A good friend and neighbor just happens to be an applied mathematician interested in modeling a variety of physical, biological, and social phenomenon (he’s a super smart guy). Much of his work with numbers and data is way over my head but a recent study grabbed my attention. Chris Danforth and his students at the University of Vermont (UVM) have been measuring happiness in social media networks. A stated goal of their project is, “to develop novel methods for measuring how humans influence each other’s behavior and understand the collective dynamics governing the decision making process.”
Happy Days Sad Days Influence Days
For example, findings revealed that Election Day 2008 was a very happy day and the day Michael Jackson died measured very low on the happiness rating. We work heavily with social media at Marketing Partners, but the numbers we look at are very different. We try to gauge a client’s relevance with consumers, the marketplace and influencers in specific circles. And we all know the value it plays in “word of mouth” marketing.
Setting a Marketing Mood
As a marketer, what if we looked at the overall mood and emotion of social media users as a whole? There is extensive research on creating the mood for a potential customer/shopper. A recent New York Times article cites research done by Penn State that explains “upbeat music can over stimulate shoppers and prompt impulsive purchases while classical music incites more spending than Top 40 tunes played in wine stores and songs with “pro-social” lyrics result in higher tips for restaurant staff.” And we all know that the smell of freshly baked cookies usually sells a house!
The UVM research shows folks are happiest in the morning, then it dips during the day and spikes back up in the evening. The same trend is seen on weekends too – so it isn’t just work that gets people down during the day!
So, what if we knew the online mood, instead of trying to create it? Knowing when the audience would be most receptive to a message is an intriguing idea for a marketer. It would determine seasonality of messaging and creative itself. Why hit a consumer with a message when you know they are rating low on the happiness scale. Doesn’t it just fall on deaf ears?
As a mom and a consumer, I’ve always been uneasy with people knowing my every move online, but I think it would be wonderful if I didn’t see pop-up ads after struggling (and finally winning) the nap battle with my 4 year old!