A student at the University of Cambridge has produced a visual map of emoticons and the words they are associated with.
Commonly used on Twitter and Facebook, emoticons are generally regarded as just a bit of fun. However, the research could be a useful tool for companies looking to increase brand awareness and drive traffic to their websites.
Emoticons have been with us for many years now, but their use has really been taken to another level through the widespread use of mobile phones and social networking sites.
Most recognisable of all are the smiley faces, denoting whether a person is happy or sad. However, the research by Alex Davies, a PhD Engineering student shows that so extensive are they, it’s almost another language.
Because of the wide range there are nowadays, analysis of them could prove invaluable to businesses wishing to understand the moods of their customer base and to develop web strategies around them.
Davies has also produced further research which analysed the use of 7,500 words most often used to reference happiness and sadness. Used together, sentiment analysis could become the next big thing in online marketing.
The future of the concept could be taken a good deal further too.
Presently, Davies’ research focuses on global trends. However, it is not a huge step to drill into local and national trends.
Well delivered, such analysis could prove hugely beneficial to companies looking to increase their market share and respond to changing conditions with precisely targeted SEO in real time.