Sentiment analysis tools provide an overview of people’s opinions on a wide variety of issues. The programs look through various social networking platforms to find out what tens of thousands of people think about any given topic.
Large and small business owners alike have found it to be an invaluable tool to better understand their target audiences. In this article we’ll be examining some of the best of the best in sentiment analysis tools. We’ll be paying especially careful attention to the individual strengths of each platform.
8. Social Harvest
Social Harvest is most notable as one of the few fully featured open source sentiment analysis tools. Social Harvest’s author wrote the program in the Go programming language. And anyone can contribute to the program thanks to the open source model. This makes Social Harvest the ultimate platform for experienced programmers.
At the moment it’s fairly competitive with the other tools. But the fact that it’s reached a point where everything is stable and functional is very impressive. Social Harvest isn’t just a tool that one can use. The platform is a solid and open foundation which one can use to expand in any direction. If a suite lacks any feature, one will normally have to just wait and hope the company adds it in at some point. With Social Harvest anyone can write custom code to enable missing features.
Hootsuite excels as an introductory platform. It lacks some of the advanced features present in larger software suites. But at the same time this can be a benefit rather than a detriment to new users.
But simplicity doesn’t always imply limitation. The suite’s ease of use makes it an excellent selection for some users. Larger companies might find that it doesn’t quite scale perfectly to their needs. But even in that area one might find that it’s a great learning tool. The platform can help people get a good grasp on some otherwise difficult subjects.
The first impression people usually have of Sprout is how clean the UI design is. Sprout combines a wealth of different options related to social media with an elegant aesthetic. Sentiment analysis is one of the more complex areas of marketing. Just on a basic level it will usually monitor several different platforms at the same time.
Bringing disparate data together into a single data point can be surprisingly complicated for computer programs. Sprout is able to do all of that while hiding most of the underlying complexity from users. The platform is a little less robust on the specifics of sentiment analysis. The software suite is more on point as a tool to perform many different social networking tasks at an acceptable level.
For raw functionality, the area where sprout really shines is the API. An API can be thought of as a basic communication bridge. In fact, most sentiment analysis tools use social networking API implementations to receive data. Sprout is notable for allowing that process to move in the other direction.
Sprout can take in all of the varied data from social networking sites. It will then organize and sort all of that data into a unified whole. From there users can actually hook their own custom software right into Sprout. This provides users with the ability to actually extend the functionality of Sprout in any direction they desire. The lower than average pricing also makes this a great selection for smaller companies.
Meltwater offers a full suite of tools related to social media. In many ways it’s most notable for offering up solutions which meet or even create a standard. One shouldn’t take this description to mean that there’s nothing revolutionary about Meltwater. They place a heavy focus on some technologies that are most certainly cutting edge. But in general the platform provides strong implementations of proven techniques.
For example, the text parsing system used by Meltwater utilizes natural language processing. This method is well accepted, even to the point of being the industry standard. Meltwater offers a NLP implementation which has been tested and perfected over time.
Meltwater excels in multitasking and then integrating the overall results. The platform works with an underlying assumption that data exists to help inform business strategy. As such, the sentiment analysis is one important part of a larger whole. This can help frame the reports as one piece of information to leverage when targeting other highlighted issues.
Zoho marks a point where things begin to get a little more complex. Zoho offers up the standard items one would expect from a social networking suite. It even collects data from more visually oriented sources such as Instagram. But Zoho tries to do a little more with that data than many of the competitors.
The suite’s basic sentiment analysis tools are fairly straightforward. Users will see a basic bar graph which details positive or negative reactions. Zoho tries to go a little deeper into the individuals who make up those statistics though. In addition to information about gender or location one can also see how people interact with one’s brand.
Zoho’s general layout tends to promote a more active involvement with the analytic data. It’s little surprise that the suite is also focused more on real time monitoring than many of the competitors. The lower overall price point also makes it a good match for smaller companies who also want a fair amount of power. It’s also a good match for companies which might want to get a little more information about the specific people who make up their demographics.
Talkwalker is most notable for willingness to step into some more complex areas. There’s often quite a bit of overlap in sentiment analysis tools. Some problems are just more suited to computer analysis than others. Talkwalker has managed to make some good progress with many of the problem areas for sentiment analysis.
Talkwalker’s supported data sources are a good example of its unique approach. It doesn’t simply cover social media platforms. Talkwalker is among the few options to offer some support for print media, TV and radio. In order to do so Talkwalker makes use of advanced proprietary techniques. Talkwalker’s image recognition is particularly notable for overall efficiency.
Sysomos places a have emphasis on social intelligence. The platform operates a little more like an actual human assistent than most of the competition. The company states that before you act, you have to listen. And this is exactly where Sysomos excels.
Sysomos operates under an assumption of active participation. It provides many of the same services expected of social monitoring platforms. But it does so with a larger expectation of someone always being present and ready to leap into action.
The crisis management feature is one of the best examples of how this principle operates. It continually monitors social networks for downward trends or especially worrisome situations. When noted it can alert selected administrators that they need to take action.
Additionally, Sysomos uses more complex systems for parsing data. This extra polish makes itself known with reporting tools as well. Sysomos is able to take large amounts of complex data and turn it into quite concise reports.
Synthesio earns top ranking among sentiment analysis tools for a number of reasons. But arguably the most important of these reasons is the natural language processing implementation. Synthesio is an industry leader in NLP technologies and it shows in the suites results.
Most sentiment analysis tools use valuable, but ultimately fairly simple methods to extract data from text. What’s often the majority of the work in other platforms is just the beginning with Synthesio. The basic pattern matching phase for most platforms uses a sentiment dictionary. This dictionary does a basic match between word and positive or negative emotions.
Synthesio uses that technique as just one phase of the sentiment analysis. The next step applies linguistic rules based on probability of further tonal inflection. It even works machine learning into the process to further hone the results. Technically, any platform which uses natural language processing should qualify as artificial intelligence. But Synthesio is rare as an example of sentiment analysis that uses stronger machine learning techniques to more accurately match what most people would consider artificial intelligence.
The end result of these technologies working together is quite impressive. Synthesio is able to correctly parse text which will confuse most other systems. Implied sarcasm, for example, has been a difficult item for most sentiment analysis tools. Synthesio is among the few to really tackle that difficult topic in a meaningful way.
In conclusion, it’s easy to see just how much variety exists within sentiment analysis tools. One should also remember that there aren’t many one size fits all solutions with marketing tools.
Most of the options listed here have demo versions which allow one a chance to try it out for free. This is a perfect opportunity to acquaint oneself with the unique benefits offered by each platform. And if the platform proves interesting enough it’s always a good idea to comment and help others discover it.