My first two posts in this series on Comparing Social Media Monitoring Platforms for coverage of Social Media Week NYC and Comparing Social Media Monitoring Platforms on content about Social Media Week NYC 10 examined volume and media types captured by each platform – with very different results in each case.
But what about Sentiment?
Radian6 – 81% Positive and 19% Negative Sentiment
I used “Widget Keywords” which is to say, I told Radian6 to use anything that had “social media week” in it for sentiment analysis. I could have used Topic Profile keywords which would have broken down the results differently, similar to what Techrigy does with “Tone”.
Alterian/SM2/Techrigy – 91% Positive and 9% negative sentiment
Considering the number of posts each platform considered, the results for sentiment, on the face of it – between Radian6 and Techrigy are not as far off as I’d thought they would be.
Sysomos – had 76% Positive and 1% Negative with 23% neutral - again, not as far off as I thought they’d be.
But Brandwatch was really far off from the rest with only 1% positive and 1% negative – and the rest of the data was “neutral”.
It’s clear Brandwatch is much more strict with assigning sentiment – maybe that’s good – -not sure yet.
Biz360 had 16% Positive and 4% Negative with 81% Neutral - quite a difference from the rest.
Of course, we need to look at what each platform considers to be negative vs. positive. More to the point – would the same content be found in each platform to be negative – or might a negative post or comment in one platform be considered to be positive by another?
Whew ..that is a hot !!! How far off can these platforms be ? Remember – same exact query (Social Media Week New York City) same time period.
Radian6 – none of the 22 tweets that were flagged negative - were actually negative when I read then visually.
Look – Radian6, to their credit – added Sentiment Analysis by keywords just last month. I want to say it’s not the platform’s fault that people (me) don’t know how to configure or use it might be intended.
On the other hand, I put in “Social Media Week” as the keyword to do sentiment around – on a topic profile about Social Media Week NYC – so …. you figure it out. Let me put it another way – if you really care about the accuracy of your results around sentiment – best to look at them by hand and reclassify them to what you think they are – Radian6 may not be smart enough to tell sentiment. There- I tried to be nice.
Alterian/SM2/Techrigy – total wash out - most of the results don’t make sense – only one or two actually have any connection with Social Media Week New York City – and they’re not negative – at least, not negative about Social Media Week -
|Positive opinion, Negative opinion||http://jeremygeelan.ulitzer.com/node/665165|
|Positive opinion, Negative opinion||http://blog.taragana.com/sports/2010/01/23/cammalleri-gets-4-points-halak-posts-shutout-in-canadiens-6-0-win-over-rangers-68489|
|Positive opinion, Negative opinion||http://nytm.org/2010/01/22/january-newsletter|
|Positive opinion, Negative opinion||http://kittenlounge.onsugar.com/Wearable-Wednesdays-Mind-Games-6944987|
I realize the Sentiment Analysis part of Techrigy is going to be updated on February 1st, and it will be interesting to look at these results – then.
People I know at Techrigy have been very nice to me and bend backwards to please – and I really appreciate their support for me over the last two years - on the other hand, as an analyst, a blogger whose opinion people respect in this area, for this query – the results Techrigy returned were less than useless – they actually are a detractor. I’m glad there’s an update in a few days – Sentiment Analysis needs an update, badly.
Yes, let’s call a “spade a spade” - these two tweets do have a negative tone - look for yourself. Congratulations Giles Palmer – you and your team won this challenge - maybe the English got this one right – sentiment analysis - at least in this case – the results make sense.
Sysomos - the sentiment results were generally good - I did not find any negative blog posts according to Sysomos, so I looked at the positive and neutral posts and I found them to be reasonable in their classification of Social Media Week Content – many of the Mashable posts about Social Media Week were listed and it’s fair to read that as “positive” since they support and give attention to Social Media Week.
Unlike Brandwatch, Sysomos didn’t find any negative tweets and classified them all as neutral - perhaps that is not far from the truth – I would rather have a result be classified as neutral than have it be flagged as positive or negative by the system when it’s clearly not, having looked at it visually. Sysomos treated news stories in mainstream media as either neutral or positive – again, Sysomos assignment of sentiment was reasonable – so maybe it’s a tie between Brandwatch and Sysomos.
What about Biz360? – the negative sentiment selections were pretty poor and looked like the same things that Sysomos flagged as positive, Biz360 flagged as negative.
It’s really hard to imagine most of what was picked up by Biz360 could be negative – just look at the titles of the content it selected. I do like that Biz360 qualifies the reach of a piece of content while the other platforms that are being looked at here do not offer that feature, today.
Taking this all in – I need to say that I seriously question a “marketer” who builds a Social Media Monitoring platform is going to come up with a satisfactory solution for many of the things that are really important to measure – and to accurately gauge.
Radian6 is getting better – but the problem is, as far as sentiment goes – there’s too much that has to be done on a configuration level to get sentiment right – I know they will continue to improve – but they also come from a “marketing” background and the Flash Interface, that makes their product look better than the others, is also, at time, frustrating to work with.
Alterian/Techrigy/SM2 – well …. they know Sentiment isn’t their strong point – they have a good technology and have improved alot over the years – yet they too, are built from a marketing perspective – and that can be a problem, because marketers aren’t that good at technology – that’s the same issue as Biz360, in my opinion – but look – I could be wrong – hell, I hope I am.
Brandwatch – I don’t know what their origins are – but I have met and spoken to Giles Palmer – who founded Brandwatch several years ago – and they consider themselves to be the #1 platform in Europe – their sentiment analysis seems to be better than most, based on my experience with it so far – and from what Giles tells me – they do a lot of work to make it and keep it that way.
Sysomos, the more I work with it, the more I like – Sysomos was built by a programmer and a university- the University of Toronto – and their backend is able to splice and dice data very well – Sysomos is more like a programming think tank that grew into marketing – yes, their interface could improve – but the sentiment analysis and noise suppression are excellent.
So, there you have it – Sentiment Analysis – buyer beware – for the time being, if your going to have large amounts of data you need to score with automated sentiment analysis – I think you’ll be best off with Sysomos or Brandwatch, all things being equal.
And look, I’m open to discussion and reexamining my results (I don’t know a lot of what goes on behind the interface)- clearly – a lot more deep dives into the data of all the platforms are needed – but that’s precisely what most Social Media Monitoring Platform make it hard to do – and yes, a couple of analysts types have looked at these platforms, including Forrester and Nathan Gilliatt who will be at Monitoring Social Media Bootcamp with me in London in two months and a sample of his ebook is encouraging (and the new book he’s working on is going to be even better).
Nathan’s approach, as far as I can tell – is to look at these platforms more as a “buyers” guide – similar to what Phil Kemelor does with Web Analytics platforms for CMSWatch.
My approach is hands on – how well does these platforms work for what we use them for?
I don’t think anyone else in the field actually does that - and this post alone – shows that.
By the way, if you want to get far more than even what I can write here – hire me to help you – and please join me at Monitoring Social Media Bootcamp in London on March 31st. 2010.