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How American Fear of Terrorism Gives Insights to Customer Sentiment Analysis

Google Trends Interest Index shows how American fear of terrorism can determine customer sentiment analysis and provide business insights for growth

Google Trends Sentiment on American Fear of Terror

Google Trends Sentiment on Fear and Terror

With the recent San Bernadino terrorist shooting which left 14 innocent people dead, there is growing interest in how “DIY jihad” has changed the game.  And what the USA can do to combat it.   This provides us all with an opportunity to look at a real-life, current case that we all can relate to and learn from.   More importantly, it may provide us insights on how to keep our nation safe in a manner that does not discriminate against others, while providing us with knowledge on how we can improve ourselves and our businesses.

An analysis of Google Trends Interest Index shows how American fear of terrorism can provide SMEs, entrepreneurs and multinational corporations with insights to understanding customer sentiment and responding in a way that can improve satisfaction and sales.  In this particular case we went to Google Trends and entered the following search terms: terror, gun control, Islam, fear and Muslim.  While we tried other terms like ISIL, ISIS, etc. Google had very little long term historical indexing on these terms and so the data simply was insufficient for our purposes.

The question we wanted to answer is what is the underling American sentiment on terrorism and what small set of keywords do Americans use when searching for information on this topic.  We found words like fear, gun control, Islam, Iraq, Syria, Islam that tended to trend with terror / terrorism searches.  For our flash drive business we do a similar monthly analysis of keyword searches to understand the sentiment of our customers and prospects.  This is a growing field called customer sentiment analysis.  We often see “OTG flash drive” (for mobile devices), “USB 3.0” and “16GB flash drive” and “32GB flash drive” trending upward.  Back to the terrorism sentiment in the USA.

Correlating Terrorism Search Terms for Insights on Sentiment Analysis

When we conducted correlation analysis we saw some interesting trends from 2004 to 2015:

  • First, we have seen the association between searches on “fear” and “gun control” rise over 500%, from 9% to 51%, from 2004 to today.  (To simplify, this means that in general 51% of  mobile device and Web searches on “fear” also include searches for “gun control.”)
  • Second, for good or ill, Americans have tended to increase their association of “terror” and “Islam” as this association has grown from 38% in the 2004-2005 time frame to 58% in the past year or two.

What Can We Learn?

  • First of all we can learn that we must be vigilant but not over-react.   We must no give up the values that uniquely identify us as Americans; doing so would be to give terrorist exactly what they want.
  • Next, we need to have an open and honest debate that may make some of us uncomfortable.  Americans always seem to get it right and figure things out faster and better than many others.  Of course there are exceptions but the diversity of our ideas, cultures, languages, religions, viewpoints all provide us with the type of insight and action unmatched around the world.
    • With the exception of Native Americans, we are all immigrants and the influx of immigrants throughout our history has fueled innovation growth and tolerance unrivaled in the world.  It has attracted the most interesting, creative and intelligent people in the world:
  • Finally, Customer Sentiment Analysis is a growing and important area of study.  We can use this sentiment analysis to make our nation safer, as a way to anticipate and improve custom needs and as a way better ourselves.  By looking and skills trends we can identify where we can grow our competencies and increase our annual salary by 30, 50 100%.  Examples abound:
    • The demand for data scientists, sentiment analysis, data analytics, R Studio (a big data analytics tool) has skyrocketed.
    • Salaries in these professions are often $120,000 – $300,000
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