Archive for January, 2010

A Tale of Opposites: Taylor Swift vs Lady Gaga

Saturday, January 30th, 2010

Both Taylor Swift and Lady Gaga have had amazing careers in their few short years in the industry. Among others, Taylor has enjoyed AMAs, CMAs, CMTs, Grammys, MTV VMs, and Teen Choice awards. Lady Gaga has also had an award filled career with Billboard, MTV, People’s Choice, Teen Choice awards and many other credits to her name.

With the Grammy’s upon us again, let’s look at sentiment towards each singer over just the past couple of months. We scored more than 20 000 opinions from thousands of different websites for each of the ladies to figure out exactly how people feel towards them.

Compared to 28% of opinions that expressed “Love” for Taylor, only 21% expressed “Love” for Lady Gaga. Similarly, another 24% expressed “Like” for Taylor compared to just 13% for Lady Gaga. The remaining opinions fell into the neutral and negative categories, with Lady Gaga clearly generating more of the negative opinions. It’s plain to see that popular sentiment puts Taylor ahead of Lady Gaga.

But why you ask? Which particular perceptions do fans have that put Taylor ahead of Lady Gaga?

Taylor Swift fans recognize not just her personal characteristics, but also her commitment to others. Fans think that Taylor Swift:

  • Shows more courage
  • Is associated with charities
  • Is more environmentally friendly and
  • Has nicer makeup and clothing


Not to be left completely behind though, fans of Lady Gaga  notice her personal characteristics and  feel that she is:

  • more creative
  • more determined
  • more exciting and
  • more intelligent


And that is the Taylor Swift/Lady Gaga dichotomy.

Conversition Strategies appoints Annie Pettit, PhD, as new Chief Research Officer

Monday, January 25th, 2010

New York, NY, January 25, 2010 – Conversition Strategies, the developer of social media research product evolisten™ and, has appointed Annie Pettit, PhD, as its new Chief Research Officer.

With over 15 years of market research experience, Pettit was previously the VP of Online Panel Analytics at Ipsos Interactive Services, as well as a private consultant in the area of research analytics. She holds a PhD in Experimental Psychology, was previously licensed as an Industrial/Organizational Psychologist, and has specialized in the area of online survey data quality. Pettit is also known under the LoveStats moniker as an avid market research blogger ( and tweeter (@LoveStats).

“We are so pleased to have Annie join Conversition as our CRO,” states Tessie Ting, co-founder of Conversition. “As the architect behind the iPi4 multi-stage survey data quality process at Ipsos, she demonstrated a level of industry knowledge and research expertise that our clients will appreciate. Her skills will ensure that our research products continue to reflect the highest degree of rigor.”

About Conversition Strategies:

Conversition Strategies is a boutique online market research firm based in the US (Conversition Strategies Limited) and Canada (Conversition Strategies Incorporated).  Conversition listens to consumers by applying scientific principles to the collection and analysis of social media data. Its strength lies in combining the expertise of globally respected market researchers with social media mavens.

For more information please feel free to contact:

Jeremy Chaput

Is James Cameron Really the Best Director?

Wednesday, January 20th, 2010

With the Golden Globes behind us, let’s have a look at whether viewers agreed with the judges’ choices. We gathered over 200 000 tweets from people chatting about the Golden Globes Awards and categorized them into tweets that were positive, neutral, or negative.  We then selected all the tweets that were related to the Best Director of a Motion Picture category and analyzed the results. The chart below illustrates the percentage of tweets that were classified as positive, in other words, they showed a high degree of satisfaction or approval.

First of all, it is clear that even though James Cameron, the Director of Avatar, won in the category of Best Director, he wasn’t necessarily the winner in the viewers’ eyes. In fact, Reitman, the Director of Up in the Air, generated the most positive tweets with 45% of them being positive compared to 42% for Cameron. And, compared to Reitman generating 11% negative tweets, 14% of Cameron’s tweets were negative. It was a pretty close race for viewers, but Reitman came out just slightly ahead with 3% more positive tweets and 3% fewer negative tweets. And just behind Reitman and Cameron is Bigelow, the director of Hurt Locker. It appears that this still wasn’t the year to showcase the first female winner of this award.

At the other end of the spectrum was Tarantino who directed Inglourious Basterds. Tarantino only managed to generate 26% positive tweets. Further, 23% of tweets about him were negative. Some people just needed to display their displeasure at this loss. And finally, our sympathies go to Clint Eastwood, the Director of Invictus, who didn’t  make it to our podium because so few people tweeted about him.

The Screen Actors Guild awards are coming up next. Grab some popcorn and let’s see what happens!

What’s the Apple Tablet Good For?

Tuesday, January 19th, 2010

Though there is still no product on the shelf, the Apple Tablet has been a topic of discussion in social media for more than six months. Speculation has been wild but folks have come to various conclusions about what this product will be useful for.

This chart, called a radar chart or spider chart, shows the level of sentiment expressed towards the Apple Tablet for seven possible uses. Points close to the center of the chart show dissatisfaction with the use while points close to the outside of the chart show satisfaction with the use.

For example, the point on the cellphone line is very close to the center of the chart which means people do not feel the tablet is very well suited as a cellphone.  Obviously, the size of the tablet makes it a complete no-go in the cellphone industry but given the amount of iPhone love out there, people have generated chatter in this area.

In the middle of the pack, seen as moderately interesting uses of the tablet are cameras and televisions. Again, given the multiple capabilities of the iPhone, it would be pointless for Apple to create a new product that didn’t also have multiple capabilities. Watching videos and taking photos are seen as natural inclusions.

More importantly, though, is which uses generate the most favorable mentions. At the top of this list is the e-reader with the point that is closest to the outside of the chart. Those chatting about the Apple Tablet see it as a definite contender for ereaders, including the Sony Reader and Kindle. Next in line to be seen as possible uses of the tablet are laptops and computers, no surprise there.

We’re waiting Apple. Let’s see what you’ve got.

The Best Bet for Social Media Research

Friday, January 15th, 2010

Over the last few months, social media research has turned into a top of mind topic for many people. The MRA, ARF, MRIA, and ESOMAR research organizations have all been flooded with questions and opinions about this growing methodology.

No one would suggest that telephone surveys work well for every type of research, just as they wouldn’t say that online surveys, mobile surveys, or focus groups work well in every case. Similarly, social media research isn’t the answer for every brand. There are number of things to keep in mind before taking on the social media research option.

  1. Does your brand have a large social media presence? It is often difficult for brands to know what type of presence they have on the internet. They often focus solely on the specific websites where they know they have a presence. Even on these sites, their presence might be fairly small, perhaps hundreds or thousands of comments spread out over a couple of years. Small quantities of data like this are good for understanding overall satisfaction levels but make it difficult to dig down into specific details. Further, just because a brand is well-known doesn’t mean it will generate significant online chatter.
  2. Does your brand have a unique name? Brands that would only be used in one way are great for social media research. No one is going to go on the internet and type “Radio Shack” unless they mean the electronics store. However, many people use the words target and gap in regular everyday conversation. “Kleenex” and “Xerox” might also have some problems with social media research. Try searching for your brand name online and see whether any unusual references come up.
  3. Are you willing to see a different type of data? As with any change in data source, just like the transition from offline to online, trendlines will shift somewhat. Some of this is because the format of the data is different and some of this is because the research data is coming from a different type of person. A change in data isn’t a bad thing. It is to be expected. Embracing the changing methods means you will always be ahead of the game and have the most up-to-date and relevant information.


A quality research company will help you work through all of these issues so that you can decide whether social media research is right for you. Be sure to ask the right questions.

The Lure of Generic Drugs

Friday, January 15th, 2010

Though proponents will argue against the quality, generic drugs are much appreciated for the light load they place on the pocketbook. We analyzed thousands of verbatims from the social media space to evaluate consumer opinion towards no-name pharmaceuticals.

This chart identifies a number of measures that consumers are most satisfied with (in red), as well as a couple of comparison measures that received very negative scores (in yellow).

Most noticeably, consumers who are talking about generic drugs favor them, feel that they have a good reputation, and trust their performance. Surprisingly, pricing is not at the very top of the list but it does generate a very good level of positivity. This collection of beliefs means that consumers are happy to recommend generic drugs to other people.

Generic drugs are a life saver for many people, particularly through tough recession times. It’s a tough wall for name brand drugs to break through.

The Highs and Lows of Walmart

Thursday, January 14th, 2010

Walmart is a stunningly huge and successful corporation that has generated an awareness level in the North American market that is near absolute. Because of this, consumers aren’t shy about sharing their opinions of Walmart and millions have done so online.

Using sentiment analysis to evaluate social media consumer opinions, we have identified a number of strengths and weaknesses of Walmart as expressed by consumers.

Discussions of Walmart are often made in relation to other types of retailers. Based on the chart below, you can see that when consumers talk about Walmart and Beauty Stores, Toy Stores, Electronics Stores, or Sports Stores, it is done in a very positive way (the highest columns). In other words, Walmart is seen to have offerings in these areas that make it just as competitive as the specialty stores. Also popping up among the favorable items was being environmentally friendly. Given the push that Walmart made with its sustainability index, this is no surprise.

On the other end of the spectrum (as evidenced by the lowest columns), consumers have also used the social media space to voice their dissatisfaction in a number of areas.  Consumers have identified that they are less satisfied with wastefulness and crowding of the stores. In addition, they are unhappy with the presence of people who are seen as undesirable, for instance, suspicious looking people or those with poor hygiene. And finally, consumers have indicated that they are less satisfied with how people who have special needs are accommodated.

As with any retailer, consumers have high expectations of the types of products, services, and experiences they want from Walmart. Though few retailers will ever reach those expectations, it’s important for retailers to know where to reach first.

The Coupon Connection: Offline or Online

Wednesday, January 13th, 2010

Every Saturday and Sunday morning, people used to go through the newspapers and flyers clipping coupons. The internet has changed all of that and consumers now have the option to search out online coupons in the form of coupon codes. If they can’t find what they’re looking for in one spot, chances are they’ll find it in the other.

If we examine the volume of social media chatter around coupons, there is definitely a difference in the use of online and offline coupons. Consumers are more likely to talk about online coupons for discount stores, pharmacies and grocery stores. On the other hand, consumers are more likely to talk about offline coupons for department stores. For example, in the chart below, about 16% of online coupon discussions involve discount stores compared to just 5% of offline coupon discussions. And, about 10% of offline coupon discussions involve department stores compared to just 5% of online coupon discussions.

Perhaps this is an indication that stores offering the daily necessities need to maintain and increase their online presence. Department stores, on the other, just might want to work on their options for entering internet era.

[Note: Online coupon discussion means chatter in the social media space about 'online coupons'. Offline coupon discussion means chatter in the social media space about 'newspaper, flyer, and magazine coupons.']

Who Takes the Cake: KitchenAid or Cuisinart

Tuesday, January 12th, 2010

If there are any chefs in your house, they’ve certainly mentioned the KitchenAid or Cuisinart brands at one point or another. These are two solid brands with strong reputations that continue to battle over the category.

Consumers have spoken online and voiced their opinions about each brand. If you’re a KitchenAid fan, you just might be surprised.

Looking just at the five main marketing research measures, social media consumers have decided on a winner, and Cuisinart seems to have taken the lead. Discussions of Purchasing, Recommendations, Trial, and New/Different result in Cuisinart having higher average sentiment scores than KitchenAid. The only measure where KitchenAid outperforms Cuisinart is Value.

If Cuisinart takes the cake here, then where does KitchenAid take the cake? Consumers show a higher degree of anticipation for KitchenAid, as well as a higher level of trust. They also think KitchenAid is a sexier product. And in this age of sex sells, that just might be enough to keep KitchenAid at the top of the pack.

Is 3dTV All Hype and No Hope?

Monday, January 11th, 2010

In the last couple of years, movies have introduced us to 3D technology in a big way.  The quality has improved drastically and the effects are more stunning every time. In fact, the technology has reached a stage where 3D television will enter consumer homes in 2010. What does the social media consumer think about 3D TV? Are they excited? Do they think it’s new and different or worth buying?

Let’s compare the types of conversations that are taking place online about 3D TV as well as conversations that are taking place about the entire category of electronic equipment. This comparison will tell us if 3D TV is perceived to rise above other electronics.

This chart indicates that average sentiment towards Purchasing and Value is more positive for the electronics category than for 3D TV. On the other hand, sentiment for Anticipation and Product is more positive for 3D TV. And finally, sentiment is the same for both electronics and 3D TV in terms of New Different.

This combination of results indicates that people are looking forward to a quality product, but they feel it may not have any more value than other electronics. In addition, 3D TV may not be seen as particularly new or different in comparison to other electronic products. This combination of beliefs suggests that people may not be in the frame of mind to purchase 3D televisions – at least, not yet.