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Best 10 Text Analytics Tips Posts of The Year

Our Top 10 Most Read Data and Text Mining Posts of 2017

Thank you for reading our blog this year. The OdinText blog has quickly become even more popular than the Next Gen Market Research blog, and I really appreciate the thoughtful feedback we’ve gotten here on the blog, via Twitter, and email.

In case you’re curious, here are the most popular posts of the year:

#10 NFL Players Taking a Knee is More Complex and Polarizing Than We Think If a Topic is Worth Quantifying – It’s Also Worth Understanding The Why’s Behind It

#9 Text Analytics Picks The 10 Strongest Super Bowl Ads New Text Analytics Poll Shows Which Super Bowl Ads Really Performed Best

#8 Why Your HR Survey is a Lie and How to Get The Truth OdinText Discovers Job Satisfaction Drivers in Anonymous Employee Data

#7 Of Tears & Text Analytics (An OdinText User Story – Text Analytics Guest Post (AI Meets VOC))

#6 65 CEO’s Share Thoughts on Insights (Insights Associations Inaugural CEO Summit – A Future Tied to Collaboration and Technology)

#5 Why Machine Learning is Meaningless (Beware of Buzzwords! The Truth about ‘Machine Learning’ and ‘Artificial Intelligence’)

#4 Do You Speak Teen? OdinText Announces 2nd Annual List of Top 10 Slang Terms (How Text Analytics Can Help Marketers Move at the Speed of Slang)

#3 Text Analysis Reveals Potential French Election French Election Upset (Text Analytics Poll Showed How Close Le Pen Came to ‘Trumping’ Macron)

#2 Text Analytics Poll: Why We Unfriend on Facebook (You Can’t Handle The Truth (And Other Top Reasons Why We Unfriend on Facebook)

#1 What Americans Really Think About Trump’s Immigration Ban and Why (Text Analysis of What People Say in Their Own Words Reveals More Than Multi-Choice Surveys)

 

I thought I’d also check what our top 5 posts were from last year as well, here they are in case you missed them:

Top Posts From 2016

#1 Text Analysis Answers Is The Quran Really More Violent Than The Bible (3 Parts)

#2 Attensity Sold – What Does it Mean?

#3 Customer Satisfaction Surveys: What do Satisfied VS Dissatisfied Customers Talk About?

#4 What’s Really Wrong With Polling?

#5 What Your Customer Satisfaction Research Isn’t Telling You

Thanks again for reading and commenting. As always I welcome your thoughts and questions via LinkedIn, or feel free to request info on anything you’ve read above here.

Happy New Year!

@TomHCAnderson

Americans Resigned to Gun Violence?

New Text Analytics Poll Measures American’s Desire for Change After Vegas Shooting 

In the wake of the awful tragedy in Las Vegas Monday I like many others viewed the news with shock, sadness, disgust and disbelief. And I believe also with a feeling of helplessness. At least that’s what I prefer to think of it as rather than apathy. The number shot and killed was horrific, but not any more horrific than the Sandy Hook shootings which occurred less than an hour away from us here in Connecticut.

What is the tipping point I wondered Monday morning? How bad does it have to get before people demand change, and what does change look like. Certainly for many an outright ban on all guns would be desired I thought, or would it? In the minds of a sizeable group it seems the second Amendment is as important as freedom itself.  But to affect real change we need some consensus if not a majority.

I took the question to representative sample of 1,600 Americans fielded Tuesday - Thursday. Rather than simply asking whether they agreed or disagreed with more gun control, the NRA, second Amendment or some such topic I simply stated “ Gun control is a difficult issue in the US. Reasonably what things do you think could be done about it? [Please as specific as possible]

The kinds of insights possible with open unstructured questions are impossible to get with forced/multiple choice type questions. The comments represented below represent peoples initial thoughts and responses in their own words off the top of their heads without any influence or suggestions.

Most Popular Answer – “Nothing”

Below is a visualization of the free form answers to the question. Frequency of topic answers on the Y axis, and speed of answering on the X axis.

What could be done about gun control poll

The most frequent answer to this question among US adults after the worst shooting in US history is “Nothing”. Those answering nothing gave the question exactly 49 seconds of thought on average before answering. Let that sink in for a minute.

Looking toward the right of the plot, we can see those answers which were given after slightly more thought. For instance, the suggestion of “One Gun Per Person”, while given by extremely few people, was given after slightly longer deliberation. Certainly, the second most popular answer “Background Checks” doesn’t seem to be cutting it.

Relative Frequency of Suggested Solutions

Taking a closer look at some of the more popular suggestions, the chart below tells us a bit about where the population is in understanding the issue.

Gun Violence 2

Summarizing this chart, I would say the average American still doesn’t seem willing to take radical steps to curtail gun access and violence.

Almost none of the suggestions would have stopped the Vegas shooter. Hardly anyone suggested strict gun laws such as those in countries like Japan where guns are no longer a problem. “One Gun Per Person” is an interesting but rare suggestion that would also have helped in the Vegas shooting.

However, many of the most popular suggestions, like “Background Checks”, “Banning Automatic Weapons”, “Mental Health Detection” would not have been helpful. Yet others like “Eliminate Semi-automatics” and “Regulate Caliber of Guns” show a real lack of understanding about guns.

An unexpected suggestion picked up by our software was the banning of “Bump/Slide Fire Stocks”. This was mentioned by almost 2% of those giving suggestions. While this answer does show strong understanding of guns and the ‘hack’ the shooter used to fire as if his guns were fully automatic, it is perhaps one of the scariest answers in the chart, and one that even the NRA seems to be willing to accept.

Banning Bump stocks is not likely to make any serious impact at all on future gun violence and is just a distraction and a scape goat. This is unfortunately likely to become a big talking point on the Hill.

Non- Gun Owners who don’t understand fire arms enough to make distinction between jargon and real improvements to our safety owe it to themselves to get educated enough to debate these issues and rally for real change.

Don’t be apathetic, don’t be helpless, make change happen!

@TomHCAnderson

NFL Players Taking a Knee is More Complex and Polarizing than We Think

If a topic is worth quantifying - it’s also worth understanding the 'Why’s' behind it I think I’ve seen at least 10 polls on the NFL Protest issue in the last week. As usual, these polls are simple structured questions, sadly usually not much more than a simple agree or disagree option. For example, the CNN poll released this weekend showing 49% Against 43% Supporting, (I’m not quite sure what happened to the remaining 8%). A PBS/Marist Poll had 48% of Americans saying protests were respectful and 46% disrespectful. Yet another, Seaton Hall Poll, had 84% supporting the players right to protest!

Which of these is correct??? It seems with structured questions, you really do Receive what you Ask for

It’s different when you allow people to answer whatever they want. As we have done here on the blog several times before, in order to challenge structured/forced-answer polling and explore the results we get when people are allowed to say anything they want about a topic. This weekend we asked 1,500 Americans 1 single question:

“Q. What are your thoughts about NFL Players 'Taking a Knee' during the national anthem? [Please elaborate why you are for or against what these players are doing]”

We utilized our text analytics software platform OdinText to classify responses into 3 groups. Those clearly against the players protesting (46%), those supporting the players taking a knee (33%), and those who did not take a clear position either way, i.e. they either did not care, understand, or had more mixed emotions on the topic (21%). We then weighted these groups based on location, age, and gender to as accurately as possible project onto the general US population. Post weighting comments fell out slightly more even, though still with a majority Against the protests (43%), over a third Supporting player protests (37%) and one in five not taking a side explicitly (21%).

NFL OdinText Chart 1

In past text analytics polls, we have seen differences from other mainstream structured polls which seem to indicate text polls can provide slightly different, more accurate proportions as they relate to actual behavior (our pre-election TextPoll indicated the Trump-Clinton upset ahead of time).

We believe this may partly be due to the fact that when you ask someone why they feel a certain way, there is additional cognition when answering. Of course the true beauty of text analytics lies in better understanding and quantifying the relative importance of the various Why’s.

The WHY's Behind The Opinions

Visualizing the comment data about WHY Americans actually feel the way they do about the protests quickly paints a picture of the sentiment and the reasons behind them.

OdinText nfl vizualization 2

Along the X axis from left (those against the protests in red) to right (those supporting the protests in green), with Y axis representing frequency of mentions, we see that “disrespectfulness” is the most frequently occurring theme, and it is indeed more frequently mentioned than the primary reason for supporting the protests on the right in green “freedom of speech”.

In the chart below we can see the most important reasons WHY fans agree or disagree with player protests even more clearly (sorted by difference gap).

NFL OdinText chart 3

Beyond looking at sentiment and what was answered, with text analytics we may even consider the mechanics of how questions were answered. Those who were not clearly for one side or the other, while answering fastest (49 seconds on average) and having shorter answers on average tended to use slightly longer/complex words. Those Against, while taking longest to answer (1.5 min on average) tended to have responses of more similar sentence and word length as those Supporting the player protests (though the latter group answered somewhat faster, in about 1 minute). This longer response time might give some indication on the relative importance of the issue to the group, i.e. those Against the protesters may take the issue more seriously/personally.

The most interesting thing here, though of course, are the specific topics mentioned by the two groups. Among those Against the players taking a knee, Disrespect for flag, Country and Armed service members was the most frequent issue mentioned. Several mentioned that they would be choosing not to watch Football/NFL. Among respondents who self identified as Veterans in their response, somewhat more were in the Against camp.

Freedom of Speech, and the Right to Peaceful Protest were the two most mentioned topics related to Support for player protests.

The two sides seem to differ most on the appropriateness of venue, with many of those disagreeing with the players, pointing out that they are well paid (over paid in fact), and that the work place/NFL/Entertainment is not the place for politics. The idea of appropriateness not just of venue, but respect for flag and country was also brought up frequently by those with more Mixed opinions.

Don't Forget to Drill Down Some

I would be remiss if I told you three simple charts were sufficient in order to understand the American Psyche on an emotionally charged issue such as this one. One of our users pointed this out quite elegantly in a guest post recently here.

While many times a good visualization or two are enough to communicate everything you need to know in a text analysis, other times, we do need to remind ourselves to give a few actual example quotes.

While obviously not in our data for this study, I believe Obama may have said things well on the NFL Protests before leaving office “I believe that us honoring our flag and our anthem is part of what binds us together as a nation. But I also always try to remind folks that part of what makes this country special is that we respect people's rights to have a different opinion…it is important for everybody to listen to each other. I want (the protesters) to listen to the pain that that may cause somebody who, for example, had a spouse or a child who was killed in combat and why it hurts them to see somebody not standing… But I also want people to think about the pain he may be expressing about somebody who's lost a loved one that they think was unfairly shot."

I’m leaving you below with about a dozen sample quotes (more than I usually would recommend) for each of the three groups we identified above [sic]. These days, perhaps more so than ever before, I think we really do need to take the time to listen to each other. I welcome your thoughts to this post below, and am curious if any of the specific example quotes below resonate with you and if so which one?

AGAINST

“stupid disrespectful to our soldiers these are paid men just do your job what if doctors and nurses stated their political views when you where going into surgery a person wouldn't care for that either”

“I'm completely against it as an immigrant i have always been in awe of america's patriotism in this political climate we need to stand strong together and love our country otherwise this country will not last”

“i think it disrespects the u.s the national anthem an the american flag and is an inappropriate expression of private political views in the workplace during the player's performance of his duties and disrespects the fact that the fans in the stands have paid their hard earned money to watch a football game not to be subjected to the political views of the players the fans aren't paying for their tickets so that players can express themselves at work”

“im all for free speech but not during our national anthem i find it completely disrespectful for the true heroes that chose not to sit down and fought for our country there is no debate it's classless and demeaning and a distraction to sports”

“I am not allowed to make political statements at my job they shouldn't at theirs either the NFL wouldn't let the cowboys wear a patch in support of police yet it will allow this madness I am done with the NFL for life”

“Just play football I don't tune in to have politics pushed in my face if i wanted to hear others political views I'd watch cnn not the NFL”

“wWhy not protest any cause that anyone thinks of, valid or not, have no order at public events everything wrong in the world should be protested not just selected causes not fair to just limit to a few causes”

“As a veteran I am completely against anyone who takes a knee or protests during our national anthem I understand people feeling a need to peacefully protest but during our national anthem is not the time”

“Counterproductive and self indulgent inevitably perceived as a poke in the eye to the USA protest doesn't illuminate the cause hence a failure”

“They have a right to protest I have a right to not watch and cancel my NFL package which I have done”

“iIm against it they need to focus on football and not do something that further puts our president in the spotlight they're only rewarding the very person they're trying to speak out against”

UNCLEAR/NO OPINION/MIXED

“Stupid controversy desperate president grasping for distractions”

“I don't believe I could care any less about NFL nor the national anthem and how to listen to it…”

“I am very mixed on this. Part of me thinks it is wrong and getting out of hand that our flag and national anthem represent the freedom we have from sacrifices of those who have fought and died to protect us and that kneeling represents lack of respect, but like it or not the freedom allowed to live in our democracy gives us the right to do things as long as people are not physically hurt or mentally crushed freedom to protest i cannot give better answer”

“There is a political process...this...and Mr President please stop using twitter and calling names that is not appropriate either it all causes strife... players want to make a statement then use the process”

“I am for their freedom of protest I am against using the NFL as a venue of protest leave politics out of the NFL”

“People have the right to express themselves people fought for the right to peacefully protest no one is against the us army or the flag sports and politics shouldn't mix either have players stop coming out of the locker room for the anthem or stop doing it all together at games”

“They certainly have the right to protest however sports does not need to be mixed with politics sports is an escape from that”

“I'm neither for or against the players what i am against is the president and his endless cruel remarks on any subject”

“As long as they decide what to do as a team who cares. Before the year 2000 players were never on the field for it anyway”

“I am a veteran part of me accepts that one of the things I left my family and home to do was to protect others freedom of speech on the other hand I think there are ways of protesting that don't show disrespect to the nation via its symbol the flag that gives you those rights and doesn't serve as a slap in the face to everyone who has saluted it fold it to hand to a devastated family member or had one of those folded flags handed to them”

“I fully support their 1st amendment right to do so and think it is absolutely ridiculous that they are expressing their outrage against a country whose unparalleled and unprecedented levels of personal freedom and protection have made it possible for them to become multi millionaires among 1 of the wealthiest people on earth in their 20s for playing a game the right to free speech means the right to say and support ridiculous things including ridiculously myopic grievances they should try living one month in the life of any ordinary citizen from basically anywhere in the southern hemisphere and see if they ever complain again about life in the united states but go ahead kneel sit lay down stand on your head whatever makes you feel”

SUPPORT

“They began protesting the plight in america of African Americans now the president has forced them to protest him it's not illegal to not stand hand on heart for the american anthem and it is their constitutional right to protest ills in our country any way they choose no one mentions but part of every oath for public office including president say you will defend the constitution the president needs to read it”

“We have freedom of speech period not being able to exercise that makes us no different than Russia or North Korea or others exercising our freedoms should be the highest honor to the military why else have they fought and died plus the flag represents America not the military not veterans the national anthem represents America not just the military and veterans the flag flies over government buildings it's carried by olympic teams it's hung on lawns it's a symbol of America and does not solely belong to patriotism or the military or veterans by requiring them to stand would be forced nationalism and the first step to losing our freedoms that veterans have fought for to require them to stand would be spitting in the face of those who died so that we can be truly free”

“I think they are courageous to use their position to express their concern about inequality in America as both the athletes and many veterans have expressed the kneeling is not about disrespect to the flag or the anthem sad that we must disagree about everything these days it seems that people would rather believe it is an act of disrespect than even try to understand the issue”

“I applaud it you don't have to agree with their stance to be glad to see people exercising their rights to free speech”

“It's an effective public protest against a president that solely focuses on public image at the cost of any substantial or meaningful actions”

“I'm for it but it should be for police brutality against all Americans it is not just blacks that are being harmed”

“It is their freedom of speech if we force people to stand we are no better than North Korea, China or Syria all places that force standing to their pledge”

“I think their stance is admirable and courageous taking a stand for those who have no voice”

“Ok they are like it or not role models and seem to be on justice's side and if the pres would shut up more we would all be better off”

“I am for the nflNFL players taking a knee our flag means nothing if your brother is not included or does not feel included is mistreated or feels mistreated we should address the needs of all citizens and not just a few”

“Only black men with a consistent platform to make a statement regarding racial inequality”

“It's their right this country takes everything too seriously the citizens of this country need to relax”

“Taking a knee is what sports players do to show respect when a fellow player is injured it is another way to show respect and courage”

“They are right to use their position in the spotlight to draw attention to social issues within our society the issues at hand are not about respecting our veterans or the flag itself and we should not be distracted by these arguments”

“You can't demand respect”

“It's their right why are public displays of patriotism necessary in the first place”

 

NOTE: This TextPollTM is a quick non client project intended to demonstrate unstructured data analysis using the OdinText analytics software. That said, results have a confidence interval of +/- 2.5% at the 95% confidence level (greater than the 3 outside polls mentioned at beginning of post). If this had been an actual study we would have recommended looking at data by political affiliation as well as NFL viewing.

About Tom H. C. Anderson Tom H. C. Anderson is the founder and managing partner of OdinText, a venture-backed firm based in Stamford, CT whose patented SaaS analytics platform is used by companies like Disney and Coca-Cola to mine insights from complex, unstructured and mixed data. A recognized authority and pioneer in the field of text analytics with more than two decades of experience in market research, Anderson is the recipient of numerous awards for innovation from industry associations such as CASRO, ESOMAR and the ARF. He was named one of the “Four under 40” market research leaders by the American Marketing Association in 2010. He tweets under the handle @tomhcanderson. Click here to request a demo or additional info.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Labor Day Text Analytics Poll™ Spells Trouble for Labor Unions

Text Analysis Reveals Fragile Positioning of Labor Unions in 2017 America Happy Labor Day to our U.S. OdinText Users and Friends!

Over the holiday weekend we thought we’d run one of our quick Text Analytics Polls™, which highlight how a single open-ended question can be used to very quickly and accurately generate deeper insights on almost any subject compared to conventional multiple-choice surveys (with fewer questions and at comparable speed and cost).

In honor of the holiday, we thought we would ask about labor—specifically organized labor unions. We asked 1,500 Americans: “What are your thoughts and impressions of Workers Unions?” The responses—again, people’s comments in their own words—were rapidly analyzed and quantified using the OdinText advanced analytics software platform and are reported below…

Indifference Even on Labor Day

odintext poll

The results suggest organized labor in America today is precariously positioned, with 60% of respondents indicating they are either indifferent (35%) or outright opposed to labor unions (25%).

The Why’s Behind the Sentiment

Unlike conventional multiple-choice surveys, using unstructured questions and text analytics in polling enables us to not only quantify opinions, but also the reasons behind those opinions.

text poll

Most of those in support of unions don’t feel the need to elaborate much. They simply state that labor unions are a great thing and/or mention that they or a family member belongs to a union. The top reasons provided among supporters is that labor unions are a “necessity” (8.7%) and that they protect workers’ rights (4%).

Interestingly, while those who oppose unions are fewer in number than those who support them (25% vs 40%), their reasons tend to be slightly more articulated, with the most popular being that unions are “no longer useful/necessary” (9.3%), and that they are often “corrupt” (4.1%) and “foster laziness” (3.3%).

Takeaways

Labor unions have been on a gradual decline in the US for some time, and OdinText’s analysis of these comments points to a serious positioning problem, which, if left unaddressed, will probably lead to continued decline and, ultimately, irrelevance.

As many respondents indicated they are indifferent about unions as those who support them.  In politics and in marketing, indifference (or lack of loyalty) can spell death, but it also presents an opportunity to persuade. The question then becomes who has stronger, more cogent messaging in place?

Proponents are not inclined to (or could not) offer much explanation for why they support organized labor; conversely, opponents in their responses tend to offer slightly more detailed explanations, with the most frequent being that labor unions are generally obsolete. The distance between indifference and opposition (“unions are obsolete”) in this case isn’t much. So the challenge facing organized labor in America may be to justify its very existence.

That this result came from a poll conducted over Labor Day weekend, I think, speaks volumes, too.

@TomHCAnderson

PS. If you would like to learn more about how easy, fast and powerful Text Analytics Polling with OdinText can be, feel free to join our live Webinar on the 14th.

PPS. Friendly reminder, today is also the last day for NGMR Award Nominations. Consider nominating a worthy company or colleague here.

*Note: n=1,500 responses were collected  9/1-9/3 2017 via Google Surveys which allow researchers to reach a validated U.S. General Population Representative sample by intercepting people attempting to access high-quality online content. Results are +/- 2.53% accurate at the 95% confidence interval. Data was analyzed using OdinText 9/3/17. Request more info on OdinText here.

 

ABOUT ODINTEXT  The leader in Text Analytics for Marketing Research, OdinText is a patented SaaS (software-as-a-service) platform for natural language processing and text mining. For more information or to request a demo, visit Get The Job Done With OdinText!

New Sentiment Analysis Reveals Reasons Behind Stance on Confederate Statues

Text Analytics Poll™ shows asking respondents to provide reasons for their opinions may increase cognition and decrease “No Opinion”

Asking People WHY They Support/Oppose Civil War Monuments May Affect Results. Judging from the TV news and social media, the entire country is up in arms over the status of Confederate Civil War monuments. What really is the mood of the country in regard to these statues?

A quick Google search turned up the chart below, which to YouGov’s credit broke out not just Democrats VS Republicans, but also blacks VS whites. On a high level this structured survey question, which allowed respondents to answer a standard five-point agreement scale from ‘strongly approve’ to ‘strongly disapprove,’ seems to indicate that “almost half of Americans (48%)” want the Charlottesville Robert E. Lee statue to stay.

While emotions as depicted on TV and social media are running  high, there doesn’t seem to be much reasoned discussion about WHY people feel so strongly on either side. Therefore, we were curious if rather than just asking a closed-ended agreement scale, what would happen instead if respondents were asked to elaborate on their choice with a reason?

Note: the goal here is not to uncover all the best reasons for or against keeping the statues. If that was the case we could approach a handful of social science professors with expertise in history, civil rights or ethics and psychology. Instead, we were curious to see if simply asking someone to consider a reason for their choice (even if they could not give a very good one) would affect the proportions of those agreeing or disagreeing. Of course, we were also curious about how many reasons each side might enumerate and what the quality of those reasons might be.

We asked a random sample of 1,500 Americans the following:

Q. Should Confederate Civil War Monuments be allowed in the US, why or why not?

Asking respondents to provide a reason, and using Text Analytics to measure sentiment, provided an almost identical number in favor of removing Confederate Civil War statues (29%) as the simple Likert scale poll; however, it halved the number of “Don’t Know/Don’t Care” responses (just 10%), apparently to the benefit of those who support keeping Confederate Civil War statues intact (61%).

EMOTIONS VS EXPLICIT REASONS

Let’s have a look at the reasons each side provided…

First, it’s noteworthy but not surprising that a number of the comments registered high emotional valence – especially anger – among both groups. Among those who favor keeping the statues, there is also significantly more fear/anxiety expressed in their comments.

As for the specific reasons, among those who want statues to remain, ‘history’ (implicitly the preservation of) is the most frequently mentioned reason by far (46%), and that history shouldn’t be deleted (3%), and history is both Good and Bad (2%).

The main argument among those who want to remove the statues is that Confederates were losers and traitors (9%) and that these statues should be limited to museums and battle grounds (8%), that glorifying what these men stood for is wrong (6%), as well as more general mentions of its symbolism of hate or slavery (6%).

A QUICK LOOK AT REGION

We took a quick look at answers by geography. Southerners were 5% more likely than total to mention the historic importance of the statues (35% VS 30% in total). They were also half as likely to have made the argument that statues for losers/traitors aren’t appropriate (1.7% VS 2.8% in total).

Americans in the Northeast region were significantly more likely than average to say they weren’t sure or didn’t care (7% VS 5% in total), and were also significantly more likely to mention the importance of “remembering” (3% VS 1% in total).

Americans in the West Region were significantly less likely to mention the importance of ‘History’ (25% VS 30% in Total).

The Verdict Changes When Asked Why

The court of public opinion in a standard Likert scale instrument appears fairly evenly split on whether or not to remover Confederate Civil War monuments, but when we ask people to explain why they hold a position on this matter in their own words, we see a significant shift in the data toward keeping these monuments intact.

Most respondents didn’t offer any surprises in terms of their explanations for why they support/oppose keeping the monuments. Indeed, a few arguments on both sides have already been fleshed out in the media, and this may have affected how people responded.

The ah-ha for us in this exercise was that the “don’t care/don’t knows” shrank by half when respondents were asked to provide a reason for their opinion. Whether this is a matter of causality, of course, is debatable. But it does suggest that allowing people to explain in their own words will produce a different, possibly more accurate picture, as well as which reasons have strongest appeal.

@TomHCAnderson

*Note: n=1,500 responses were collected via Google Surveys 8/19-8/21 2017. Google Surveys allow researchers to reach a validated U.S. General Population Representative sample by intercepting people attempting to access high-quality online content or who have downloaded the Google Opinion Rewards mobile app. Results are +/- 2.53% accurate at the 95% confidence interval. Data was analyzed using OdinText 8/21/17. Request more info on OdinText here.

About Tom H. C. Anderson Tom H. C. Anderson is the founder and managing partner of OdinText, a venture-backed firm based in Stamford, CT whose eponymous, patented SAS platform is used by Fortune 500 companies like Disney, Coca-Cola and Shell Oil to mine insights from complex, unstructured and mixed data. A recognized authority and pioneer in the field of text analytics with more than two decades of experience in market research, Anderson is the recipient of numerous awards for innovation from industry associations such as CASRO, ESOMAR and the ARF. He was named one of the “Four under 40” market research leaders by the American Marketing Association in 2010. He tweets under the handle @tomhcanderson.

How Fear of Frexit Helped Macron Win the French Presidential Election
NEW Text Analytics PollTM Shows a Trump-Style Le Pen Upset May Have Been Averted by Overwhelming Opposition to a Frexit

Last week on this blog, I reported findings from a Text Analytics Poll™ of 3,000 French citizens showing that Marine Le Pen’s positioning going into the runoff looked remarkably similar to that of another recent underdog candidate, Donald Trump, just days before his stunning U.S. election upset.

Indeed, a similar set of circumstances appeared to be in play, as noted by the New York Times in an article on Election Day: “Populist anger at the political establishment; economic insecurity among middle class voters; public alienation toward mainstream political parties; rising resentment toward immigrants.”

Yet on Sunday, the French people elected Emmanuel Macron president over Le Pen by about 66/34. So why wasn’t the race closer?

The answer may be in data we collected from French and British respondents, which shows that the prospect of a Le Pen “Frexit” probably figured highly in Macron’s victory.

Positioning: Voting Against a Candidate

Our data in the French presidential poll were eerily reminiscent of data we collected prior to the U.S. election, which suggested a victory may not so much amount to an endorsement of one candidate as a rejection of the other.

Our analysis showed that first and foremost, the French associated Le Pen with bigotry and hatemongering, but text analysis also showed that among the French she was strongly positioned around immigration reform and putting France first—a platform that worked effectively for Trump, who had also been labeled a bigot in the minds of many Americans. In fact, the perception of Trump as a bigot was only slightly lower among Americans than the perception of Le Pen as a bigot among the French (11% vs 15%, respectively).

In contrast, respondents most frequently associated Macron with “liberalism”—meaning economic liberalism favoring free markets—followed by capitalism, neither of which is necessarily an asset in terms of positioning in French politics, particularly for a wealthy investment banker at a time when job security is a major concern among middleclass voters.

But the main platform issue that people associated with Macron—which trailed just behind people’s view of him as a proponent of free markets/capitalism—was Europe/EU, in stark contrast to Le Pen, who was well known to strongly favor an EU “Frexit.” The EU is also synonymous with the free movement of commerce and people, which, of course, stands in contrast to the dual protectionist/anti-immigration platform championed by Le Pen.

This, naturally, begged the question: How important is EU membership to the French population?

If the mood of the French electorate were anything like that of British Brexit voters, then favoring EU membership could be a liability. So just days ahead of the election we ran a second Text Analytics Poll—once again a single question—only this time we polled 3000 voters each in France and the UK:

  1. “What does the European Union mean to you?” (or “Qu'est ce que l'Union Européenne représente pour vous?” in French).

EU Membership Means “Hope”

It’s worth noting that turnout for this election was reportedly the lowest in 36 years. These were presumably voters who never would’ve cast a ballot for Le Pen, but who also could not be mobilized for Macron. In short, they were Macron’s to lose.

This new poll data helps explain why, in spite of inspiring lackluster confidence and support from anti-Le Pen voters, Macron nonetheless won the election by a sizable margin.

EU UK V FRANCE

While a significant number of the French tell us the EU means nothing to them, this is significantly lower than the Brits who say so.

Conversely, the French are more than five times as likely as Brits to say the EU means “Everything/A Lot” to them. The French are also far less likely than their UK counterparts to criticize the EU for corruption, wastefulness and such.

Instead, the French are extremely optimistic about the EU, with many indicating it provides “future hope” and keeps them out of wars and at “Peace” —something Brits are more likely to attribute to NATO.

High Positive Emotions for EU

Ultimately, emotions are what really drive behavior, and in the end, the French electorate’s highly positive emotional disposition toward the EU—notably their “Anticipation” and hopefulness—may have countered Macron’s relatively weak positioning in this election.

eMOTIONS TOWARD EU 2

Closing Thoughts

I read some responses to our original analysis that I’d characterize as emotionally overwrought. I understand that this is an occupational hazard for anyone conducting political opinion research, but our duty is to present and report objectively what the data tells us—even if what we’re seeing in the data isn’t necessarily pleasant.

The job of these polls was to assess the candidates’ brand positioning in the minds of voters, and to review the potential opportunities and threats in the “marketplace” as we would for any brand.

I want to stress that I am not discounting people’s distaste for Marine Le Pen’s perceived bigotry as being a key factor behind her loss in this election, but I’ll emphasize again that it was only slightly higher (15% vs 11%) than what we saw for Donald Trump, who, as you know, is now the President of the United States.

And at the end of the day, the hard truth is that more than a third of those who voted in this election voted for a right-wing nationalist—a candidate whose background makes Donald Trump look like a civil rights activist by comparison. Moreover, 25% of the electorate were not sufficiently affronted by Madame Le Pen’s politics to at least vote against her by voting for Macron; instead, they just abstained.

Like many people, I am relieved by the outcome of this election, but it seems clear from the positioning of both candidates—as reported by French citizens, unaided, in their own words—and the data on EU membership from our second poll that the French people did not simply reject Marine Le Pen because she is positioned as a racist/hatemonger; she was on the wrong side of Frexit.

@TomHCAnderson

*Note: n=3,000 responses were collected via Google Surveys 3/3-5/5 2017. Google Surveys allow researchers to reach a validated French General Population Representative sample by intercepting people attempting to access high-quality online content or who have downloaded the Google Opinion Rewards mobile app. Results are +/- 2.51% accurate at the 95% confidence interval.

Text Analytics Tips

About Tom H. C. Anderson Tom H. C. Anderson is the founder and managing partner of OdinText, a venture-backed firm based in Stamford, CT whose eponymous, patented SAS platform is used by Fortune 500 companies like Disney, Coca-Cola and Shell Oil to mine insights from complex, unstructured and mixed data. A recognized authority and pioneer in the field of text analytics with more than two decades of experience in market research, Anderson is the recipient of numerous awards for innovation from industry associations such as CASRO, ESOMAR and the ARF. He was named one of the “Four under 40” market research leaders by the American Marketing Association in 2010. He tweets under the handle @tomhcanderson.

Text Analytics Reveals Potential French Election Upset
Text Analytics Poll Shows Le Pen Positioned to “Trump” Macron

To Americans following the French Presidential Election taking place in less than a week, it might appear as though recent history is repeating itself. And in many ways, it is.

Late last week we ran a Text Analytics Poll™ in France, and the results of our analysis bear a striking resemblance to those of an identical poll we ran in the US just a couple of days prior to the November 8 presidential election.

You may recall that in November, just a day before the US Presidential Election, we posted on this blog results from a Text Analytics Poll™ indicating that Hillary Clinton had a major positioning problem that could cost her the election, in contrast to conventional pollsters’ predictions that had almost universally and, it turns out, incorrectly forecast her winning by a sizable Electoral College margin.

Well, as was the case in our US poll, actual comment data from French respondents in their own words indicates a much, much closer race between Emmanuel Macron and Marine Le Pen than the 60/40 split pollsters have thus far predicted.

In fact, as of Sunday night when we closed this poll—exactly one week before the May 7 runoff election—Marine Le Pen looked a lot like Donald Trump.

About this Text Analytics Poll™

For this French election Text Analytics Poll™, we replicated our November US election poll, taking a French general population sample of 3,000, splitting it in half randomly, and asking each half the same single question, substituting only the candidate’s name:

“Without looking, off the top of your mind, what issues does [insert candidate name] stand for?”

We then machine-translated the responses and analyzed them using the patented OdinText software platform, which identified and quantified potentially important themes/ideas/topics in people’s comments and also qualified and quantified the emotions expressed in those comments.

We use this approach because we’ve found time and again that conventional quantitative survey questions—the sort used in political polls—are usually not terrific predictors of actual behavior.

We know that consumers (and, yes, voters) are generally not rational decision-makers; people rely on emotions and heuristics to make most of our decisions. Ergo, if I really want to understand what will drive actual behavior, the surest way to find out is by allowing you to tell me unaided, in your own words, off the top of your head. Oftentimes, we can accomplish this with one, well-designed question!

French Election Outsider vs. Reformer

Much as we saw in the US race, the French electorate appears to be in a decidedly anti-establishment mood. So it’s no surprise under the circumstances that both of the final contenders in the French presidential runoff could accurately be described as “outsiders,” but what voters may really be after is a reformer.

Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump were both considered outsiders and reformers, although unlike Trump, who successfully hijacked the Republican nomination, Sanders failed to pull off a similar grassroots coup in the Democratic primary. As a result, US voters were faced with a choice between a reformer/outsider and an establishment candidate.

Le Pen has been a member of the French Parliament for more than a decade and she held elected office at the regional level before that. She’s also the scion of a famous political family and, more importantly, the former president of a prominent, albeit right wing, political party, the National Front (FN). Le Pen’s relative “outsider” status stems from the fact that the FN has historically promoted a nationalist agenda and was until recently viewed as outside of the political mainstream (and outside the two major coalitions that have alternated between control of the French government for the last 30-plus years).

Emmanuel Macron, too, is a relative outsider. He’s a former Minister of the Economy and founded the “En Marche”(“Forward!”) political movement in 2016, but he has never held elected office and, as of our poll, remains something of a mystery to potential French voters save for the fact that it’s well known that he made a fortune in investment banking.

Whatever you think of her politics, Le Pen clearly qualifies as a reformer, whereas Macron, while an outsider, appears to have a positioning problem around reform. Let’s take a closer look…

It’s All About Brand Positioning… Again

Whether you’re a corporation or a candidate for office, properly positioning your brand in the mind of your target is arguably the single most important part of the marketing process.

As I noted, our US poll back in November strongly suggested that Hillary Clinton was in more trouble than any of the other polling data to that point had indicated, and the problem was one of positioning relative to the competition.

Why?

- The #1 most popular response for Hillary Clinton involved the perception of dishonesty/corruption.

- The #1 and #2 most popular responses for Donald Trump related to platform (immigration, followed by pro-USA/America First), followed thirdly by perceived racism/hatemongering.

Again, I’ll emphasize that these responses were not selected from a list of possible choices, but top-of-mind and unaided from voters in their own words.

What the comment data revealed was that Donald Trump’s campaign messaging was very focused around a two issues—immigration and protectionism—and had been effective in galvanizing voters to whom these positions appealed; Hillary Clinton’s messaging was relatively scattered across a variety of issues, and therefor diluted, which made it difficult for voters to identify her with a key issue they could rally around.

And while an alarmingly high proportion of responses to our question were for both candidates emotionally-charged character attacks, the negative emotional disposition toward Hillary Clinton was actually higher than for Donald Trump. In other words, the dislike among people who disliked Hillary Clinton outweighed the dislike among people who disliked Donald Trump. This probably had little to do with Trump campaign messaging—although they certainly capitalized on it—and was more a reflection of the fact that Hillary Clinton had been highly visible and active in national politics for decades and was already positioned in the minds of voters.

How does this relate to what we see in the French Election data?

The chart below depicts responses from the French to our single question after being analyzed by OdinText and sorted by prevalence of topics/themes (coded red for Macron and blue for Le Pen).

First, it’s important to note that there are inherently fewer issues with which politicians can differentiate themselves in French politics than there are in US politics. For example, issues like abortion, education, healthcare, gun ownership, etc., in France are not hotly contested as they are in the States.

In France—like most European countries in the post-Brexit era—political debate centers primarily around economics internally and in relation to other countries (i.e. the EU), security, and, importantly, immigration.

Here, Le Pen’s positioning is unmistakable, as she was frequently associated with immigration, which works in her favor among those who view immigration as a problem. The issue is tied to security, as well, and given the 2015 Paris attacks, the heightened fear about terrorism coupled with domestic economic concerns could lead voters who might have been historically more sympathetic to pro-immigration platforms to actually vote for Le Pen.

That said, like Hillary Clinton, Marine Le Pen is well known to the French, and already positioned in their eyes. Although she has taken steps to soften the perception, respondents to our poll most frequently said she stands for racism/hate/xenophobia, which does not bode well for her candidacy in socially liberal France.

Macron, by contrast, remains a relative enigma to the French people. Almost twice as many French people said they aren’t sure what Macron stands for compared to Le Pen. In fact, Macron is not tied to any standout platform or issue of importance to the French, whereas Le Pen is positioned as a reformer on immigration to an electorate that, again, is not enamored with the status quo.

Moreover, respondents most frequently associated Macron with “liberalism,” followed by capitalism, which are nearly the same. Indeed, I put liberalism in quotes here to make a very important distinction that might have otherwise been lost on Americans who are not familiar with French politics: Liberalism in France actually refers to economic liberalism favoring free markets—almost the opposite of how the term is used in US politics!

Neither liberalism nor capitalism are necessarily assets in terms of positioning in French politics, particularly for a wealthy investment banker at a time when job security is a major concern among voters. Macron has campaigned as a centrist, stating emphatically that ideologically he is neither left nor right, but our data suggests that he is positioned in the minds of the French as something of a neo-conservative and perhaps an elite. Indeed, the Le Pen campaign has been feeding this positioning and tying it to fears about globalization undermining the economic security of the French people.

We do see in the data that Le Pen’s positioning of Macron as a capitalist “sell-out” and instrument of status quo globalists has achieved some success, but it may be too little too late. While 7.8% of the French in our poll view Macron as capitalist/money man, nearly twice as many describe Le Pen as a hatemongering racist (15.3%).

Ironically, we noted in our US poll that Donald Trump was also described as a racist by more than 10% of Americans just days before the election; however, more than 12% of Americans said that Hillary Clinton was dishonest/“crooked.”

The combined chart below shows how both the French and the American candidates appeared in the eyes of respondents from their respective countries. (Again, note that “liberal” for Macron does not mean fiscal or socially liberal as it does in the context of US politics, but refers to free-market economic liberalism.)

French Election 4

Final Analysis

This upcoming election is actually runoff, and the opponents have basically two weeks to position one another. To this point, the job of defining one’s opponent was much trickier because there were five candidates in the race. In US politics, obviously, candidates have a lot more time to cement positioning against a single opponent.

But French campaign strategists are accustomed to operating within this short timeline. The Macron campaign has enjoyed an advantage in that negative positioning around Le Pen was already firmly in place, whereas Macron was relatively unknown. Conversely, the Le Pen campaign now has a huge opportunity to negatively position Macron as an instrument of global bankers and the status quo and to sway voters with a message of protectionism and security at a time when both have high appeal.

The wild card here is the EU. An EU “Frexit” is generally accepted to be less appealing among the majority of French, and although Le Pen has been softening her rhetoric, she is known to strongly favor leaving the EU. Macron, however, is most assuredly opposed to a Frexit, and the data show that respondents understand this difference.

Much like we saw in the US election results foreshadowed by our own polling data, a victory in this election may not so much amount to an endorsement of one candidate as a rejection of the status quo. And of the two candidates, Le Pen is better positioned as the reformer. She could yet ride a wave of populism that Macron is not equipped to tap into.

In short, do not be surprised if Marine Le Pen pulls off a Trump-style upset in the French Presidential Election. The data strongly suggest she is positioned to do so!

@TomHCAnderson

*Note: n=3,000 responses were collected via Google Surveys 4/24-4/30 2017. Google Surveys allow researchers to reach a validated French General Population Representative sample by intercepting people attempting to access high-quality online content or who have downloaded the Google Opinion Rewards mobile app. Results are +/- 2.51% accurate at the 95% confidence interval.

Text Analytics Tips

About Tom H. C. Anderson Tom H. C. Anderson is the founder and managing partner of OdinText, a venture-backed firm based in Stamford, CT whose eponymous, patented SAS platform is used by Fortune 500 companies like Disney, Coca-Cola and Shell Oil to mine insights from complex, unstructured and mixed data. A recognized authority and pioneer in the field of text analytics with more than two decades of experience in market research, Anderson is the recipient of numerous awards for innovation from industry associations such as CASRO, ESOMAR and the ARF. He was named one of the "Four under 40" market research leaders by the American Marketing Association in 2010. He tweets under the handle @tomhcanderson.

Marketing Research Blooper Reveals Lots of Surprises and Two Important Lessons

April Foolishness: What Happens When You Survey People in the Wrong Language?

I’m going to break with convention today and, in lieu of an April Fool’s gag, I’m going to tell you about an actual goof we recently made that yielded some unexpected but interesting results for researchers.

As you know, last week on the blog we highlighted findings from an international, multilingual Text Analytics Poll™ we conducted around culture. This particular poll spanned 10 countries and eight languages, and when we went to field it we accidentally sent the question to our U.S. sample in Portuguese!

Shockingly, in many cases, people STILL took the time to answer our question! How?

First, bear in mind that these Text Analytics Polls™ consist of only one question and it’s open-ended, not multiple choice. The methodology we use intercepts respondents online and requires them to type an answer to our question before they can proceed to content they’re interested in.

Under the circumstances, you might expect someone to simply type “n/a” or “don’t understand” or even some gibberish in order to move on quickly, and indeed we saw plenty of that. But in many cases, people took the time to thoughtfully point out the error, and even with wit.

Verbatim examples [sic]:

“Are you kidding me, an old american who can say ¡adios!”

“Tuesday they serve grilled cheese sandwiches.” “What the heck is that language?”

“No habla espanol”

“i have no idea what that means”

“2 years of Spanish class and I still don't understand”

Others expressed themselves more…colorfully…

“No, I don't speak illegal immigrant.”

“Speak English! I'm switching to News 13 Orlando. They have better coverage than FT.”

Author’s note: I suspect that last quote was from someone who was intercepted while trying to access a Financial Times article. ;-)

While a lot of people clearly assumed our question was written in Spanish, still others took the time to figure out what the language was and even to translate the question!

“I had to use google translate to understand the question.”

“what the heck does this mean i don't speak Portuguese”

But what surprised me most was that a lot of Americans actually answered our question—i.e., they complied with what we had asked—even though it was written in Portuguese. And many of those replies were in Spanish!!!

We caught our mistake quickly enough when we went to machine-translate the responses and we were told that replies to a question in Portuguese were now being translated from English to English, but two important lessons were learned here:

Takeaway One: Had we made this mistake with a multiple-choice instrument, we either might not have caught it until after the analysis or perhaps not at all. Not only would respondents not have been able to tell us that we had made a mistake, but they would’ve had the easy option of just clicking a response at random. And unless those random clicks amounted to a conspicuous pattern in the data, we could’ve potentially taken the data as valid!

Takeaway Two: The notion that people will not take the time to thoughtfully respond to an open-ended question is total bunk. People not only took the time to answer our question in detail when it was correctly served to them in their own language, but they even spared a thought for us when they didn’t understand the language!

I want to emphasize here that if you’re one of those researchers (and I used to be among this group, by the way) who thinks you can’t include an open-ended question in a quantitative instrument, compel the respondent to answer it, and get a meaningful answer to your question, you are not only mistaken but you’re doing yourself and your client a huge disservice.

Take it from this April fool, open-ended questions not only tell you what you didn’t know; they tell you what you didn’t know you didn’t know.

Thanks for reading. I’d love to hear what you think!

@TomHCAnderson

P.S. Find out how much more value an open-ended question can add to your survey using OdinText. Contact us to talk about it.

About Tom H. C. Anderson

Tom H. C. Anderson is the founder and managing partner of OdinText, a venture-backed firm based in Stamford, CT whose patented SAS platform is used by Fortune 500 companies like Disney, Coca-Cola and Shell Oil to mine insights from complex, unstructured and mixed data. A recognized authority and pioneer in the field of text analytics with more than two decades of experience in market research, Anderson is the recipient of numerous awards for innovation from industry associations such as CASRO, ESOMAR and the ARF. He was named one of the "Four under 40" market research leaders by the American Marketing Association in 2010. He tweets under the handle @tomhcanderson.

Text Analytics Poll: Why We Unfriend on Facebook

You Can't Handle the Truth (and Other Top Reasons for Being Unfriended on Facebook)  When’s the last time you unfriended someone on Facebook?

In spite of the fact that both the platform and its users have reached what in product lifecycle-speak would be called maturity, unfriending remains a somewhat surprisingly common phenomenon.

In fact, about 76% of Facebook users we contacted in a recent Text Analytics Poll™ told us they had unfriended someone .

The drivers behind “unfriending” have been researched and written about extensively, but given its enduring prevalence, we wanted to explore why it persists. So we asked a random gen pop sample of people (n=1500) the following:

“Have you unfriended someone on Facebook, and if so why?”

A brief note about this Text Analytics Poll™…

Before we share the results, I must emphasize that this is a quick, surface-level read. The goal of these Text Analytics Polls™ is not to conduct a perfect study, but to very quickly design and field a survey with only one open-ended question, analyze the results with OdinText, and report the findings here on this blog.

Yes, I know that not everyone is a Facebook user, and the response data reflected this. More importantly, there is without a doubt overlap among the categories that came out of OdinText’s analysis in the chart below.  For example, a number of people reported they had unfriended someone because they had stopped speaking to him/her. The reason they stopped speaking to this person could be due to a break-up, political differences or one of the other reasons cited by other respondents.

The point here is that people are responding off the top of their heads and in their own words, providing a much more accurate understanding of the “what” being explored, which we can then analyze and quantify using OdinText software.

Now for the results…

Top Reasons for Unfriending Someone on Facebook

Note: All Verbatims are [sic]

  1. Inappropriate/Offensive Content

You’d think most people would’ve learned appropriate Facebook etiquette by now, but clearly there are a significant number of bad actors out there, with the primary reason for unfriending being related to inappropriate or offensive content. This category spanned everything from profanity to racism to graphic sexual content, but also lifestyle choices or social views that people found personally objectionable.

Examples:

they posted things that are illegal and go against my morals

vulgarities

R-rated content

Posts about lifestyle choice that I am against and profanity

constant postings of very controversial subjects such as abortion

racism or derogatory remarks about ladies

For posting an extremely offensive video featuring meth being smoked by young girls

  1. No Longer Friends/Grew Apart/Tired of Them

Too much drama or TMI, the airing of dirty laundry, posts that made people uncomfortable because they were too personal or too often about deeply sensitive subjects…these were common reasons cited for severing ties on Facebook. But people also said the relationship had grown stale or they’d lost touch. Sure people change. Relationships grow stale. Sometimes we outgrow one another. These are common occurrences in real life, but I was surprised to see such a high incidence of them on Facebook, where one’s “friends” are frequently not people with whom we share close personal relationships.

Examples:

people who I fell out of contact with and felt it wouldn't be worth reconnecting with; people who I wasn't very fond of to begin with; people who were friended as a means to an end i.e. for an old job; people who I started out having a good friendship with and ended up being jerks.

because the friendship ended.

they were two-faced

No longer keep in touch

They changed as a person

I haven't seen them in years, and they tried to add me to a group about them selling Tupperware.

I had not seen or talked to them in months or years

They were posting too much personal drama

No longer friends with that person and couldn’t stand their drama anymore

They enjoyed high drama, public arguments with their families.

  1. Politics

Everyone knew this one was coming. We were surprised it wasn’t number one, especially given the particularly divisive presidential election that just took place. I expect the incidence of politics being a driver for unfriending is actually higher than people’s comments reflected. This is also an area where the comments were highly emotionally charged.

Interestingly, most people who cited politics as a reason for unfriending did not elaborate. The comment data suggest that a lot of people simply don’t care for political ranting, in general. It’s probably safe to assume that the rules that govern polite conversation in person also apply on Facebook.

That said, significant numbers of people did specify whether the politics of the unfriended were liberal or conservative. But interestingly, mentions of Donald Trump specifically were more than sufficient to merit their own category.

  1. Annoying Statuses

This one’s pretty self-explanatory: status updates—especially the inane and/or frequent variety—tend to irk people!

Examples:

posted too many annoying statuses

Annoying posts that clutter the newsfeed

Because their posts were too frequent and annoying.

To stop the annoying posts

Annoying statuses

they either post way too much or their posts are stupid and I do not want to look at them

Tired of the persons constant posts about their hair or personal injuries from others

  1. Don’t Know Well or In Real Life

Early on in our Facebook lives, most of us were probably a bit promiscuous when it came to “friending” and, consequently, we had to cull the herd. What’s surprising is how many people still accept friends they don’t know and then “unfriend” them because…well…they don’t know them.

Did not feel comfortable with them knowing personal details about me

Didn't remember who they were.

I never knew them very well and they were cluttering my feed.

To purge people that I have no connection to

Because i didnt actually know them in real life.

Inactive, wasn't a close friend to begin with.

Because I did not speak to them ever

Because they were a mere acquaintance

cuz dont know the person

Bonus: Why We Think They Unfriended Us

It seems that while many of the norms and conditions for friendship (or at least friendly acquaintanceship) in real life also apply on Facebook, a lot of people either do not understand them or insist on breaking them when they’re on the other side of a screen.

But how do we account for those rare instances when someone unfriends us? Well, we asked another gen pop sample if they had been unfriended and, if so, for what reason.

Not surprisingly, it turns out we are almost 10 times more likely to say we unfriended someone because they were annoying or inappropriate as we are to admit that was the reason we ourselves were unfriended.

Most of the people who were unfriended by someone else told us they’re not quite sure why, but they often hazarded what appear to be pretty good “guesses”:

Yes, but I was not told why. Person has had a lot of stress in the community, can only guess it was just too much to continue.

I would guess that it would be because we don't keep in contact.

They did not like my ‘opinion’ which is fine because it was my ‘opinion’ not theirs. Guess they should not have asked.

Because of a joke that I made too soon after the Orlando shootings. I made a picture of Lando Calrissian holding a pride flag and the caption said ‘we are Lando?’ too soon I guess

People also tend to be rather defensive about being unfriended and are significantly more likely to just chalk it up to “a difference of opinion,” noting that they “don’t really care anyway” and that it’s probably because “we aren’t really close enough anymore.”

Finally, many of us say we were unfriended for “speaking the truth.”

Thanks for reading. Now what do you think?

@TomHCAnderson

PS. Do you have an idea for our next Text Analytics Poll™? We’d love to hear from you! Please contact us here for more info or to request an OdinText demo with your data.

About Tom H. C. Anderson

Tom H. C. Anderson is the founder and managing partner of OdinText, a venture-backed firm based in Stamford, CT whose eponymous, patented SAS platform is used by Fortune 500 companies like Disney, Coca-Cola and Shell Oil to mine insights from complex, unstructured and mixed data. A recognized authority and pioneer in the field of text analytics with more than two decades of experience in market research, Anderson is the recipient of numerous awards for innovation from industry associations such as CASRO, ESOMAR and the ARF. He was named one of the "Four under 40" market research leaders by the American Marketing Association in 2010. He tweets under the handle @tomhcanderson.

When Oprah is President We Can Celebrate Family Day While Skiing!

Text Analytics Poll™ Shows What We’d Like Instead of Presidents Day It’s been less than a week since our Valentine’s Day poll unearthed what people dislike most about their sweethearts, and already another holiday is upon us! Though apparently for most of us it’s not much of a holiday at all; well over half of Americans say they do nothing to commemorate ‘Presidents Day.’

You’ll note I put the holiday in single quotes. That’s because there’s some confusion around the name. Federally, it’s recognized as Washington’s Birthday. At the state level, it’s known by a variety of names—President’s Day, Presidents’ Day, Presidents Day and others, again, depending on the state.

But the name is not the only inconsistency about Presidents Day. If you’re a federal employee OR you happen to be a state employee in a state where the holiday is observed OR you work for an employer who honors it, you get the day off work with pay. Schools may or may not be closed, but that again depends on where you live.

As for what we’re observing exactly, well, that also depends on the state, but people generally regard the holiday as an occasion to honor either George Washington, alone, or Washington and Abraham Lincoln, or U.S. presidents, in general.

Perhaps the one consistent aspect of this holiday is the sales? It’s particularly popular among purveyors of automobiles, mattresses, and furniture.

Yes, it’s a patriotic sort of holiday, but on the whole, we suspected that ‘Presidents Day’ fell on the weaker end of the American holiday spectrum, so we investigated a little bit…

About this Text Analytics Poll™

In this example for our ongoing series demonstrating the efficiency, flexibility, and practicality of the Text Analytics Poll™ for insights generation, we opted for a light-hearted poll using a smaller sample* than usual. While text analytics have obvious value when applied to larger-scale data where human reading or coding is impossible or too expensive, you’ll see here that OdinText also works very effectively with smaller samples!

I’ll also emphasize that the goal of these little Text Analytics Polls™ is not to conduct a perfect study, but to very quickly design and field a survey with only one open-ended question, analyze the results with OdinText, and report the findings in here on this blog. (The only thing that takes a little time—usually 2-3 days—is the data collection.)

So while the research is representative of the general online population, and the text analytics coding applied with 100% consistency throughout the entire sample, this very speedy exercise is meant to inspire users of OdinText to use the software in new ways to answer new questions. It is not meant to be an exhaustive exploration of the topic. We welcome our users to comment and suggest improvements in the questions we ask and make suggestions for future topics!

Enough said, on to the results…

A Holiday In Search of a Celebrant in Search of a Holiday…

Poll I: Americans Celebrate on the Slopes, Not in Stores

When we asked Americans how they typically celebrate Presidents Day, the vast majority told us they don’t. And those few of us lucky enough to have the day off from work tend to not do much outside of sleeping.

But the surprise came from those few who actually said they do something on Presidents Day!

We expected people to say they go shopping on Presidents Day, but the most popular activity mentioned (after nothing and sleeping) was skiing! And skiing was followed by 2) barbecuing and 3) spending time with friends—not shopping.

Poll II: Change it to Family Day?

So, maybe as far as holidays go, Presidents Day is a tad lackluster? Could we do better?

We asked Americans:

Q. If we could create a new holiday instead of Presidents Day, what new holiday would you suggest we celebrate?

While some people indicated Presidents Day is fine as is, among those who suggested a new holiday there was no shortage of creativity!

The three most frequently mentioned ideas by large margins for replacement of Presidents Day were 1) Leaders/Heroes Day, 2) Native American Day (this holiday already exists, so maybe it could benefit from some publicity?) and 3) Family Day (which is celebrated in parts of Canada and other countries).

People also seemed to like the idea of shifting the date and making a holiday out of other important annually occurring events that lent themselves to a day off in practical terms like Election Day, Super Bowl Monday and, my personal favorite, Taxpayer Day on April 15!

Poll III: From Celebrity Apprentice to Celebrity POTUS

Donald Trump isn’t the first person in history to have not held elected office before becoming president, but he is definitely the first POTUS to have had his own reality TV show! Being Presidents Day, we thought it might be fun to see who else from outside of politics might interest Americans…

 Q: If you could pick any celebrity outside of politics to be President, who would it be?

 

Looks like we could have our first female president if Oprah ever decides to run. The media mogul’s name just rolled off people’s tongues, followed very closely by George Clooney, with Morgan Freeman in a respectable third.

Let Them Tell You in Their Own Words

In closing, I’ll remind you that none of these data were generated by a multiple-choice instrument, but via unaided text comments from people in their own words.

What never ceases to amaze me about these exercises is how even when we give people license to say whatever crazy thing they can think up—without any prompts or restrictions—people often have the same thoughts. And so open-ends lend themselves nicely to quantification using a platform like OdinText.

If you’re among the lucky folks who have the holiday off, enjoy the slopes!

Until next time, Happy Presidents Day!

@TomHCAnderson

PS.  Do you have an idea for our next Text Analytics Poll™? We’d love to hear from you. Or, why not use OdinText to analyze your own data!

[*Today’s OdinText Text Analytics PollTM sample of n=500 U.S. online representative respondents has been sourced through of Google Surveys. The sample has a confidence interval of +/- 4.38 at the 95% Confidence Level. Larger samples have a smaller confidence level. Subgroup analyses within the sample have a larger confidence interval.]

About Tom H. C. Anderson

Tom H. C. Anderson is the founder and managing partner of OdinText, a venture-backed firm based in Stamford, CT whose eponymous, patented SAS platform is used by Fortune 500 companies like Disney, Coca-Cola and Shell Oil to mine insights from complex, unstructured and mixed data. A recognized authority and pioneer in the field of text analytics with more than two decades of experience in market research, Anderson is the recipient of numerous awards for innovation from industry associations such as CASRO, ESOMAR, and the ARF. He was named one of the “Four under 40” market research leaders by the American Marketing Association in 2010. He tweets under the handle @tomhcanderson