What social networks say about happiness and emotions of consumers?

Happiness has become one of the great obsessions of companies and one of the major concerns of consumers. Everyone wants to be happy and all brands want to be the key to succeed. Emotions have also emerged as the key that explains many things, such as why succeed some contents or why we prefer some brands over others, which has pushed firms to become obsessed with the idea of finding methods to measure effectively happiness and its ramifications.

One of the latest studies has made researchers at the University of Iowa, who have used the information from social networks to measure happiness. His intentions were not so much to establish how happy they were consumers but rather find a kind of scientific method to measure happiness, one that responds to all questions and issues that seem to recur again and again in a market increasingly obsessed with the subject. That is, if everyone is obsessed with happiness and if everyone wants to be able to know if we are really happy (or not), why not create an algorithm to do the work measurement and also him that assurance scientific fact what technological form?

What social networks say about happiness and emotions of consumersThe algorithm in question was based on a flood of information. Instead of staying with a sample of limited or specific data (previous experiments were used to focus on the feelings generated during specific times, such as a television broadcast or event), this time chose from a large amount of data. Experts gathered two years (October 2012 to October 2014), which gave them a base of 3,000 million tweets sample. Information was subjected first to a purge made up with just those tweets with information in the first person (for example, including me, me or mine) with the goal of being much closer to the actual and specific interests of consumers. In addition, they created a template in collaboration with the department of linguistics to establish how people talk about their feelings and the different degrees in which it does.

What succeeded with that? Basically they managed to establish a pattern of understanding the emotions of consumers and draw conclusions about the happiness of them. The first thing you could conclude is that happiness is something long term and somewhat stable. That is, the feelings of consumers remain in a stable and sustainable. Usual is not going through great peaks of sadness / happiness but rather maintained recurrently at one end. This long-term happiness is also really affected by the news events that surround them. Personal feelings of consumers do not change because elections are produced or because there is a party favorite football team and neither do the other hand, if a disaster occurs in another country.

The latter is much more important than it may seem as far analyzes of emotions in social networks were reaching opposite conclusions and were giving a vision, according to these results, unrealistic about how consumers feel and what they say on social networks. Since previous studies focused on limited stretches of time, the results ended up being distorted. Usually, it was believed that external events had an impact on overall levels of happiness, but long-term view shows the opposite emotions.

Measure emotions, very difficult

And this point also serves to introduce another element in the debate. Measure emotions is a complex, difficult terrain and, so to speak, elusive. As demonstrated by analysts in recent times, despite how obsessed we are with happiness and joy and be able to understand how they operate and how they feel, the truth is that it is very difficult to creditworthy relations between what is he says in the flood of information handled on social networks and how it feels.

There are many companies that are trying to measure emotions and there are many studies that attempt to achieve from this weight create relationships between what is said and what he feels. Few people are getting really valuable or really conclusive results. As pointed not long ago analysts, convert emotions into numerical data is very difficult and unreliable. Almost one might say that it is an impossible task. The question that makes this so is in the nuances. Emotions do not get a clear, direct and quantifiable way. They are not numbers. They are items with double meanings, with issues that make things said are different from what is expected and nuances, many nuances.

To this must be added what sociologists call social structures: not all social network users are actually the same, at least they are not turning when everyone equally in statistical data sources.

How we express happiness

However, brands want to have tracks, data, to help them understand what their consumers feel. Emotions are key to present products but also for many other things. They help to understand where the market will go and allow for elements such as, for example, content that will succeed in the network. Emotions are key to understanding what becomes viral, and above all, how social networks work. Thus, studies have shown that consumers want to Facebook and Twitter mainly for fun and to be happy and content that the negative comments and engagement does not generate the same level.

Is there any way to see signs of happiness or sadness when it is published on social networks? Researchers at the University of Iowa have signed a first rule that can be a basis point to have a first contact with happiness.

Dissatisfied consumers tend to be more prone to proclaim their feelings (at least 10% more time to proclaim negative emotions, anger and sadness) and are often also more likely to use a certain language. Use more personal pronouns, conjunctions and more insults and profanity. To this must be added that those most often use terms like hope, should or need. Happy consumers have become more open in expressing positive emotions, especially linked to health and sex, and use 10% more than words associated with money and religion. And if someone uses recurrently terms associated with death, depression and anxiety is that it will, most likely, an unhappy user.

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