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How Sentiment Analysis Can Help You Understand Your Audience

How well do you know your brand’s audience? You might know some basic demographic information, such as their age-range, geographic location, or loosely-defined ‘interests’. But do you know how they feel, particularly regarding your brand? Sentiment analysis can find out the answers.  

What is Sentiment Analysis?

Don’t let the technical-sounding name deter you, Sentiment Analysis or ‘Opinion Mining’ is the process of determining the emotional tone behind a series of words (or even emojis).

This allows you to understand the attitudes, opinions or emotions of users when they post and comment online.

Sentiment Analysis is commonly used by brands to gauge how online audiences feel about them. Naturally, social media is the best place to find out, as self-expression plays a huge role. From comments on your brand’s FB posts to indirectly mentioning you in tweets, customer sentiment is everywhere and publicly accessible for free.

The best part is you don’t need a degree in Marketing Analytics or expensive software to undertake basic sentiment analysis, as we will demonstrate later.

How Will It Help My Brand?

Being able to quickly observe how your fans feel about your latest festival announcement, social media post or product innovation is a major benefit. It’s almost like gathering customer feedback without needing to formally ask for it. This allows you to better tailor your product or social media output and in turn, boost your sales.

Sentiment Analysis can also be used to snoop on your competitors and gain an insight into what they’re doing well (or not well). You can even analyse Twitter hashtags that are related to your industry. For example, you could use #LetTheMusicPlay to understand consumer attitudes towards nightclubs re-opening. The possibilities are endless.

How to Create a Sentiment Analysis Report

For your first dive into Sentiment Analysis, we recommend performing it on one of your brand’s social media posts. Whilst using an analysis tool is faster, doing the first few manually will you better understand the process. It’s also free – you can always invest in software later down the line.

In our example, we analysed the sentiment of We Are FSTVL’s recent FB announcement of a new show – We Are Mexico:

The start of any Sentiment Analysis report should provide some context for the reader. Describe the content of the post and how many engagements it had (likes, comments and shares). 

A ‘like’ on your post is pretty self explanatory – it’s a positive reaction to the content. Comments are far more important as their tone can vary wildly. Sarcasm is something you need to be on the lookout for, as you may perceive a comment to be positive when it’s actually negative. There’s no way to know for certain, so pay close attention to the wording and look out for clues.

Emojis and use of punctuation can often reveal the true sentiment of a comment. Take these three sentences:

All contain the same words, but are conveying different sentiments. Summarise how many of the comments are positive or negative. In our example, 100% of the sampled comments were positive.

If you can’t establish the sentiment of a comment, simply label it as ‘unknown’. It’s better to admit you’re unsure rather than taking a stab in the dark.

Identifying Key Themes

Grouping comments by their purpose or theme and displaying this in a pie chart allows you to quickly identify key points:

In our example, most of the comments simply consisted of fans tagging their friends, with a few asking questions. What we can deduce from this is that We Are FSTVL’s audience are hugely excited about the upcoming show, and a few want to know the specifics. It helps to list these questions in your report:

This helps us establish the fans’ priorities. Are they enquiring about the price? The line-up? The date? Use these questions to both tailor your social media output and flesh out your FAQs.

Sentiment Analysis is far more straightforward than many businesses realise. How complicated it becomes depends on the level of detail you want, and the size of your audience. But even the most rudimentary Sentiment Analysis report can reveal how your fans truly feel about your brand’s online presence.

Has the Pandemic Changed Shopping Behaviour for Good?

The UK is returning to a resemblance of ‘normal life’, signalled by the widespread relaxation of social distancing rules. As our economy re-opens and shops throw open their doors, we felt it an excellent time to think about consumer shopping behaviour.

An event as impactful as a pandemic will no doubt have a lasting impact on the way we go about our daily lives. For businesses, this means adapting the way they promote and sell their goods & services to align with new-found consumer shopping habits.

Here are the trends you should be aware of and whether they will have a lasting impact beyond the pandemic.

Consumers are shopping online more

This shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone – 2 in 5 UK shoppers say they will make more online purchases after lockdown ends.

All but the most essential offline businesses have been shut-down in the UK for over three months. Wide-scale adoption of ‘work-from-home’ practices means many consumers are saving money through a lack of travel and dining out costs.

People have typically had more free time during lockdown, due to a lack of commuting or furloughment. Shopping has long been a popular pastime, and we’ve seen a massive shift towards shopping online in recent months.

Much of this growth is attributed to ‘low-frequency’ online users – those who rarely shopped online before the pandemic. Accenture are predicting a 160% increase in the number of purchases made by this group moving forward:

One clear e-commerce winner is fashion retailer Asos, whose active customer base has grown by 16%. A whole range of industries are seeing a boost to online sales, particularly the food & drink sectors. The pandemic has seen more money going towards essentials rather than ‘luxuries’, and this applies to e-commerce as well. You only have to look at online food retailer Ocado , who’ve seen their profits double as grocery delivery soars in popularity.

Will this continue beyond the pandemic?

Absolutely. Non-essential shops have re-opened their doors again, but despite an initial surge in numbers (we all saw the Primark queues), high street footfall was down 65% in June.

The government’s recent pivot in messaging from ‘Stay Indoors’ to ‘Enjoy Summer Safely’ is not yet having the desired effect. The fact is, many consumers are still wary of the virus and will continue to take social distancing measures seriously.

The shift towards online shopping has been progressing for years, but the pandemic has only further accelerated it. Widespread smartphone adoption, faster internet and even faster delivery times are all contributing factors.

E-commerce is here to stay – that’s why E1MA are also getting involved with our own projects.

The rise of the conscious consumer

This is another consumer behaviour trend that started before the pandemic but has been amplified in recent times. The global health emergency is seeing consumers focus on their wellbeing more than ever. Sales of home exercise equipment are through the roof, and smokers are quitting at the fastest rate in a decade.

Deloitte predicts people will read labels more carefully, scrutinise the ingredients of products and be more careful about what they put in their bodies.

These changes in purchasing behaviour will impact not only which products consumers buy, but where they buy them. From ‘Black Lives Matter’ to ‘End Modern Slavery’, several important, progressive movements have been gaining global traction. This is causing consumers to think twice about how and where they spend their money. 

Attitudes towards the fashion industry, which makes up 10% of global emissions, are changing considerably. Consumers are becoming more concerned about sustainability – awareness movements like Plastic-Free July are clear evidence of this.

Unethical business practices are also becoming an increasingly important factor in spending habits. Fast Fashion retailer Boohoo have been making headlines recently for allegedly using suppliers that pay below minimum wage and provide substandard working conditions.

Consumers are demanding that products are ethical from both an environmental and social standpoint. Over 50% are willing to pay more for these assurances.

Will this continue beyond the pandemic?

Most likely. The lack of economic and social activity during lockdown inadvertently saw a reduction in global C02 emissions, improved air quality and the return of nature to our urban areas. The benefits of an environmentally-conscious society are there for all to see.

On the other hand, widespread economic shutdown means many people have less income at their disposal. 54% of Britons say they’ve been spending moderately less during the pandemic. When times are tough, shoppers often disregard environmental concerns in favour of more cost-effective products.

Nevertheless, we expect the ‘conscious consumer’ to continue its steady rise as environmental and social issues become more and more prevalent. Second-hand clothing, organic groceries and plastic-free products are moving into the mainstream.

Shopping locally

The local high-street has taken a beating in recent years, marked by a societal shift towards e-commerce. However, geography has been playing an increasingly prevalent role in our daily lives during the pandemic. Lockdown restrictions have seen most people confined to their local areas, unwilling to travel on public transport or visit busy supermarkets.

The togetherness and community spirit that has been fostered during the pandemic is also having an influence. The result is more and more people shopping locally, with corner shops seeing a 23% increase in customers.

Will this continue beyond the pandemic?

In the short-term, yes. 2 out of 3 consumers plan to shop locally more often in the future, but this is driven by fears of long queues and busy shopping malls. As the pandemic subsides, such factors will become less important.

Online shopping remains a powerful draw, especially as supply chains restart and delivery times fall. Rather pessimistically, we also need to remember that we’re in an economic recession – shopping online or at a national chain is often cheaper than your local businesses.

The pandemic has no doubt had an everlasting impact on the way we live our lives. These transformations in consumer spending habits have the potential to shape the future of business, and our world.

Has Your Festival Been Targeted By This New FB Scam?

In recent weeks we have seen a number of festivals targeted by a number of sophisticated Facebook phishing scams. We’ve documented how this has impacted Noisily Festival, to bring more attention to this industry-wide issue.

What Have the Scammers Been Doing?

Producing dozens of fake Noisily Facebook pages and events in an attempt impersonate the event:

Creating hundreds of official-looking live stream links to trick fans into clicking through and entering their credit card details.

Infiltrating our FB communities and sharing deceptive links:

Flooding the comments section of our posts with fake live-stream links:

Fake pages had been requesting co-hosting on their events on their pages. Their events were exactly the same as the official events:

Imitating Noisily Festival in the comments of our official social posts:

and even pretending to be part of the Noisily team, taking copy from older posts:

Noisily Festival had been fundraising to survive through the coronavirus pandemic for next year. Its final stage of fundraising was marked with a live stream on Sunday 12 July leading into an announcement that the festival would survive to 2021, thanks to many generous donations and support from the Noisily community.

However, these fraudsters managed to trick fans into entering their credit card details on this final stream, in a highly co-ordinated attack.

Many months of hard work from the festival’s production team and its partners were poured into the fundraising campaign.

What Was Noisily’s Response?

For the last few weeks we’ve had to delete 300+ posts and 500+ comments. Over 15 fake Noisily pages have also been reported to Facebook. Despite this, the scammers have consistently found a way to target our communications.

We have contacted Action Fraud regarding this scam, but have yet to receive a response.

What Can You Do to Protect Your Event?

  • Turn off commenting on your posts. Do remember, this also stops comments from your fan base which would usually be encouraged.
  • Proactively monitor your Facebook activity; comments and posts. This will require a team to monitor and review the posts and comments that are coming in to ensure no spam comments are getting through. 
  • Make sure you are keeping track of your entire Facebook page; comments and posts in your event, on your Facebook wall, in your Facebook community groups, and on every social post you do. 
  • Set up strong comment filters on your page that relate to anticipated kinds of abuse, for example, “https://” or “www.” or “watch now” for spammers. Blocking specific words, and turning on the profanity filter for your Page will help prevent the scam messages get through. You can go this in ‘General’ in your page’s settings. More info HERE
  • Any suspicious posts or comments found need to be flagged, reported and banned. 
  • Hide or delete any spam comments. Hiding them will allow you to keep track of how many you have received, but your followers won’t be able to see them.
  • Ban any usernames/fake profiles you find commenting or posting on your page. 
  • Make sure your Facebook community groups have ‘membership approval’ on – be vigilant with who joins. If they have no existing friends within the community, a brand new Facebook page and in Bangladesh, they are probably not trying to come to your event.
  • Reporting the pages will help Facebook keep track of them. How to report a page: https://www.facebook.com/help/171757096241231
  • Report to Action Fraud: https://www.actionfraud.police.uk/ The more reports they receive, the quicker this situation will be dealt with for our community. 

What Should You Look Out For?

  • Pages of the same name as yours requesting to co-host your event, or you to co-host theirs.
  • New Facebook profiles that have been created in the last month. 
  • Pages with no interests in common to your festival. 
  • Pages not in this Country; many of the requests we have found are coming from Bangladesh. 
  • Posting the odd word in your event to look legitimate before then moving in with a live stream post.

Have you or your events been affected by these scams? Let us know.

E1MA’s Digital Billboard Concept

We’re proud to present our entry into Ocean’s Crucial Creative Competition – ‘Stay Apart, Game Together’

Held by Ocean Outdoor, a pioneer in Digital Out-Of-Home advertising, this competition offers a generous £1 million worth of advertising space to help galvanise advertisers & agencies into action as lockdown eases.

“Now, more than ever, Ocean is inviting Britain’s brightest creative minds and brands to keep us safe and well by educating our citizens how to adapt to the new normal through relevant, positive messages or by simply making us smile” – Richard Malton (Chief Marketing Officer @ Ocean Outdoors)

‘Stay Apart, Game Together’

In collaboration with our client, Platform, our entry sees us take full advantage of the technological capabilities of electronic billboards.

The electronic billboards are all connected together and scattered through London. On the billboards are scannable QR codes that enable anyone with a smartphone to control the billboard, using their smartphone as a ‘video game controller’.

Two players on different billboards are then pitted against each other in a game of Pong – the beautifully simple arcade game that anyone can play. They can express their joy or frustration through emojis that pop up on-screen akin to a Facebook live-stream.

Lockdown has felt like a video game at times – with challenges to overcome and obstacles to clear. Our campaign sees Londoner’s test their newly formed gaming skills in a fun, social and most importantly safe manner. 

This is a fun experience that runs across London, across people and across boundaries. Brought to you by E1 Media Agency and Platform – London’s premier social gaming venue.

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