Findings on Sentiment vs. Engagement in Capturing Brand Affection

No Ordinary Love - From Sirius to Hyatt, New Report Draws Consistent Findings

Talkwalker

Who do you love?  Consumers clearly have their favorites when it comes to brands and international social media analytics firm Talkwalker has the data to prove the most loved brands on social media. But just because a brand is mentioned more often in social media, doesn’t mean that it will always trend higher in terms of how consumers feel about that brand.

Talkwalker used a quarter billion conversations around 781 brands in 28 different industries to create its Brand Love Story 2020 report, identifying the 50 most loved brands from across the world, through the power of social listening and highlighting just what these brands do to be loved.  Talkwalker measured social media mentions that are specific symptoms of a brand that generates actual love from its social media fans. Analysts studied everything from consumer engagement and sentiment in both social media and the news, as well as the percentage of mentions that were categorized as related to “joy” and the percentage of mentions that contain love-related words. So brands were actually rewarded for a higher percentage of joyful mentions, and love-related keywords.

One of the key metrics the report studied was engagement – the number of posts mentioning those brands – and sentiment – how people feel about those mentions based on likes, comments and shares. Generally, as engagement goes higher, sentiment drops, as brands open themselves to a wider audience and more criticism. However, in compiling this data, Talkwalker found that loved brands broke this trend, with either exceptionally high engagement or sentiment or both.

“There’s a clear pattern across all these brands,” says Todd Grossman, CEO Americas for Talkwalker. “As engagement goes up – more people react to a brand – the more overall sentiment drops – the more those interactions are negative. There were 25 brands with over 100 million engagements – the biggest brands in the world. Not one has a net sentiment over 75%.”

This report compares engagement rates of brands and their competitors. If a brand posts a great deal, it will get a lot of engagement, but a competitor can get that same engagement through fewer posts.  Engagement rate is the total engagement divided by total followers or total views. The higher the number, the better. Overall, for all brands, the average net sentiment is 61.5% and average engagement rate is 8.32.

“Virality is great – it helps brands get content to more people,” adds Grossman.  “But it also opens those brands up to a bigger risk, with an increased chance of negative comments or responses. Companies must monitor their viral content constantly, and respond to detractors quickly, to prevent unwanted backlash.”

Talkwalker studied brands in a number of industries, including airlines, automotive, broadcasters, eCommerce, fashion and beauty, finance, food, hospitality, household, insurance, investment, leisure, manufacturing and engineering, medical, mining and utilities,  pharmaceutical, professional services, retail, software and technology, and telecoms.

In the travel industry, 27 airlines, hotels and cruise lines were considered and studied for the final list and  the seven who made the Top 50 Loved Brands overcame the challenge of high engagement, but low sentiment, whereas the others suffered in the rankings due to that measure.

“Across the travel industry, regardless of whether it’s airlines, hotels or cruises, social media can be a double-edged sword,” adds Grossman. “It’s easier to tweet a complaint publicly than register it to customer service over the phone or at the desk. Companies invariably try to take these conversations private, but consumers understand it’s in their best interest to keep things public. Other viewers can very easily relate, and are quick to judge these responses.”

For example, an Atlanta Marriott (40th on the U.S. list) where LSU players stayed before playing in a playoff game last year, ran out of beer 25 hours before kickoff – and on this thread generated 134 comments and more than 6,000 engagements along with another 225 on a Reddit thread that quoted this Tweet. While hosting the team is an honor for the brand, not meeting fans and guests needs is a failed moment.

https://twitter.com/RossDellenger/status/1210681691381149702?s=20

Another example exists as Talkwalker studied 11 broadcasters and found a high engagement rate, but low sentiment, as evidenced by this Twitter thread.

https://twitter.com/MorningJoey/status/1156285511490854918

In the period studied Sirius had 47,000 social media mentions, of which 23 percent (1,100) were positive. In that same period they generated nearly 22,000 engagements of which 13,700 occurred on negative or neutral posts. 9,900 engagements came from the 1,100 positive mentions.

Moreover, In the period studied, across all mentions (news and social – totaling 5,300) the Sirius brand generated nearly 81,300 engagements. However, 78,200 of those engagements are occurring on posts that are classified as “not positive”, either neutral or negative!

“People love to engage with their favorite shows, sharing and liking content associated with their fanbase,” Grossman notes. “But sentiment is tough. A new show can promote positive sentiment, but a cancelation or disappointing ending to a series, can easily drag the sentiment of the brand down.”

Talkwalker is a social listening and analytics company that empowers over 2,000 brands and agencies to optimize the impact of their communication efforts. We provide companies with an easy-to-use platform to protect, measure, and promote their brands worldwide, across all communication channels.

Talkwalker’s state-of-the-art social media analytics platform uses AI-powered technology to monitor and analyze online conversations in real-time across social networks, news websites, blogs and forums in 187 languages. Talkwalker has offices in New York, Luxembourg, San Francisco, Frankfurt, and Singapore. It is also the home of Talkwalker Alerts, a free alerting service used by over 500,000 communications and marketing professionals worldwide.

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