Humetrics – Fact and Feeling Play Big at Sentiment Analysis Symposium 2015

Sentiment SymposiumI coined the word “humetrics” while writing The Digital Metrics Field Guide to capture the idea that digital measurement increasingly captures what people are doing, saying, and feeling, and that measurement becomes a way to understand people as people, not as inanimate numbers. This edition of SAS showed that promising technologies are not merely becoming commercialized but becoming applicable, useful, and capable of generating meaningful business results.

We still have a way to go – I can’t believe how much writing about social media in particular is focused on strategies and tactics but not what individuals are looking to accomplish in their lives.

But SAS 2015 showed that the cutting edge is understanding people, their feelings, emotions, and actions for business-building insights. Here were some of the highlights:

  • Seth Grimes, conference organizer and probably the most knowledgeable person about all things text, started us off with the notion that we are operating in a research world of “facts and feelings.” The two are inter-related. He and I have been thinking along similar lines. Independently of one another he started emphasizing a term similar to humetrics, what he calls “human analytics.” This idea appears to be gaining prominence within the zeitgeist.
  •  John Liu of cognitive computing company Digital Reasoning is on this path, too. He told me: “advances in tech and sentiment have brought us to the point where mining cognitive and emotional behavior is rapidly becoming mainstream. Take a quick look at the Digital Reasoning website to see what he means.
  • Emotient demonstrated their very cool facial coding application. If awards were given out for best demo, theirs would have won best in show. Not only does their software analyze one person, it is capable of analyzing groups of people.  For those of us in communications, their software is used to analyze commercials. Their approach brings the cost of emotional response research way down while making it highly scalable and more precise. Unlike many of the neuromarketing approaches that signal when an emotional response occurred, this goes further by specifying the emotions and the sequence of emotions that people experience while watching an ad. Emotient can integrate with third-party surveys, which opens up many possibilities.
  • Along with emotions, the work of motivational psychologist David Forbes (CEO of Forbes Consulting, a Copernicus Company) was showcased in a workshop centered on his new book The Science of Why: Decoding Human Emotion and Transforming Marketing Strategy. David’s approach centers on 9 motivations that are discoverable through a method he developed called MindSight. In just three minutes a  person can be motivationally typed. When a sample of respondents is typed, the patterns of motivations suggest segments that are unique and mutually exclusive, thereby allowing them to be used for target marketing purposes. Like Emotient, MindSight can be linked to from a third-party survey or task to add a motivational layer to the analysis. Again, nearly unlimited opportunities. I plan on testing it in the cognitive economics studies I’m doing for my new book Millennials, Mindsets, and Money.
  • In addition to these solutions, many papers went beyond reporting numbers to talking about people. Look through the agenda to see what I mean.

I’ve attended several of the SAS meetings over the years. This one had the strongest program so far. I’m looking forward to the next one.

Author: stephenrappaport

I write and consult on achieving brand growth. My long-term advisory roles are with Sunstar, Inc., a global manufacturer of consumer products and Suretys, Inc. an insurtech. I was a Senior Fellow at Wharton’s SEI Center for Advanced Studies in Management for 5 years and am the author of 3 books on digital marketing and measurement.