Social Media

The big business of happy vs. mean tweets

Social marketing to happy (& sad) folks
Social marketing to happy (& sad) folks

People on the Internet are not necessarily the nicest, or the happiest. We all know that. Just read any message board, comment section or conversation on Twitter. But how does this affect the manner in which businesses approach their online marketing? So-called "sentiment analysis" has been a big area of development for many companies trying to figure out exactly how to reach customers, in what manner, at what time and for what product.

In a report to be published by Brandwatch, a social media data and technology company, we now can see exactly how sentiment changes across a variety of factors, including location, gender and day of week. Brandwatch provided CNBC with an exclusive early look at the results. By analyzing millions of tweets for the full year ending Nov. 17, we're able to see where happiness reigns—and where it doesn't.

First off, we can see that America's happiness is not an equally happy place. Maybe it's the weather, but Brandwatch found that the Northeast and Midwest trail the South and West when it comes to happy tweets. The happiest individual states were Georgia and Colorado (maybe it's all the pot?), while the two unhappiest states are Delaware and West Virginia.

Social media campaigns can be built around speaking to audiences in the way that their audience speaks.
Will McInnes
Brandwatch CMO

The more detailed report breaks down happiness by city: Denver and Los Angeles top the charts.

The U.S., however, isn't even that happy a place overall. Of 52 countries analyzed, the U.S. ranked an underwhelming 41st—in between Ecuador and the Philippines. A few spots lower on the list—at the very bottom—are the three unhappiest countries: Pakistan, China and Singapore. Some of the major countries at the top of the list included Belgium, Mexico, Spain and France.

Why should marketers even care about social data? Will McInnes, Brandwatch's chief marketing officer, said "social media campaigns can be built around speaking to audiences in the way that their audience speaks," pointing out that sarcastic people should get a different tone in tweets than a happier crowd.

"Marketers dream to be able to see when people on Twitter are happy, or to avoid times of typically negative moods," said McInnes. Based on sentiment that changes during the course of the week, McInnes recommends that companies should "promote products that appeal to consumers' short-term interest during the week," like chocolate or coffee.

The weekend is better to "advertise big-ticket items that affect their individual lives in the long run," such as life insurance, travel, new jobs and investment products. "People may be considering how they want to change their lives on Saturday and Sundays more than during the week."

Other factors come into play, too. For example, males are more likely than females to use positive terms. Females are more likely to talk about the quality of their life, as opposed to the quality of their individual day. McInnes said "learning the way the sexes differ in how they discuss their lives online is a great way to get into the mindset of their target demographics."

Finally, when discussing their happiness about an individual day, people are just as likely to be positive about money as they are about their friends and family. On the basis of their overall life, however, people feel just as bad about money as they do about their jobs.

"These type of insights can shape a brand's engagement," McInnes said, "and the type of campaign, regardless of what exactly their product/service is."