Digital has come a long way in a short period of time. It’s become a discipline which is creative at its core, yet increasingly influenced by Big Data. An understanding of data is now imperative for digital marketers. It affects their strategies and has become the foundation from which they can create effective campaigns.
In line with this, the tools available to marketers have grown significantly in recent years. A recent survey identified that the average marketing agency has around 17 different marketing technologies to call upon. This may well be indicative of any one of the platforms inability to handle data analysis alone, but it shows that companies are keen to invest in them.
The uses of these tools are also far more sophisticated than they used to be. Not content with tracking consumer activity across numerous channels, sentiment analysis, the process of determining the attitude of a writer in a blog post for instance, is now commonly used.
These methods teeter on the edge of being unethical, yet they’re by no means illegal. There are around two-million blog posts written each day - enough content to fill Time magazine for 770 years. Within these posts lie opinion-rich information which can be explored and ultimately acted upon.
Sentiment analysis is arguably at its most useful when it’s applied to social media. Tweets, for example, are often entirely reactionary. IBM’s Slam Tracker, the tool it uses to measure the popularity of tennis players during one of the season’s four most prestigious events, gives viewers a real-time picture of how an individual player is being spoken about online.
This can be applied to many different disciplines. Let’s say Starbucks started serving a new coffee, sentiment analysis would be able to scour through social media, measuring how that coffee had been received. This is sometimes referred to as ‘opinion mining’ and if used correctly, and through tools such as Social Mention and Trackur, can be the key to managing conversations about your brand.
However, and as pointed out by Fast Company, around 90% of Tweets don’t take a clear or definitive stance. This is a major problem for sentiment analysis and questions whether its findings, instead of being central to digital, are in fact misleading.
There’s no doubt that the use of Big data in digital is now a much more sophisticated science than it used to be. Sentiment Analysis is an important part of this. Big data and digital marketing’s relationship is much more than just totalling ‘likes’ and ‘retweets’.