Sentiment(al) analysis over time – why is it important to consider not only today’s sentiments, but also the historical ones…

There is a saying about love and war – this applies, I am afraid also to business as well: The sentiments of customers are a fickle thing. Today they love a company and tomorrow they hate it. But sentiments do not arise out of thin air; or do they? …

If customers know a company, they have a certain sentiment associated to it. If they hear something new about the company they consider the old sentiments and add the new ones. If they had a positive sentiment about the company and they hear something positive it will boost the positive sentiment, but if they hear something negative it will decrease the good sentiment and will possibly change to a negative sentiment and vice versa the other way round.

For example the Volkswagen “scandal” will most likely decrease the positive sentiments of many customers. Those who already didn’t like the company will confirm their negative sentiment and deepen their distaste.

But most people didn’t know about the “scandal” on the day the emission values were faked. It took a certain amount of time for people to notice and for the media to pick up with all the latest news. A company’s actions will not always influence the customers’ sentiments immediately. Though if a company does a big public relationship (PR) campaign, with the right amount of media involvement, customers can be influenced pretty soon.

However, if a PR measure is planned, it is important to know what customers thought about a company in the past to evaluate what they think of the company now, or even will think of it in the future. People who want to buy a car will most likely have a rather bad or mixed opinion about Volkswagen. So this company should do anything it can in order to increase its standing. But if many people already had a bad opinion it will be much more complicated and challenging for the company to win the customers back and regain their confidence.

By keeping track of the historic sentiments, the company can “calculate” the effort they need to change sentiments towards them into positive ones, or if they really have to spend a certain amount of effort on PR.


Picture credits

Picture credits


SSIX aims to provide European small and medium enterprises with a collection of easy to interpret tools to analyse and understand social media users’ attitudes for any given subject. Social media data represents a collective barometer of thoughts and ideas touching every facet of society. What SSIX (and rather no other project, tool or service) is not capable to do is offer customers, investors or the corporate world with a compass or a compiler to assess the moral aspects of their decisions and their actions; we are supposedly all of us big boys and girls and the choice to cheat shareholders, trick customers, defraud authorities or fool the markets is ours and remains with us.


For more information on SSIX, visit our website

For the latest update, like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter and join us on LinkedIn.