment.

Conversely, the same data will show where existing marketing activities are missing the mark (where there’s little evidence of messaging), are striking the wrong tone (where reactions to messages are negative) or where there’s enthusiasm (messaging was on point).

There is also a huge area that needs to be investigated by marketers who are on the ball: the analysis of sentiment around competitors’ products. Deep insight from across a market keeps a brand alive and front-of-mind for potential customers. That improves a company’s bottom line incrementally, and iterating on positively-received messages increases business more and more.

With the data pulled from multiple sources and aggregated into highly directed dashboards, operations, marketing and strategy-formulating teams can see, respond to, and even set consumer trends. Informational insight breeds in a company the ability to be agile, to react to both positive and negative sentiments, and to stay one step ahead of the consumer trend curves. Those abilities are simply not possible with last-generation social listening platforms and are, in turn, a world away from manual sentiment analysis-gathering exercises like consumer surveys.

A short history lesson

Fewer people today can claim to be market gurus – experts whose opinion on a sector can be taken as the “gospel truth.” That’s because today, things simply change too quickly and surface statistics never tell the whole truth. That means there’s little basis for entirely trusting so-called conventional wisdom. The recent history of disruptive companies – organisations that have transformed an entire sector (think Uber and Airbnb) – is one of bold challenges to accepted wisdom. Yet while the success stories among disruptive companies are well-known, there are plenty that have gambled on something groundbreaking, and lost. That’s because their proposition, although different, was ill-judged.

But with a modern search and sentiment analysis platform, the guesswork element of the equation can be removed. Decisions (conventional or left field) can be made on empirical data drawn from real-world sentiments, as expressed in what consumers are searching for right now. After all, Gallileo was heralded a visionary not because his theories were guesses: he based his work on the data he could see through his telescope.

The digital telescope

My Telescope gives you over 20 proven data models that help you see search results and judge sentiment in your vertical. CPG companies and broad-market retailers can start a their own data toolboxes and get the access needed to information that will help shape the trends of tomorrow. By basing operational decisions on real-life data and using the power of proactive marketing on the back of empirical facts, companies can change their prospects for the better.

To learn more about how My Telescope lets you see not into the past, but to see today’s trends and better predict tomorrow’s markets, try it out today