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Introduction

Welcome to the first in a series of monthly posts where we’ll be showcasing the power of our News API by looking back at online news stories to uncover emerging insights and trends from topical news categories.

For February, we’re taken a look at the following three news categories;

  1. Arts & Entertainment
  2. Science
  3. Politics

and for each category we have performed the following analysis;

  • Publication volumes over time
  • Top stories
  • Most shared stories on social media
  • Most mentioned topics

Try it yourself

We’ve included code snippets for each of the analyses above so you can follow along or modify to create your own search queries.

If you haven’t already signed up to our News API you can do so here with a free 14 day News API trial.

Arts & Entertainment

The graph below shows publication volumes in the Arts & Entertainment category throughout the month of February 2017.

Note: All visualizations are interactive. SImply hover your cursor over each to explore the various data points and information.

Volume of stories published: Arts & Entertainment

From the graph above we can see a number of spikes indicating sharp rises in publication volumes. Let’s take a look at the top 3;

Top stories

The three stories that contributed to the biggest spikes in news publication volumes;

  1. The Academy Awards (aka the Oscars)
  2. The BAFTAs & Grammys take place on the same night
  3. Reviews of Lady Gaga’s performance during the Super Bowl halftime show

It is interesting to note that the Oscars generated more content than both the BAFTAs and Grammys combined.

While sport-related content is not included in this category, we did see a spike in stories mentioning Lady Gaga after her Super Bowl performance in the halftime show. These stories focused mostly on the singer’s performance and her choice of outfits.

Try it yourself – here’s the query we used for volume by category

Read more: We analyzed 2.2 million Super Bowl tweets to gauge public and media reaction to the game itself and the brands/celebrities featuring throughout;

Sentiment Analysis of 2.2 million Super Bowl tweets from Super Bowl 51

Using NLP to understand how Twitter and the media reacted to the Super Bowl 51 ads battle

Most mentioned topics

From the 52,000+ articles we sourced for the Arts & Entertainment category in February we looked at the most mentioned topics;

With three of the biggest award events in the film and music industries taking place in February, it is no surprise to see these two topics as the top two most mentioned.

Try it yourself – here’s the query we used for most mentioned topics

Read more: We looked at the online news media reaction the the 89th Academy Awards;

The Oscars: analyzing 22,000 news stories using Natural Language Processing & Text Analysis

Most shared on social media

What were the most shared stories on social media? We analyzed share counts from Facebook, LinkedIn and Reddit to see what type of content is performing best on each channel.

Facebook

  1. 50 Most Popular Women on the Web, Per Google Search Results (ABC News. 152,570 shares)
  2. Adam Levine to Receive Star on Hollywood Walk of Fame (Billboard. 103,658)

LinkedIn

  1. 14 of the Best Brands on Instagram Right Now (HubSpot. 2,158 shares)
  2. PwC issues apology after Oscars best picture envelope mistake (The Guardian. 1,354)

Reddit

  1. Louis C.K. Inks Deal With Netflix for Two Stand-Up Specials (Variety. 32,534 points)
  2. Childish Gambino is ‘definitely’ working with Chance the Rapper (MTC. 20,013 points)

Try it yourself – here’s the query we used for social shares


Science

We sourced a total of 26,000+ news stories categorized under Science and found that scientific discoveries tend to generate the most news content.

Volume of stories published: Science

Top stories

  1. NASA announce the discovery of 7 Earth-like planets
  2. Scientists turn food poisoning microbe into powerful cancer fighter
  3. Scientists reveal a new 8th continent called ‘Zealandia’

On February 22 NASA were excited to share the news that they had discovered 7 Earth-like planets just 40 light years away that could potentially harbour alien life.

Closer to home, it was discovered that an eighth continent Zealandia existed and that a food poisoning microbe could be turned into a powerful cancer fighter.

Most mentioned topics

Although it didn’t generate quite as much news content as the previously mentioned stories, the drought in California and other parts of the US was evident among the most mentioned topics in the Science category.

Most shared on social media

Facebook

  1. Exxon knew of climate change in 1981, email says – but it funded deniers for 27 more years (The Guardian. 144,647 shares)
  2. Earth Day picked as date for science march on Washington (CNN. 81,870 shares)

LinkedIn

  1. Science Says These Five Things Prove You’re Smart (Forbes. 2,857 shares)
  2. NASA Announces Discovery Of 7 Earth-Sized Planets In Nearby Star System (Real Clear Politics. 1,423 shares)

Reddit

  1. China is now the world’s largest solar power producer (Digital Trends. 52,397 points)
  2. ‘Shell knew’: oil giant’s 1991 film warned of climate change danger (The Guardian. 32,414 points)

Law, Government & Politics

For the Law, Government & Politics category we thought we would try something a little different. The chart below shows two separate volume trends. The red volume represents all 163,000+ stories published in this category in February. The yellow volume represents all stories from this category that did not mention Donald Trump. The total: 48,000 stories.

This means that around 70% of all stories in this category mentioned the US President.

Volume of stories published: Law, Government & Politics with/without Trump

Most mentioned topics

Try it yourself – here’s the query we used for category volumes without Trump

With our previous observation in mind, you probably won’t be surprised by the most mentioned topics from the 163,000+ stories published in the Law, Government & Politics category.

Most shared on social media

Facebook

  1. Alabama immigration: crops rot as workers vanish to avoid crackdown (The Guardian. 217,679 shares)
  2. 18 WTF Moments From Trump’s Unhinged Press Conference (Rolling Stone. 113,397 shares)

LinkedIn

  1. It’s official, Narendra Modi is the most followed world leader on Facebook (Quartz. 2,540)
  2. What CEOs say happened in Trump’s closed-door meeting with big pharma (Washington Post. 1,570 shares)

Reddit

  1. US appeals court upholds suspension of Trump travel ban (CNBC. 90,980 points)
  2. Fox News’s ‘Swedish defence advisor’ unknown to country’s military officials (The Guardian. 74,772 points)

Conclusion

We hope that this post has given you an idea of the kind of in-depth and precise analyses that our News API users are performing to source and analyze specific news content that is of interest to them.

Ready to try the News API for yourself? Simply click the image below to sign up for a 14-day free trial.





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Introduction

Last week we showed you how we analyzed 2.2 million tweets associated with Super Bowl 51 to gauge the public’s reaction to the event. While the Atlanta Falcons and New England Patriots waged war on the field, a battle of ever-increasing popularity and importance was taking place off it. We are of course referring to the Super Bowl ads battle, where some of biggest brands on Earth pay top dollar for a 30-second slot during one of sport’s greatest spectacles.

With roughly 35% of the US population tuning in to watch this year’s Super Bowl, it’s easy to see why brands pay what they do to be involved, which is in the region of $5 million for 30 seconds of airtime. Breaking it down, that’s over $166,000 per second!

So after analyzing how Twitter reacted to the game itself, we wanted to once again dive into the much anticipated and scrutinized battle of the brands, this time by looking at both Twitter’s reaction as well online news content.

Our Process

In particular, we were interested in uncovering and investigating the following key areas:

  • Volume of tweets before, during and after the game
  • Sentiment of tweets before, during and after the game
  • Brand-specific public reactions
  • Brand-specific tweet volumes
  • Reaction from online news
  • Most mentioned brands and individuals in online news

To do so, we looked at both Twitter and the news.

Twitter

We used the Twitter Streaming API to collect a total of around 2.2 million tweets that mentioned a selection of game and team-related keywords, hashtags and handles. Using the AYLIEN Text Analysis API, we then analyzed each of these tweets and visualized our results using Tableau.

News

To analyze the reaction in online news content, we performed specific search queries using the AYLIEN News API, again using Tableau to visualize.

Our Predictions

Prior to the Super Bowl, we looked at and analyzed brand mention volumes in online news in an attempt to predict how the public would react to their ads when they aired during the game.

From our analysis, we selected our top 3 Super Bowl ads to watch out for and made predictions for each. We’ll expand on each prediction below and also look at the performance of some other interesting brands. Here are the brands we analyzed;

  • Pepsi
  • Budweiser
  • Avocados from Mexico
  • Intel
  • KFC
  • Snickers
  • T-Mobile
  • KIA

You can also check out the original blog post here: Using NLP & media monitoring to predict the winners and losers of the Super Bowl 51 ads battle.

So without further ado, let’s see how we did!

Tweet volumes by brand

To begin, we wanted to see which brands performed best in terms of tweet mentions. How many tweets contained a mention of each brand?

The chart below shows how brand-related chatter on Twitter developed before, during and after the game.

Straight away we can see that two brands in particular considerably outperformed the rest when it came to spikes in mention volumes; Pepsi and Avocados from Mexico.

These two brands along with Budweiser make up our top 3, with the others really failing to make much of an impact in comparison.

Perhaps the most interesting observation from this chart is the double volume spike for Pepsi, which came pre-game and mid-game. Let’s take a look the reason behind this;

Pepsi

Our pre-game predictions

  • Huge Twitter mention volumes for Pepsi, owing to Lady Gaga’s performance.
  • Low mention volumes for LIFEWTR and Pepsi Zero Sugar.
  • Tame public reaction to LIFEWTR commercial and very low YouTube views.

Analysis

In terms of tweet mention volume, Pepsi was a clear overall winner. The beverage giant focused their efforts on generating awareness around two new products; LIFEWTR and Pepsi Zero Sugar. LIFEWTR was given it’s own commercial in the first quarter, while Zero Sugar sponsored the halftime show.

Judging by the sheer volume of tweet chatter around Pepsi, you might assume that their ad and new products have been well received by the viewing public. However, as we predicted prior to the game, Pepsi’s high mentions volume was mostly down to the fact that they sponsored the halftime show, that starred Lady Gaga. The two spikes visible in the chart below actually have very little to do with either product. Rather, they represent 1) a barrage pre-game good luck Gaga tweets and 2) Twitter’s reaction to the singer’s halftime show performance.

Sentiment analysis of Pepsi tweets

The chart below shows volumes of positive and negative tweets before, during and after the game. It should be noted that the majority of tweets collected have neutral sentiment, and offer no opinion either way. We therefore exclude tweets with neutral sentiment.

Less than 5% of tweets mentioning Pepsi also included mentions of LIFEWTR or Zero Sugar, such was the dominance of Lady Gaga on Twitter. While Pepsi had a strong brand presence throughout the event, they perhaps failed to highlight their two new products. The chart below compares mentions of Pepsi and Lady Gaga, with an obvious winner;

Further evidence of Pepsi’s apparent failure to highlight their new products comes from the LIFEWTR ad performance on YouTube, which currently has 1.2 million views. When compared to the likes of KIA and Mr. Clean whose ads have 21.6 and 14.5 million views respectively, you can see how little of an impact the commercial had on viewers.

Watch: Pepsi’s Super Bowl ad for LIFEWTR

Budweiser

Our pre-game predictions

  • Most controversial ad this year
  • Ad content will be irrelevant, and a political debate will rage on Twitter

Analysis

Budweiser’s Super Bowl ad, titled Born The Hard Way, depicts Adolphus Busch, the co-founder of Anheuser-Busch, arriving in the US from Germany with a dream of opening his own beer brewery. With the immigrant-theme and opening line “You don’t look like you’re from around here”, the ad unintentionally fuelled a political debate online as Trump supporters saw it as a clear dig at the President’s planned travel ban, while Trump opposers saw it as political statement and celebration of immigrant history in the US.

Sentiment analysis of Budweiser tweets

The high volumes of both positive and negative tweets certainly backs up our prediction of Budweiser airing the most controversial ad of Super Bowl 51. While positive sentiment outweighed negative throughout the event, it is clear to see there was a strong split in opinion here.
As expected, the ad itself was minimally discussed on Twitter. Rather, it was seen as a political statement and one that many felt they needed to be either for or against. On one side of the fence, we had tweeters threatening to never buy Budweiser products again and using #boycottbudweiser in their tweets.



On the other side, we had people declaring their love for the brand, and encouraging others to go out and buy the beer!



Although Budweiser claim the ad was shot in Summer of 2016, long before the current controversy around Trump’s travel ban came to the fore, we are left to wonder whether their timing was mere coincidence or a well planned publicity stunt.

Watch: Budweiser’s Super Bowl ad “Born The Hard Way”

Snickers

Our pre-game predictions

  • Live format will inspire and drive high social engagement.
  • A popular cast, inclusion of horses and a fun theme will see Snickers near the top of our most liked ads in terms of positive Twitter sentiment.

Analysis

Snickers made Super Bowl history this year by being the first brand to perform and broadcast their commercial live during the event. With the intrigue of a live performance, as well as the inclusion of superstars like Betty White and Adam Driver, we were excited to see how this one played out, particularly the reaction on social media.

Sentiment analysis of Snickers tweets

While we did pretty well predicting the reactions to both the Pepsi and Budweiser ads, we’ll put our hands up here and admit we got this one wrong!

Overall, mentions of Snickers on Twitter were very low. From the tweets we did gather, the vast majority of them had neutral sentiment, meaning viewers really didn’t feel strongly about the ad either way.

Whether they are well received or not, great ads tend to make people feel something. Unfortunately for Snickers, their innovative approach and live broadcast wasn’t enough to make up for an ad that failed to make viewers feel anything, and ultimately it fell flat.

Watch: Snickers LIVE Super Bowl ad

Lady Gaga vs. the brands

We showed earlier the impact that Lady Gaga had on Pepsi’s tweet volumes, but to really drive home the full extent of Twitter’s reaction to the singer during the Super Bowl, we’ve compared total tweet volumes for each of the three brands we’ve looked at in this post and compared them to Lady Gaga’s.

Tweet volumes: Lady Gaga, Pepsi, Budweiser & Snickers

Reaction in online news

Now that we’ve looked at some of the public reaction to Super Bowl 51 on Twitter, we wanted to also look at how at how the news reacted to the event, and in particular the ads battle. To do this, we began by looking at the most mentioned keywords in news stories mentioning “Super Bowl” and “ad” or “commercial”.

Note: We removed obvious, unhelpful and game-related keywords such as Houston, football, Falcons, Tom Brady, etc.

What were the most talked about Super Bowl topics in the news?

The bubble chart below shows the most mentioned topics from online news content in the week immediately following the Super Bowl. The bigger the bubble, the higher the mention count. You can hover over each bubble to view more information and data.

It’s hard to escape politics these days, and the Super Bowl was no exception. With the likes of Budweiser, Airbnb, 84 Lumber, Audi and Coca-Cola all airing ads that related to the current political climate, it is no surprise to see these brands mentioned most alongside political and Donald Trump.

Most mentioned individuals

With brands mostly dominating the previous chart, we decided to narrow our focus on the individuals who were mentioned most. Again, Donald Trump tops the list, followed by Lady Gaga, Melissa McCarthy (KIA ad) and Justin Bieber (T-Mobile ad).

Conclusion

As we touched on in our previous post, the modern-day Super Bowl is becoming increasingly less about the game itself, and more about the surrounding hype, entertainment and commercial opportunities that come with an event of such magnitude.

With top brands spending a minimum of $5 million for a 30 second commercial, what seems like a heavy investment can result in a big increase in brand awareness as viewers promote ads through shares and likes on social media. There is uncapped potential for these ads too. Create something special that connects with, amuses or fascinates viewers and your ad may be viewed and shared for years to come.

Thanks to advancements in Natural Language Process and Text Analysis, brands can analyze ad performance down to the minutest of details and gain powerful insights in their quest to create commercial content that resonates with viewers.





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Introduction

We’re just two days away from seeing the Atlanta Falcons and New England Patriots go head to head at Super Bowl 51 in Texas. With an anticipated viewership of over 100 million people, it’s no surprise that some of the world’s biggest brands are pulling out all the stops in an attempt to win a much anticipated off-field battle. We are of course talking about the annual Super Bowl ads battle, where top brands are willing to cough up over $5 million for just 30 seconds of TV airtime.

Sentiment Analysis of tweets from Super Bowl 2016

Last year, we analyzed 1.8 million tweets during Super Bowl 50 to uncover the best, the worst, and the most controversial ads according to Twitter users. Using advanced Sentiment Analysis techniques, we were able to uncover that Amazon’s star-studded effort was the most popular ad at Super Bowl 50, earning the highest volume of positive tweets. PayPal, on the other hand, found themselves at the opposite end of the positivity scale, receiving the highest volume of negative tweets. And the most controversial? We had a clear winner in that category with Mountain Dew’s Puppy Monkey Baby shocking, confusing and amusing viewers in equal measure!

Of course, it’s not all about those 30 seconds of TV airtime. Brands that create something memorable can reap the rewards long after the final whistle has blown. Popular ads can go viral in minutes, with those that fail to impress being left behind and quickly forgotten. Just take a look at the YouTube views for these three brand ads since Super Bowl 50;

YouTube views since Super Bowl 50

With close to 30 million YouTube hits, it’s safe to say that Mountain Dew did pretty well from their wacky creation last year! For PayPal on the other hand, it was back to the drawing board with an expensive disappointment.

Watch: Mountain Dew’s Super Bowl 50 ad “Puppymonkeybaby”

Note: In this post, which is part 1 of a 3 part series, we’re going to focus on the hype surrounding the ads battle in the lead up to big game. Check back for part 2 and 3 where we’ll dive into the in-game reaction on social media and how the brands fared from the press reaction after the event.

The most anticipated ads of Super Bowl 51

This year, as well as once again analyzing millions of tweets to uncover the good, the bad and the ugly among Super Bowl 51 commercials (check back next week for that one!), we thought it would be cool to find out which brands are receiving the most media attention in the lead up to the event.

Using the AYLIEN News API we sourced and analyzed thousands of news stories that mentioned keywords relating to the Super Bowl and the brands that are advertising throughout. From these stories, and using the power of Natural Language Processing in our Text Analysis engine, we were able to uncover which brands have been mentioned most in news stories in the lead up to the event..

The top 15 most mentioned brands

The bubble chart below represents the 15 brands that have received the most mentions in Super Bowl commercial-related news content since January 1. The bigger the bubble, the higher the mentions volume;

Right away we can see a clear leader in Budweiser, who received 50% more mentions than the second most mentioned brand, Pepsi. Why are Budweiser receiving so much attention? Well, much like Mountain Dew last year, controversy is proving to be a key factor, as we’re about to show you.


Want to track mentions and get intelligent, NLP-driven insights into the world’s news content? Sign-up for a free 14 day trial of our News API and get started!

Our top 3 Super Bowl commercials to watch out for

Having uncovered the top 15 most mentioned brands, we thought we would put our necks on the line by selecting three of these brands that we believe will make the biggest splash on social media during Super Bowl 51.

Budweiser

In an attempt to better understand the reasoning behind the hype around Budweiser, we analyzed all news stories mentioning “Super Bowl” and “Budweiser” to see what other topics were present in the collection of articles. From our results we removed keywords relating to the football game itself, as well as obvious brand-related words such as Bud, Anheuser-Busch, beer, etc. The topics that remained quickly gave us an indication of why this ad is proving to be controversial in the US;

Topics extracted from stories mentioning “Super Bowl” and “Budweiser”

Coincidence, or political statement?

Budweiser’s commercial preview, titled Born The Hard Way, shows Adolphus Busch, the co-founder of Anheuser-Busch, arriving in the US from Germany with the dream of opening his beer brewery. With the immigrant-theme of the commercial and opening line of dialogue being “You don’t look like you’re from around here”, the thoughts of political statement quickly spring to mind.

Watch: Budweiser’s Super Bowl ad preview “Born The Hard Way”

Despite Budweiser vice-president, Ricardo Marques, stating that “There’s really no correlation with anything else that’s happening in the country”, news outlets and social media commentators beg to differ, with a strong split in opinion quickly forming. We’re even seeing the spread of #BoycottBudweiser across many tweets.



Whether intentional or not, Budweiser have placed themselves firmly at the center of an fiery debate on immigration, and it will be fascinating to see the public reaction to their main showpiece on Sunday.

Our Budweiser prediction

  • Most controversial ad this year
  • Ad content will be irrelevant, and a political debate will rage on Twitter

Snickers

Snickers will make Super Bowl history this year by being the first brand to perform and broadcast their commercial live during the event.

While Snickers have released a number of small teaser-style previews with a western-theme, we’re still not sure exactly how this one is going to play out.

Watch: Snickers’ Super Bowl ad teaser

With the intrigue of a live performance, as well as the inclusion of superstars like Betty White and Adam Driver, we’re excited to see how this one goes, particularly the reaction on social media.

Live commercial, live Twitter reaction

The world’s first live Super Bowl commercial presents us with the opportunity to track public reaction before, during and after the performance. While we’ll be tracking and analyzing the reaction to all of our top 15 ads, the uniqueness of Snickers’ live commercial brings a whole new level of insight into the tracking of public opinion. Judging by the teasers, it appears that Snickers are going for a wild west-style performance with horses, celebrities and a number of performers.

The big question is, how will social media respond to a real-time, potentially unpolished and unpredictable live performance? We can’t wait to find out!

Our Snickers prediction

  • Live format will inspire and drive high social engagement.
  • A popular cast, inclusion of horses and a fun theme will see Snickers near the top of our most liked ads in terms of positive Twitter sentiment.


Want to track Twitter reactions yourself? Build your own sentiment analysis tool in just 10 minutes. No coding required, and it’s free 🙂

Pepsi

Our second most mentioned brand, Pepsi are investing heavily in Super Bowl 51 with commercials for two products, as well as sponsoring the 12-minute Halftime Show.

For Pepsi, their main aim is to generate awareness around two new products; LIFEWTR and Pepsi Zero Sugar. Have they been successful in this regard so far? While our post-game analysis will give us a better indication of the overall success of their campaign, we can perhaps already say that these two products are being somewhat overshadowed.

Here are the top keywords from stories mentioning “Super Bowl” and “Pepsi”, excluding game-related and obvious brand-related keywords such as Houston, PepsiCo, football, etc.

Topics extracted from stories mentioning “Super Bowl” and “Pepsi”

If you weren’t aware of who was performing during the Super Bowl Halftime Show, now you are! Lady Gaga is absolutely dominating in terms of media mentions, and Pepsi’s high mention volume is most definitely a result of the singer’s involvement in the Halftime Show that they just happen to be sponsoring.

Perhaps worryingly for Pepsi, we saw no mention of LIFEWTR or Pepsi Zero Sugar in our top 100 keyword results.

Watch: Pepsi Super Bowl 51 ad “Inspiration Drops”

Last year, PayPal were accused of playing it safe when it came to their Super Bowl ad. Have Pepsi made the same mistake with LIFEWTR?

Our Pepsi prediction

  • Huge Twitter mention volumes for Pepsi, owing to Lady Gaga’s performance.
  • Low mention volumes for LIFEWTR and Pepsi Zero Sugar.
  • Tame public reaction to LIFEWTR commercial and very low YouTube views.

Who will be the winners and losers at Super Bowl 51?

We’ll be listening to and analyzing news and social media content before, during and after Super Bowl 51 to bring you our annual insights into public and media reaction to both the game itself and the ads battle, so check back next week to find out who were the biggest winners and losers!

Happy Super Bowl weekend to you all 🙂


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Introduction

In recent years, the monitoring of social media and news content has become a major aspect of business intelligence strategies, and with good reason too. Analyzing the voice of the customer provides extensive and meaningful insights on how to interpret and learn from consumer behavior. With over 2.3 billion active social media users out there, there’s a wealth of information being generated every second of every day, across a variety of social channels.

Direct access to consumer opinion was traditionally only available in closed and controlled environments like surveys and feedback groups, but today it’s accessible everywhere on the web; on social media, in reviews, in blogs and even news outlets. Hence why it’s been dubbed the modern day focus group.

Across social channels, a staggering 96% of people will talk about a brand without actually following its social media accounts. So while a company may be actively responding to direct messages and queries to its own channels, if they’re not paying attention to what is being said elsewhere, they’re missing out on a goldmine of useful and often freely available data and opportunity.

So why isn’t every company out there keeping track of every mention of their brand or products online; there’s simply too much information out there to manually keep track of. Not alone does the average Internet user have 5.54 social media accounts, but the sheer volume of chatter and content generated among them is so vast, it would be impossible to even attempt keeping up with.

When talking about a company or brand online, in some cases, the consumer will aim their message directly at the company Facebook page or Twitter handle, where it can be picked up and acted upon by a customer care rep. But what about the comments that aren’t written as a direct message?

Screen Shot 2016-10-19 at 11.19.37

Screen Shot 2016-10-19 at 11.21.22

Depending on the size of your industry, following, or customer base, there could be thousands, if not millions of similar messages scattered across the various social media channels and online review sites. It’s a mammoth challenge, but one that is being conquered and taken advantage of by savvy organizations out there. Enter Text Analysis and Natural Language Processing (NLP).

Recent advancements in Text Analysis and NLP are enabling companies to collect, mine and analyze user generated content and conversations, a level of insight and analysis at a scale that was previously not possible. If you’re not tapping into the wealth of data out there and monitoring each and every mention of your company, brand, product line or even competitors online, you’re missing out on a number of key business opportunities;

  • Crisis prevention and damage limitation
  • Research and product development
  • Customer support and retention

Crisis prevention and damage limitation

While social media is, for the most part, a public forum, many interactions between a customer and a company online will not be seen by the greater public. In many cases, direct messages to companies on social are handled swiftly and taken to private messaging, out of the public eye, where they can then be handled via email or phone call. However, it is also vital to track, compile and analyze each non-direct interaction and mention of your brand in order to spot any potentially dangerous trends that may be developing. You may, for example, begin to notice a sharp increase in the number of customers complaining about a specific aspect of your product.

What begins on social media as a customer complaint or grievance, can very quickly snowball into something far more serious, and wind up in mainstream news media, which is truly the last place you want to see your brand being portrayed in a negative light, as it’s reach and potential virality holds no bounds.

Let’s look at Samsung’s recent exploding battery crisis. On August 24, a report of an exploding Samsung Note appeared on Chinese social network Baidu. While it received some attention, one-off stories like this are often attributed to be exactly that, a one-off.

One week later, however, a second and similar report emerged from Korea. These reports were suddenly no longer refined to social channels as mainstream media quickly picked up on a developing story surrounding one of the world’s leading tech companies.

Screen Shot 2016-10-19 at 11.41.03

Image: businesskorea.co.kr

While Samsung were left with no choice but to recall and cease production of the Note 7, this is a prime example of how a crisis can begin with a couple of posts on social media channels and ultimately end up as one of the biggest crises the company has ever had to face.

Although the problem lays in the production of the Note 7, what is interesting to observe is the period of 6-7 days after the initial report of an exploding phone in China. Looking at news sources from this period, there appeared to be no increase in negative publicity for Samsung. In fact, the number of stories about Samsung decreased in the days following the post on Baidu.

Screen Shot 2016-10-19 at 11.51.02

The volume of stories written about Samsung trebled almost overnight after reports of a second Note 7 explosion in Korea

As soon as that second explosion was reported in Korea, however, the number of stories being written about Samsung trebled almost overnight.

The successful launch of a product or campaign relies heavily on the initial consumer reaction.. Early negative reviews can be difficult to recover from, but by monitoring consumer reactions you are giving yourself a golden opportunity to spot problems early, resolve them in a timely manner and prevent any initial negativity from snowballing.

You can quickly get a picture of what your customers are talking about, what keywords and topics appear most frequently in their commentary and whether the overall sentiment is positive or negative. This doesn’t stop with your own customers, however. You can learn just as much by monitoring mentions of your competitors and their products online.

Product research & development

From that initial lightbulb moment to the day of product launch, many opinions will be voiced about the direction this process should take. While many will have their say and provide their input, decisions that are made based on solid research data will give the product its best chance of success, both on launch day and beyond. It can be crucial, particularly in the early stages of the process, to identify trends and perform audience segmentation to help define the scope and direction it will take.

Initial research focusing on the consumer need that is to be addressed with the new product or service can focus on a number of key areas, to help pinpoint that market niche. By monitoring the voice of the customer and their reactions to existing competitors, you can quickly develop an understanding about what they are doing well, and what they (or you!) could improve on. By monitoring their  comments at scale, it’s possible to spot certain product or service aspects that are pain-points for your potential customers and react to those business insights.

A great example of this strategy in action was when L’Oreal used social listening to track the challenges people faced when dyeing their hair, what kind of tools they were using and and the color effects they desired. Not only did they uncover the trends consumers were following most, they also gained a solid understanding of the issues potential customers faced – which they could solve with help from the company’s R&D department. The resulting launch of their Feria Wild Ombre product proved to be hugely successful and helped L’Oreal widen their market as it appealed to consumers who had previously not been hair-dye users.

Loreal

L’Oreal’s targeted social listening campaign proved highly successful with the launch of their Feria Wild Ombre range

Monitoring for product development doesn’t stop on launch day, however. Consumer reactions and opinions going forward are equally as important as they were pre-launch. You may be their hero today, but things can very quickly take a turn for the worse, so it is important to continuously track these opinions, learn from them, and ensure your product evolves accordingly.

Customer support and retention

People love sharing on social media. Whether we’ve just bought a shiny new car, adopted a pet or passed an exam, the chances are that many of us will share our joyous news online. However, should our new car suddenly break down, our resulting online complaints are likely to be seen by twice as many people as our initial positive posting. It’s a harsh reality that companies with an online presence simply have to accept. However, how they chose to monitor and manage such instances can be the crucial differentiator between keeping a customer or losing them to a competitor.

Screen Shot 2016-10-19 at 12.32.07

Image: helpscout.net

Clearly, it’s essential to keep on top of negative mentions online and provide a quick solution. We say quick because social media complainers aren’t willing to wait for 1-2 business days to get a reply. In fact, 53% of people expect a brand to respond to their Tweet in less than an hour. If you’re not listening to your customers, your competitor soon will.

It’s not all about fighting fires and resolving customer complaints on social media, however. A report from the Institute of Customer Service showed that 39% of consumers surveyed actively provide feedback to organizations online, while 31% make pre-sales enquiries. These are positive actions that companies can not only profit from, but also analyze in the same way they would negative actions. By looking at and analyzing every angle, a 360 view of consumer perception can be obtained, which enables a company to spot trends and establish their strengths and weaknesses.

Conclusion

Bringing it all together, we hope that we’ve provided you with some food for thought in relation to how important social media and news monitoring can be to the (initial and ongoing) success of an organization. From idea generation, to tracking your competitors and pleasing/retaining your customers, it can help you to make sense of large amounts of unstructured data online and uncover insights and trends that can boost decision making, influence the evolution of product development and help minimize the risk of damaging press from emerging.

 




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Intro

Risk analysis is a fundamental aspect of any business strategy. It involves identifying and assessing events and occurrences that could negatively affect an organization. The goal of risk analysis is to allow organizations to uncover and examine any risks that may be a factor to their operation as a whole, or to individual products, campaigns, projects and future plans.

How does media monitoring help with risk analysis?

Media monitoring is a major aspect of a modern risk management and analysis strategy. The sheer amount of content created online through blogs, news outlets and social media channels provides organizations with an easily accessible and publicly available source of public opinion and reactions to worldwide events as they unfold.

Put simply, media monitoring enables you to keep track of the general reaction to specific events, whether controlled or not, that might impact an organization. There is a wealth of freely available information out there, but it can be challenging to filter through the noise to find what really matters.

What are the challenges associated with media monitoring?

The main challenge that organizations face when trying to monitor content on the web is the sheer and ever-expanding volume of content being uploaded to the web each and every day. Each company will have specific reasons for mining and monitoring this content and each will have a unique variety of aspects that they are interested in looking at.

What’s required is a solution that allows for super specific and flexible search options, allowing for the sourcing of highly relevant content, as it’s published and thus providing intelligent insights, trends and actionable data from this sourced content.

How is media monitoring being used?

The ability to collect, index and analyze content at scale provides an efficient way to harness publicly available content in order to source and unearth key business insights and trends, that could potentially have adverse affects on a business.

Accuracy and timeliness of information are crucial aspects of this process and with this in mind, we’ll show you some examples of how media monitoring is being used in risk analysis and how our News API can help you keep your finger on the pulse and stay aware of important developments as they happen;

1. Monitoring public opinion and identifying threats

Public opinion towards an organization or their employees, products and brands can often be the making (or breaking) of them. Reputations of organizations among the public can often deteriorate over time and it can be crucial to try and spot such trends before they become a serious issue. To achieve this, the continuous monitoring of specific media searches is required.

Our News API supports Boolean Search which allows you to build simple search queries using standard boolean operators. This means that you can build either general or more targeted queries based on your interests and requirements. As an example, let’s search the following;

Articles that are in English, contain Samsung in the title, have a negative sentiment and were published between 60 days ago and now.

Why negative sentiment? If I’m assessing risk around a certain company, I’ll certainly want to know what they have been up to in recent times, and in particular, any bad press they have been subject to. As we know, bad press usually equates to a negative public perception.

News API results are returned in JSON format, making it easy for you to use the data as you please. Here’s a few examples of visualizations generated from the above search:

Sentiment Polarity

The red line in the graph below represents the levels of negative polarity towards Samsung over the past 60 days.

Screen Shot 2016-10-05 at 12.22.10

It’s clear from this chart that Samsung received some pretty bad press in the month of September, judging by the sharp increase in negative polarity, versus August. Now, of course, we want to know why and whether the root cause of this negativity is going to be a concern or potential risk.

Let’s generate a word cloud from our search results to uncover the most commonly used terms from the stories published during this time period.

Screen Shot 2016-10-05 at 12.22.23

It doesn’t take long to spot some potential causes for concern with battery, batteries, recall, fire, safety and problem all evident.

Samsung’s recent battery issues were well documented in the media, but what may have slipped under the radar for many was the involvement of the Federal Aviation Administration in this event, as you can see in our world cloud above. By modifying our original search to include Federal Aviation Administration, we can dive deeper into their involvement;

Screen Shot 2016-10-05 at 12.35.25

This is a prime example of how targeted searches using the News API can help unearth unforeseen threats or concerns by monitoring public opinion around the entities and events that matter most to your organization.

2. Monitoring competitor and industry activity

Monitoring and analyzing competitor activity can equip you with a wealth of information and provide hints of strategic movements that can provide you with a competitive advantage in your quest for market dominance.

Naturally, competitor activity generates a potential threat to the success of your organization. Just look at Apple and Samsung, for example, where it seems that each action either company takes is carefully scrutinized, analyzed and compared to the other. Samsung were certainly quick to react to Apple’s ‘bendy’ iPhone 6!

samsung

While it was hard to miss stories about Bendgate in the news, not all stories receive such mainstream attention and could easily be missed if you’re not looking at the relevant channels. By monitoring for mentions of specific organizations, brands, products, people and so on, you can be altered as soon as matching article is published. Not only does this make it easy to keep track of your direct competition, it can also help you keep abreast of general industry goings-on and any murmurs of potential new competitors or industry concerns.

3. Crisis management

With so many factors and variables at play and infinite external influences, no industry is immune to a potential crisis. How individual organizations react to such crises can ultimately decide whether they survive to see the end of it or not. Let’s take a look at one industry in particular that has been coming under recent scrutiny for including unsustainable or environmentally-unfriendly ingredients in many of its products – the cosmetics industry.

One such ingredient is palm oil, a substance that has been linked to major issues such as deforestation, habitat degradation, climate change and animal cruelty in the countries where it is produced. As a cosmetics manufacturer who uses palm oil, as many do, the intensifying spotlight on this substance is bound to be of considerable concern.

By monitoring mentions of palm oil in the news, these manufacturers can keep up to date with the latest developments, as they happen, putting them in a strong position to react as soon as required. Below is one such example of a story that was returned while monitoring mentions of ‘Palm Oil’ in African media;

Screen Shot 2016-10-06 at 16.58.40

Further analysis can show trends in the likes of social media shares or article length breakdown, either of which could signify a growing emphasis on Palm Oil among the public and media. Looking again at the image above, you can see the number of social shares for this particular story just beneath the title.

4. Trend analysis

With access to a world of news content and intelligent insights comes the opportunity for countless analyses and comparisons of trends. As an example, let’s search by category to see if there any noticeable differences or trends emerging from news stories in two separate countries.

The category we’ll look at is Electric Cars and the two source countries being analyzed are the UK and Australia. Below we have visual representations of the sentiment levels returned for each search, from the past 30 days.

UK AUS

As you can see, the vast majority of stories have been written in a neutral manner. What we’re interested in, however, is the significant difference in the levels of negative sentiment between the two countries around our chosen category.

Our results show that the Australian media are perhaps not too keen on the idea of Electric Cars, or perhaps there has been some negative publicity around the topic in recent times. On further inspection, we found that the uptake of electric cars has been extremely low in Australia compared to other countries, with manufacturers citing a lack of government assistance for this.

While this may seem like a straightforward comparison, when applied at scale it is this level of analysis that enables risk assessors to spot trends and ultimately improve their decision-making process. By analyzing multiple metrics side by side, interesting trends can emerge. Looking at the comparison below, again between the UK and Australia, it is evident that even in the past two months, the volume of stories relating to electric cars is increasing in Australia, but general interest still lags considerably behind the UK.

UK AUS stories

Business owners and project managers understand who and where potential threats can come from, and therefore have a very defined variety of entities and elements that need to be monitored. Projects that are based in, or focused on, different geographic locations will often pose their own unique threats and challenges. A multi-region project, for example, will require multiple risk assessments as part of the overall risk analysis process.

Conclusion

With each project comes a new set of challenges and potential threats. The more an organization can learn about these threats the greater chance they have of reducing the level of risk involved in making certain decisions or strategic moves. Media monitoring provides risk assessors with a wealth of publicly available information, from which intelligent insights, trends and analyses can be drawn.

However specific or niche your own search requirements are, with 24/7 worldwide news monitoring backed up by cutting edge Machine Learning and Natural Language Processing technology, our News API can help you with your risk analysis needs.

Ready to get started? Try the News API free for 14 days and with our Getting Started with the News API guides below, you’ll be up and running in no time.

Getting Started with the News API Part 1: Search

Getting Started with the News API Part 2: Insights
 




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