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It’s official, one of the top 5 emotions expressed online about the game was boredom, not just for the game, but for the ads too. Only a SpongeBob meme saved the day… sort of.

This year’s Super Bowl sparked over 5.5 million social media posts, and by using a data science technique known as ‘conversational analysis’, we can see that ‘boredom’ was officially a top emotion felt by the viewers.

“73% of emotions were positive. The top emotions were: Success, Desire, Happiness, Boredom, Love. These conversations were held mostly (68%) by males.” — Mitchell Grunin @ Networked Insights /

When we dive into the data, boredom was the predominant sentiment felt in 495,000 social posts on Sunday, relating largely to the low-scoring game and the two teams that were playing. In previous years the game is only one factor in the Super Bowl experience though, with the half time show and the commercials playing a big role in the general mood. However, even though brands managed to trigger 470,000 posts of their own this year, the data shows the audience was let down on that one too.

This year, the commercials just didn’t have the same sort of impact that they usually do. Sure, each year there are winners and losers, and everyone has their own feelings about what was good and what was bad, but this year, well, it was much more of a damp squib feeling across the board.

In search of some positive news, Budweiser’s “Bud Knight” ad campaign came to a dramatic finish and brought in elements from the hit show “Game of Thrones”, triggering a decent response from the audience.

And Disney got a huge boost in publicity after the Patriots Victory, when Tom Brady and Julian Edelman proclaimed, “We’re going to Disney World!” (they were actually seen at Disney world today.)

But, it was a unique campaign run by Redditors and social media users that was shining light.

On November 28th, 2018, Stephen Hillenburg, creator of SpongeBob SquarePants, passed away. This prompted a petition to play “Sweet Victory” (a song played by the titular character during the ‘Bubble Bowl’) during the half-time show. This petition rapidly circulated across the internet and eventually got over 1.2 million signatures.

During Maroon 5’s half-time show, a scene from the SpongeBob episode came on screen — and the “Sweet Victory” song began to play — only for it to be cut off by the introduction of Travis Scott’s “Sicko Mode.”

It could be argued that the movement had its moment of success and that any nod to their request during the most expensive airtime ever was a success, but the data reveals that the internet was not happy.

“On Twitter alone, there were 380K posts (38% highly negative) calling out the NFL for teasing and ultimately deceiving its fans.” — Mitchell Grunin @ Networked Insights /




Good for Gillette. It doesn’t really matter if you love or hate the message, taking a stand and putting your brand equity on the line is a hard, risky decision, yet Gillette did it.

In recent examples, Nike of course just did very well from the same approach, as did Patagonia (“The President Stole Your Land”), AirBnB (#WeAccept) and Heineken (“World’s Apart”). Perhaps this is the time we will remember that brands really started standing for something?

But wow Gillette, this one really has people fired up! We did an analysis of the emotions and feelings being expressed online and came up with some interesting insights, built from what proved to be a 15,000% increase in conversations around their brand!

In the 90 days prior to the campaign, the top emotions were:

  • Love: 21%
  • Desire: 13%
  • Success: 13%
  • Excitement: 11%
  • Happiness: 10%

After the campaign:

  • Desire: 18%
  • Offense: 10%
  • Love: 7%
  • Anger: 7%
  • Fear: 6%

(If you’re not familiar with how we generate data, have a quick read of “Why We Must All Have a LOVE / HATE Relationship With Targeting Data:

I’m not particularly surprised by ‘offense’. Everyone takes offense about everything online right now, but such a spike in ‘fear’ is perhaps the best supporting evidence that Gillette was right to highlight this particular cause in the first place.



October was a massive month for video game sales with three of the biggest titles of 2018 dropped over the course of a few weeks. With Bethesda’s Fallout 76 launching in mid-November can we expect another weekend blockbuster and maybe even another record setting sales figure? Let’s see what the data says.


For context we should look back at 2018 to this point. Early in the year Ubisoft’s Far Cry 5 (released in March) was touted as having the biggest opening weekend of the year at around $310 million dollars in retail sales until another of Ubisoft’s hit series, Assassin’s Creed Odyssey, reported record breaking weekend sales in early October. Ubisoft hasn’t published sales figures for this title, so we will have to assume the dollar amount exceeds $310 million.


We don’t have to assume when we are talking about the next blockbuster game of October, Call of Duty: Black Ops 4. Activision reports that they pulled in over $500 million during its three-day launch weekend.


While that sounds like a ridiculous figure to beat, Rockstar Games did that just two weeks later with Red Dead Redemption 2. The smash hit of 2018 (so far) pulled in over $725 million during its launch weekend. That is a massive number and falls just behind Rockstar’s own Grand Theft Auto V ($800M) and Bethesda’s Fallout 4 ($750M) which earned their record numbers in their first 24 hours following launch.


In order for publishers to make that kind of money, video games must be crossing the line between cult fandom towards mainstream popularity, similarly to what we’ve seen with feature films. At Networked Insights, we have been using social conversation to predict box office success for years, but now we are turning to consumers to see what we can expect in the video game world.


If we look at the conversation volume of the three games above that launched in October, we see a total of over a million consumer conversations in the thirty days prior to their respective launches. The share of volume of those three looks like this:


Assassin’s Creed Odyssey: 19%

Call of Duty: Black Ops 4: 35%

Red Dead Redemption 2: 46%


When we took a look at their record weekend sales figures and calculate a similar share of volume, we see the following:


Assassin’s Creed Odyssey: 21%

Call of Duty: Black Ops 4: 32%

Red Dead Redemption 2: 47%


The similarity in their ratios can be very telling and is comparable to what we’ve learned from the world of film. Consumer conversation prior to launch can be a useful indicator of potential sales success and an excellent way to benchmark the progress of a campaign.


Now let’s look at what we can expect with Fallout 76 launching on November 14th. In the 30 days leading up to its launch this particular title has 63% more conversation volume than Red Dead Redemption 2.

63% more than $725 million would certainly be a record-breaking figure. Now, we can’t be sure that these figures will translate to a billion-plus dollar weekend but it’s a strong indicator of consumer interest and consumer interest often equals consumer dollars.


Fallout does have to contend with a Wednesday release date compared to the above titles which launched on a Friday, but it is interesting to note that the $750 million dollar 24-hour launch of Fallout 4 happened on a Tuesday.


As video games start to surpass all other entertainment titles as the most valuable of all time, it will be interesting to see if consumer interest has more room to grow.





Love, happiness, and desire might feel like natural emotions to associate with candy, but what about ‘success’, ‘remorse’, ‘amusement’ and ‘relief’? Using powerful AI to interpret what we say online, Networked Insights has spent the last decade perfecting its picture of how language translates to emotions, and how those strong emotions translate to actions, in this case, candy consumption!

By factoring in the volume and intensity of 38 emotions, we ranked how the nation really feels, state by state. And, well, as we might expect, emotions always reveal some very real curveballs!

Illinois is the most representative of the nation’s overall feelings ranking Snickers in the top spot, followed by Skittles and then Sour Patch Kids.

But Utah gets the warm and fuzzies for Ghirardelli, Minnesota just can’t show enough how much it loves Sweet Tarts, Montana is all about the Grandparent’s favorite, Werther’s Original, and Arkansas must be watching its figure with its passion for…. 5 Gum!

What does your state love? Check our complete ranking….

Alabama — 
(1st) Reese’s (2nd) Twix (3rd) Kit Kat

Alaska — (1st) Snickers (2nd) Sour Patch Kids (3rd) Twix

Arizona — (1st) Skittles (2nd) Sour Patch Kids (3rd) Big Red

Arkansas — (1st) Twizzlers (2nd) Skittles (3rd) 5 Gum

California — (1st) Air Heads (2nd) Twizzlers (3rd) Sour Patch Kids

Colorado — (1st) Skittles (2nd) Snickers (3rd) Twix

Connecticut — (1st) Almond Joy (2nd) Twizzlers (3rd) Smarties

Delaware — (1st) Reese’s (2nd) Twizzlers (3rd) Snickers

Florida — (1st) Twix (2nd) Skittles (3rd) Jolly Rancher

Georgia —(1st) Skittles (2nd) Twix (3rd) Twizzlers

Hawaii — (1st) Kit Kat (2nd) Sour Patch Kids (3rd) Big Red

Idaho — (1st) Butterfinger (2nd) Hershey’s (3rd) Red Vines

Illinois — (1st) Snickers (2nd) Skittles (3rd) Sour Patch Kids

Indiana — (1st) Reese’s (2nd) Hershey’s (3rd) Twix

Iowa — (1st) Baby Ruth (2nd) Kit Kat (3rd) Snickers

Kansas —(1st) Jolly Rancher (2nd) Sour Patch Kids (3rd) Skittles

Kentucky — (1st) Swedish Fish (2nd) Skittles (3rd) Sour Patch Kids

Louisiana — (1st) Airheads (2nd) Skittles (3rd) Smarties

Maine — (1st) Red Vines (2nd) Starburst (3rd) Twizzlers

Maryland — (1st) Reese’s (2nd) Swedish Fish (3rd) Skittles

Massachusetts — (1st) Hershey’s (2nd) Reese’s (3rd) Snickers

Michigan — (1st) Starburst (2nd) Skittles (3rd) Twizzlers

Minnesota —(1st) Tarts (2nd) Tootsie Pops (3rd) Starburst

Mississippi — (1st) Snickers (2nd) Skittles (3rd) Starburst

Missouri — (1st ) Hershey’s (2nd) Twix (3rd) Reese’s

Montana —(1st ) Kit Kat (2nd) Werther’s Original (3rd) Jolly Rancher

Nebraska — (1st) Hershey’s (2nd) Reese’s (3rd) Snickers

Nevada — (1st) Skittles (2nd) Jolly Ranchers (3rd) Smarties

New Hampshire — (1st) Butterfinger (2nd) Snickers (3rd) Milky Way

New Jersey — (1st) Snickers (2nd) Hershey’s (3rd) Reese’s

New Mexico — (1st) Snickers (2nd) Twix (3rd) Kit Kat

New York — (1st) Sour Patch Kids (2nd) Snickers (3rd) Skittles

North Carolina — (1st) M&Ms (2nd) Snickers (3rd) Reese’s

North Dakota — (1st) Skittles (2nd) Starburst (3rd) M&Ms

Ohio — (1st) Airheads (2nd) Skittles (3rd) Smarties

Oklahoma — (1st) Skittles (2nd) Twix (3rd) Kit Kat

Oregon — (1st) M&Ms (2nd) Reese’s (3rd) Snickers

Pennsylvania — (1st) Twizzlers (2nd) Kit Kat (3rd) Jolly Rancher

Rhode Island — (1st) Butterfinger (2nd) Hershey’s (3rd) Twix

South Carolina — (1st) Kit Kat (2nd) Hershey’s (3rd) M&Ms

South Dakota — (1st) Tootsie Pops (2nd) Andes (3rd) Snickers

Tennessee — (1st) Twix (2nd) Snickers (3rd) Reese’s

Texas —(1st) Sour Patch Kids (2nd) Skittles (3rd) Jolly Rancher

Utah — (1st) Skittles (2nd) Snickers (3rd) Ghirardelli

Vermont — (1st) Starburst (2nd) Skittles (3rd) Jolly Rancher

Virginia — (1st) Reese’s (2nd) Hershey’s (3rd) Kit Kat

Washington — (1st) Sour Patch Kids (2nd) Skittles (3rd) Snickers

West Virginia — (1st) Snickers (2nd) Sour Patch Kids (3rd) Smarties

Wisconsin — (1st) Snickers (2nd) Reese’s (3rd) Skittles

Wyoming — (1st) Kit Kat (2nd) Jolly Ranchers (3rd) Reese’s

Learn more about using emotions to help your brand conduct audience research or find new segments of audiences for targeting: Why We All Need A “LOVE / HATE” Relationship With Targeting Data)



Strong emotions lead to strong actions, making emotional analysis an intriguing capability in digital marketing.

In the run-up to the 2016 Presidential election, like most good data companies, Networked Insights wanted to make a prediction on the outcome to demonstrate their capability. And just like other tech companies (and the pollsters as it turned out!), they were getting readings that jumped back and forth by the hour. It was too close to call and the data was very inconsistent.

Networked Insights specific capability in this area is conversational data analysis. Simply put, that means they look at what is said online from which they can determine the intent, emotions, and sentiments behind those statements. When you have an election that is particularly useful because what someone writes is akin to an unprompted confession — unlike the pollsters who have to ask the question ‘who are you voting for’, Networked Insights learns it without asking, therefore getting a more honest insight.

Still, though, 6 weeks to go, the data would not reveal who the ultimate winner was going to be — until the data science team hit on a fascinating idea — to look at negative emotions, not positive. Whilst the LIKEABILITY and LOVE to both Clinton and Trump were too similar to make accurate predictions from, the strength of DISLIKE and HATE was polarizing, and 6 weeks out from election day, they were later proven to have accurately called 49 out of 50 states.

For marketers, strong emotions as a signal of intent might just be the next big thing, and for us marketers, the good news is that there is a crazy amount of emotion projected online, and therefore scaleable data for most targeting criteria.

It’s surprising to me that in 2018 brands and agencies are still forced to work with targeting data that has no real science behind it — ‘auto intender’ segments are often based on one visit to a car auction site, or ‘home buyers’ from being tagged on a property site, even if they are just looking at the value of their own home.

With emotions, we have a much more immediate message.

 signals that competing Cable companies and streaming services should be engaging that individual.

 should get realtors, furnishing stores and mortgage advisors frothing at the mouth.

So far Networked Insights (under the umbrella of has been able to match emotions to a wide range of intents. Once a need is identified the data science team will produce customized segments, and upload them to the DMP or DSP of your choice for easy activation.

Every one of you reading this that runs digital marketing programs has a data need that has gone unmet. Try them. The team is very consultative and available on



Whether they want to or not, some of the world’s biggest brands have recently stumbled into politically charged social conversations.

Our research report takes a look at the data behind the brand boycott hype, using millions of online conversations, classified 25,000 ways across 50 different emotions to gather an accurate, holistic view of the issue.


$347 billion was wasted in 2016 on marketing that didn’t work. How is that possible? For starters, 65% of content created by brands never reaches its intended target.

Why? We’re so busy telling consumers that they should be interested in our brands that we’re not paying enough attention to who they are and what they already naturally care about.

Customers are complex, and in order to succeed, brands need to better understand them as people – embracing analytics to better understand their affinities, emotions, and what drives their behavior, so that they can create more relevant and effective content.

Download our Guide to Audience Building to find out more.

Learn research found that people going through pivotal life events like graduation, marriage or starting families are more likely to have similar interests and affinities than those in similar demographic targeting groups based on age, gender or income.

For the study, examined millions of conversations through the lens of five significant life stages to understand how audience interests, conversations and brand preference differ from life stage to life stage.

Check out what we discovered, like how recent graduates differ from retirees in the media they consume or how new parents differ from affluent professionals in the brands they love or why millennials and retirees may have more in common than expected.