What is the difference between contextual and sentiment analysis?

Many companies are now convinced of the merits of sentiment analysis.  It gives them an instant snapshot of the public’s view of their brand or products.

But what if the sentiment changes?  Does it automatically tell them why?  Well, the answer to this question is no, it does not.

What if the brand or product is a huge brand like the iPhone.  The number of posts that are positive will be so huge that any negative sentiment will be lost, swamped by the deluge of posts made that are saying good things about the iPhone.

As an example, when the iPhone 4 came out, there was a huge swell of positive sentiment about the new phone.  However, there was a significant minority who picked up a problem with the iPhone battery.  This grew in size as it was a design flaw in the model.  Sentiment analysis techniques will tell you the negative sentiment around ‘iphone battery’ but you would need to know to filter on ‘battery’ to identify this negative sentiment.  In other words, you would already know you had a problem.

Alternatively, you can monitor key words, but what if the issues that affect the public are not in those key words?  In fact this is often the case.

Contextual analysis solves these problems.

Since our analysis is driven by what the public say, rather than preselected keywords, then as the issues change, so does our analysis.  We would automatically pick up the fact that ‘battery’ was an emerging topic for the iPhone that was growing in importance, and also had a largely negative sentiment.

The use of contextual analysis puts you back in control of your brand and means that you can properly listen to your customers, identify any issues early, and resolve them effectively.

For more information, contact andrew@brand-aura.com.

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