This graphic summarizes a great deal of data and analysis, and manages to tell a very clear story. We constructed it using a set of tools for gathering, sorting, analyzing and presenting Twitter data. Specifically, Environics collected tweets using DataSift, searching for people talking about the major provincial political parties in Alberta, their leaders and the Alberta Legislature. Over 73 days before the Alberta provincial election of 2015, we collected 131,563 tweets. Next, we had to crunch them. The sentiment analysis in the chart was run by DataSift using the Lexalytics Salience sentiment engine. The cumulative, running net sentiment scores were calculated and presented using Tableau data visualization tools.
It’s fun to apply these tools to elections because so many exciting stories can unfold during a political race. But, of course, this kind of analysis is very useful for corporate brands as well. For instance, it can help paint a much clearer picture of whether an embarrassing moment in time is being forgotten or hanging around. To illustrate this more clearly, consider the simplified analysis below. Here, we’ve taken social media data from a previous study relating to a Rogers Communications wireless outage and analyzed it with our new sentiment-tracking tool. The left chart, which tracks the sentiment of tweets on an hourly basis, tells us that the outage was a particularly bad moment for Roger’s digital brand. Customers took to Twitter to vent about their frustrations, but once service was restored, the negative tweets quickly dissipated. At first glance, this might seem like the end of the story, but our running sentiment analysis tells a different tale. Here, we can see that, although the negative tweets subsided, the negative sentiment towards Roger’s digital brand lingered and would require an influx of positive sentiment to make a true recovery.
Of course, a true running total sentiment analysis would require months of tracking in order to accurately reflect the sentiment towards a brand, but the value of such tracking is clear. Ultimately, brands that master social analytics will be better positioned to adapt to their customers’ demands and their competitive environments.
As with many simple solutions, the elegance of the final product this analysis produces belies the complexity of the process. Social media is a fast-changing, complicated environment with plenty of echo chambers and dead-ends. It’s not easy to pull the lens back far enough to get a clear picture of an unfolding story. Our own social media tools have come a long way: our outputs used to be dense with frequency counts, raw tweets and other weeds. As we make R&D investments, we continue to make our analysis more powerful, more comprehensible and more actionable for our clients. The clarity of the Prentice story offers evidence of how much value can come of making good choices at every stage of the process: from data-gathering to visualization.
To learn more about our Environics Research’s social listening capabilities please contact Tony Coulson at Tony.Coulson@Environics.ca