There’s a difference between ‘having data’ and having data you can do something with.

In light of this, it’s rather telling that 58% of C-suites think that big data analytics have virtually no impact on top line growth (3% or less), according to research conducted by Teradata for Forbes.

As a digital marketer, or someone who works in the marketing, communications and branding industry, you’ll often be tasked with sharing reports that identify where your business is trending, how many likes your campaigns have achieved and their overall sentiment. But how often do you pause to consider the ‘why’ behind a consumer’s click, comment or even emoji?

Consumers express emotions (frustration and delights) daily in their experiences with the products and services they consume. Both emotions are a goldmine for a business, whether you’re an innovator or marketer, so a deeper understanding of user and consumer emotion represents the next frontier for digital analytics.

Metrics that matter

When thinking about innovation, it’s important to have the right mindset and tools at your disposal to unlock the insights you need to innovate or improve successfully. Moving away from ‘traditional’ old world measurements can be challenging in a business, however, to find the true meaning of bulky data sets, you must start thinking about emotions and their root causes, desires, energy and engagement.

Tools such as StarMaker are built with this in mind - to identify unprompted narrative containing excitement, or frustrations to resolve that can unlock potential innovations or areas for optimisation. From these, you can measure engagement, as well as indicators of emotions in posts - what is the specific emotion, how many, are excited, where and why is there frustration? You may not have considered it before, but when analysing data sets, look out for the ‘but’ in the sentence, it will provide you with the thing that tells you exactly what to improve on, directly from your target market e.g. “The hot sauce was EPIC but a tad less pepper would be great!!”. An ensemble of these micro-frustrations in a single spot may present an opportunity for a transformational innovation.

Once new metrics are implemented, it’s easier to form a larger picture of how a category, product launch or campaign truly performs online. Buzzfeed, for example, recently used StarMaker to measure consumers’ reactions to their Tasty recipe videos, revealing what ingredients and flavours people liked, disliked, wanted more of, and what occasions they wanted to eat the dishes during.

Go beyond words, learn the lingo, listen harder

Emojis are the hieroglyphics of the modern era, and are a great source of information.

How many angry faces did a new product video achieve vs. smiley faces? Within one emoji search, it’s possible to see an overview of the overall sentiment towards a product or service. Emoticons are the new language of the internet age and shouldn’t be ignored as they can give a great overview of sentiment and engagement, in both the reaction button on Facebook and in the comment section. Analysis of emojis together with acronyms, abbreviations and unprompted comments creates powerful insights on how to connect with a target audience. Phrasing online also needs close attention to be reported accurately, with comments such as ‘I want to make them so bad’ easily being mislabelled as a negative comment. Balancing keyword sensitivity and context accuracy is a huge challenge for delivering smart emotion analytics, and it is one StarMaker is leading the industry on.

Analytics tools that decode the emotion behind responses from billions of people online, into easy-to-understand data need to be used more within the marketing world. When people turn to shout into the online void, they usually do so out of frustration or excitement. Understanding their emotion, dissecting it (be it positive or negative) is instrumental for marketers to find the insight needed to elevate an innovation.

Big data is no longer the drain on resources that C-suite execs think. It’s a wealth of spontaneous and unprompted consumer reactions that can be transformed into insights for innovation and optimisation. Going forward, consider how emotional analytics and the right tools, can help develop new concepts and pinpoint the most important features and benefits that a hit innovation will need to have.


By Dave Hood, group innovation director at

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