Facebook announces “Unlike” button. What will be the impact on Sentiment Analytics (Opinion Mining)?

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& Billion DislikesThere’s more to just the possibility of stifling Trivia Crack and Candy Crush Saga game requests from Facebook by clicking the new “Unlike,” or Dislike button.

Mark Zuckerberg proposed this new feature to an internal corporate Town Hall on September 15th. I foresee it significantly altering the way Facebook employs its Sentiment Analytics. We will now have a very complex “duality” to consider in determining sentiment. A way to understand not only what people like, but what they don’t like. And why. He added that the button will not be like Reddit’s up/down vote because he feels that Facebook members need to express sympathy or regret in posts.

Online Behavior “Modification”

Matthew Slotkin provided a different perspective on a recent Mirror Daily story (Why Facebook’s Announced Dislike Button Is Risky) He reported that “Critics argued that negativity and hatred would spike on the social network, so disliking itself would become a risk. Therefore, they suggested that ‘dislike’ could be made anonymous.” He even suggests an increase in online bullying and trolling that would become “intolerable.” It’s unclear how Facebook will be rolling this out. I do get the impression that they are aware of it’s negative impact on their network.

 I’m definitely leaning towards Team Slotkin.

From a psychological standpoint, “Marketers will be faced with yet another psychological conundrum: How will the introduction of the “dislike” button impact the use of the “like” button?” states Dr. Pamela Rutledge for Psychology Today.

First, how will Facebook users react and click? Second, how will the marketers figure out what the consumers are actually doing so they know how to adjust their ad strategies?

In contrast, she prefaces one of the downsides of the dislike button which stood out to me, because of it’s potential effects on the ego given the premise that “someone with depressive tendencies or with excessive reliance on external validation would ruminate rather than move forward.” Consider the amount of Facebook friends you know where their Facebook Like button tallies have a direct connection to their dopamine receptors?

Facebook announces "Unlike" button. What will be the impact on Sentiment Analytics (Opinion Mining)? An Open Discussion

Imagine, for a second, what the down-turned thumb will do to the hypersensitive. We’re social beings and Social Media is dramatically modifying our direction as a species.

Given the proliferation of negative sentiment and social media users that are “pre-primed” to get mad at something (anything) to alleviate their impulsive, reptilian cognition, I envision a multitude of concerns that go beyond just barking and shaming people from the safety of their smartphone.

Facebook utilizes the “Like” response as one of a multitude of data points factored into their opinion mining algorithms which determine ads that you may want to see, as well as those that you may not want to see. This information is integral to the vast majority of integrated ad campaigns that attracts marketers to the social network.

Additionally, just by “liking” something, data “can be used to automatically and accurately predict a range of highly sensitive personal attributes including: sexual orientation, ethnicity, religious and political views, personality traits, intelligence, happiness, use of addictive substances, parental separation, age, and gender,” according to a 2012 study from Cambridge University. Link here:

Private traits and attributes are predictable from digital records of human behavior

It’s going to be interesting to see how a dislike button will impact the characteristics of these data.

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What is Influencer Marketing and how can it assist my Social Media Campaign? Part One

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When I started down the long, expensive road that was my dissertation, I was looking for ideas and inspiration centered on marketing with social media which was in full-swing back in 2009. I was in the midst of teaching students how to create integrated marketing campaigns, Search Engine Optimization and user centered web design. I invited one of my former students that was the webmaster for the James Cameron’s blockbuster Avatar movie to speak to one of my Consumer Behavior classes.

He stated that James Cameron didn’t want to just create a Flash based or “immersive” website for the movie, but instead would release rich content during the production of the movie to web “fan boys”. (A fan boy is generally a male fan, and one who is obsessive about movies, comic books, or science fiction.) Cameron hired a marketing team to identify fan boys on the Internet from social media sites and bloggers using WordPress, Blogger, Livejournal etc. His team then forwarded the content to the fan boys and the buzz started to propagate into their blogs. Content such as: high resolution production images, story bylines, scripts, teasers, behind-the-scenes footage and production news. It was the task of the webmaster of the Avatar website to then aggregate and republish the content that the fan boys shared and distributed. In essence; the website “built itself,” with the help of the fans. To their joy, the fan boys also became a part of the final product.

I was fascinated by this approach and had many questions for my guest speaker. Such as “how did the marketing team qualify each fan boy as influential” and “couldn’t this approach be used by corporations to implement a ‘pull strategy’ approach to advertising by using electronic word-of-mouth (eWOM)?” and most importantly: “Wouldn’t these people, who are essentially brand or product evangelists want to monetize their influence?”

Influencer Opinions Matter for Engaged Audiences

And the topic for my dissertation revealed itself: “Identifying Opinion Leaders in Online Social Media Networks”. Enthralled that I had a unique idea, my quest began to uncover patterns and trends in how online influencers get established, their characteristics (followers, quantity/quality of content, credentials, demographics, most credible social media platform(s), etc.) I will distill and publish more from my findings in future posts on this blog.

With my research, I learned a ton about word of mouth marketing, diffusion and adoption of innovations, dissemination of information all of which are not new concepts. These topics have been cited repeatedly by scholars and researchers for justifying advertising techniques and a myriad of descriptive terms have been used over the past 80 years with respect to marketing research. It appears now that #Influencers is making a big splash in the tech and social media platforms. As featured in “Social Times” (July, 2015) “When Google classifies a keyword as a “Breakout,” meaning that the keyword is experiencing growth greater than 5000 percent.

Google Keyword Influencer Marketing

As you can imagine, I was pretty stoked to see that I was performing research and inquiring about opinion leaders and influencers as the subject of influencer marketing was growing in notoriety (it definitely aided in justifying and beefing up my quantitative data). I discussed the same story, which was the basis for my dissertation, that I detailed above along with my findings to marketing professionals and frequently received very confused looks. It reminded me of when I was explaining the World Wide Web to classmates and business professors at the University of Maryland in 1993. This topic has become an obsession since I enjoy recognizing patterns and understanding why and what consumers think about products. Finally, I completed my dissertation in May of this year and it was accepted.

We are witnessing an exciting new direction for advertising. I’d like to think of it as the democratization of opinions. We hear each day about how certain societal woes are reacted upon in real-time on the Net. The fact that big data and its global storage capacities will continue to exponentially grow, presents us with the premise that we are not only able to quantify consumer behavior data, but now every bit of sentiment (qualitative) is also being recorded – forever. It can be identified, accessed, collated, triangulated and then used to identify consumer behavior trends and most importantly, who is speaking about your product or service and exactly what they are saying.

In 2011, Salesforce purchased Radian6 for $340M. I profiled this acquisition in my Graduate Marketing Management classes to impress upon the students, this new emergence of consumer sentiment data as the mechanism for eWOM. I think it is a great example of pull-marketing and can alleviate the overkill of advertising to a culture that has become “numb” to commercials. The fact that Salesforce purchased a company to augment their CRM tools suggested to me that a paradigm in integrated marketing processes is occurring. Given that Salesforce stated in their related press release:

“Radian 6 has technology that “captures hundreds of millions of conversations every day across Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn, blogs and online communities, and provides actionable insights in real-time.”
I could see that eventually others would follow.

In this blog I will report about the history, process, companies, tools, trends and technical developments relating to influencer marketing. I will showcase the thought leaders and report on case studies that demonstrate the best practices in implementing a social media influencer marketing based process for your organization.

Electronic Word of Mouth VS Conventional Advertising

In a recent McKinsey Study, marketing-inspired word-of-mouth generates more than twice the sales of paid advertising, also, the study shows that these customers have a 37% higher retention rate.


Social recommendations induced an average of 26 percent of purchases across all product categories, according to our data. That’s substantially higher than the 10 to 15 percent others have estimated.2 For the 30 product categories we studied, roughly two-thirds of the impact was direct; that is, recommendations played a critical role at the point of purchase. The remaining third was indirect: social media had an effect at earlier decision-journey touch points—for example, when a recommendation created initial awareness of a product or interactions with friends or other influencers helped consumers to compare product attributes or to evaluate higher-value features. We found that in 2014, consumers made 10 percent more purchases on the back of social-media recommendations than they had in 2013.

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