Great research carried out by experts have proved the strong connection between particular marketing techniques and people’s emotions. All marketers have learned very quickly that the best way to attract customers is to appeal to their emotions. Much of the art of marketing is building up an emotional bond between a company and potential customers. Emotion analysis (and sentiment analysis) remain an effective way of measuring campaign effectivity.

To build an emotional bond, of course, the intelligent marketer has to determine how to attract the right emotion from the right consumer at the right time. Doing so encourages the consumer to make the right purchasing decision. A while ago we discussed how emotion analysis is impacting influencer marketing here.

If you think about it, the whole concept of influencer marketing is spun around emotions. It relies on the marketer using a highly relevant person to influence how potential consumers feel about a product, i.e. it relies on the emotional connections that influencers have with their followers.

emotion analysis

3 Marketing Concepts Based on Consumer Emotions

1.      Establishing Deeper Value

What’s the first rule taught in “Marketing School”? Focus on benefits, not features.

If you are working with influencers in the fitness niche to sell your new exercise programme, don’t talk about the new cardio and strength exercises people can do using your programme. No, you need to focus your content on how these new exercises will melt away fat in just 10 minutes per day. You will want to talk about how great people will look on the beach after finishing your programme.

Marketers create deeper value and pull at consumers’ emotions whenever they shift their focus to a product’s benefits. Most people really don’t care what a product can do. They are interested in what it can do to help them, though.

2.      Eliminating Regret

As humans, we suffer from what is commonly called the Paradox of Choice. This concept highlights the fact that humans hate to make decisions when they have too many choices. The free choice may indicate you have more freedom, but at the same time, it creates a fear of you getting your decision wrong.

Marketers realise this. This is another reason they know not to concentrate on features – consumers are often turned off when they perceive that a product has too many features, which they don’t know how to use.

Clever marketers have discovered that it is a good idea to pitch solutions to people’s problems that won’t cause post-purchase regret and add to consumer worries. Once a bond of trust is made, you can strengthen emotional connections even deeper.

3.      Alleviating Psychological Pain

One of the oldest aims of marketing is to help the consumer avoid the “pains” of life. Try to pitch your influencer marketing content to show how your product can help remove the anxieties of your influencer’s target audience.

For example, if you are selling tax software, utilize financial influencers to demonstrate how you can minimize their followers’ tax. Influencer marketing is no different to other types of marketing in this sense. You still need to show people how you can improve their personal wellbeing.

Sentiment Analysis vs Emotion Analysis

Rick Miller argues in Understanding Consumers’ Emotional Fingerprint: Why Sentiment Is Misleading that “at the end of the day, emotions drive consumers’ purchase-related decisions. And brands and marketers need to start taking emotional measurements more seriously when creating content and planning campaigns”.

On the surface, it is easier said than done to measure emotion analysis. How is a brand going to know how somebody using Twitter truly feels about their product if it is referred to by an influencer in a tweet? For that matter, how do they know what emotion the reader was in the moment he picked up his phone or started up his computer. Perhaps they were in the perfect headspace to take notice of your product. Alternatively, they might have been in the middle of an argument with somebody, and no matter how good your product is, they would be disinterested in it.

Although potentially less detailed than full emotion analysis, sentiment analysis is probably an easier way to measure influencer marketing. Sentiment analysis is the examination of the feelings behind words used. Although this clearly is not full-scale emotion analysis, it does give a better guide than just raw numbers of likes, shares, re-tweets, links etc do.

How You Can Track Sentiment Analysis in Social Media

Sentiment Analysis provides some scope of you customers emotions, however, it is important to recognise that sentiment analysis really struggles to pick up things like sarcasm. Therefore you need to not put your full trust in such software. Sentiment analysis is a relatively easy way for brands to keep track of peoples’ sentiment about them. There are a variety of tools that help give brands a good estimation of consumers’ feeling towards their marketing. Brands can apply these tools both to their own social media accounts and to the postings made on behalf of them by influencers.

You may notice that your brand received 10,000 mentions on Twitter last week. That’s a good thing, right? Not necessarily. Think how many firms have been on the wrong end of a Twitter crusade.

McDonald’s discovered this in 2012 when they encouraged people to share stories about the company, using the #McDStories hashtag. The problem is that brands can’t control hashtags. Before long McDonald’s were seeing tweets such a”Hospitalized for food poisoning after eating McDonald’s in 1989. Never ate there again and became a Vegetarian. Should have sued. #McDStories” Clearly, the writer’s sentiment here was not what McDonald’s were hoping for. As a result you it’s very to have an effective influencer marketing strategy in place using the right influencers.

There are a variety of tools that can help brands with sentiment analysis of their social and influencer marketing.

1.      Google Alerts

One free way to “hack” together mentions for your brand is with Google Alerts. The trick is to determine the exact terms to monitor. You don’t simply want to monitor uses of your brand’s name. You want to see how it ties in with certain words that indicate either a positive or negative sentiment. For instance, McDonald’s might monitor instances of “Good Big Mac” or “Great McDonald’s service” or “long wait at McDonald’s’”.

It will probably take some trial and error to determine which are the most common phrases used regarding your brand. It is also more difficult for a business with a fairly generic name. You can get many false positives if your name is used in another context.


2.      Meltwater

Meltwater offers companies a variety of monitoring, analysis, distribution and engagement services. As part of its monitoring service, it searches out for mentions of company names online. This is not fully automated and Meltwater pays people to analyse the sentiment behind any mentions, giving each one a sentiment rating. They claim that their sentiment analysis is about 80% accurate (which is higher than other methods).

3.      HootSuite Insight

Hootsuite has a standalone product, HootSuite Insights, which allows subscribers to scan social media for company mentions. Each mention is scored by how positive or negative the sentiment is. You can also track relevant keywords like “Thank you” and “amazing” across your accounts.

True Emotion Analysis

Semantic analysis is a reasonable indication of a person’s feelings, but it is still only a proxy for their true emotions. It is still very limited in that it really only says whether somebody feels positive, negative or neutral towards a business at a moment in time. Yes, you can adapt it to social and influencer marketing to see how positively a person reacts to a particular message, but you can’t go much deeper than that.

True emotion analysis looks at a wider range of human states.

An academic paper “Emotion and cognition in political communication” by Ann Iren Jamtøy, gives a good description of some key emotional terms. She spits what the layman thinks of as emotions into four terms:

  • Emotions – “specific sets of physiological and mental dispositions triggered by the brain in response to the perceived significance of a situation or object for an individual’s goal.”
  • Feelings – “the subjective awareness and experience of emotions”
  • Moods – “diffuse positive or negative states that last for longer periods of time (than emotions)”
  • Affect – “an umbrella term referring to an entire class of phenomena that is often taken to include both emotions, feelings and moods, but also pain, pleasure and basic human drives”.

People are complex. They have different emotions, feelings, moods and affect all going on simultaneously. To compound the situation, people are very good at internalising their emotions, feelings, moods and affect. They can even hide their emotional states from themselves.

All of this makes it very difficult to measure the emotional impact of a form of marketing – even more so one performed at arms’ length, as much of influencer marketing is.

How Marketers Use Emotion Analysis

Offline marketers have started to experiment with more detailed emotion analysis in recent years. The key to this is using facial detection technology to examine how people react to marketing messages. Facial recognitions companies have been able to build models where they can determine what combinations of a face’s micro expressions mean.

For instance, some supermarkets have set up in-store displays which contain hidden cameras. These cameras catch the facial expression of the consumers who react to the advertising displays. The software can tell if the ad pleases them, makes them unhappy, angers them, confuses them, or leads them to a number of other emotional states.

Retailers sometimes combine this facial detection technology with facial recognition to identify particular customers and make customised offers to them. Conversely, they sometimes use facial recognition to send security after those they recognize as known shoplifters.

We recently saw how Mars used this type of software in an online setting where they examined the micro-movements on the faces of participants to establish which parts of campaigns established emotional reactions.

The Future of Emotion Analysis With Influencer Marketing

Perhaps it’s not possible to go much further than sentiment analysis on a regular basis online. If you need facial detection to gather emotions, then you need permission to use people’s cameras to collect the data.

The reality is that in this privacy-conscious age, it is near impossible for marketers can collect data about everybody. They will only be able to work with people who willing consent to share their online cameras. This is trickier still with influencer marketing alike all forms of digital marketing, where there is a layer between the brand and the end consumer.

However, if influencers can convince their supporters to share their cameras, to allow emotional analysis of their faces, it would be hugely insightful. It could provide exceptional insight into the true emotions, (feelings, moods and affect) of your influencers’ supporters. Just how positively do they look at the messages an influencer puts out on behalf of a brand than they do on other types of messages shared?

Emotion analysis gives an exceptional opportunity to reassess the true effect of particular types of marketing messages. There is potential to see how people truly react to social media messages, whether they be promotional or purely conversational.

Of course, who knows where this could lead. Will our future smart watches include perspiration readers to see if a promotional post increases the reader’s level of nervousness? Time will tell just how far we can marry emotion analysis and influencer marketing.


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