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April Fool’s Day is a one of those holidays people love or hate – or love to hate. We took a look at some of this year’s pranks – as compiled by the Washington Post – to illustrate the importance of sentiment analysis when boarding the trend train.

An Early Start – Good or Bad?

Because April Fool’s Day fell on Easter this year, some brands thought it wise to celebrate early – in case engagement wasn’t as high on the day.

Searching on “April Fools,” “April Fool’s Day” and “#AprilFools” in NetBase Pro, we see the conversation around April Fool’s Day doesn’t really pick up until about Thursday March 29. The bulk of the chatter happens on April 1st, of course.

Sentiment on Tuesday the 27th is positive – if not high – and by Sunday, it’s hugely negative.

But do people really hate April Fool’s Day that much? Not necessarily. They certainly hate it when inappropriate jokes are made at the expense of others.

In the days leading up to April 1st. fertility support groups were sharing reminders that pregnancy is not something to callously joke about, urging social users to think twice before posting a false pregnancy.

In other cases, sarcasm may skew results – as in the case of “not love” topping our list of negative emotion terms. When we click for a sound bite preview, we see the tweet driving this term’s popularity.

With 92K retweets and 226K likes, a simple tweet about not liking wine can change the landscape – but this is actually a positive, humorous tweet.  And a good reminder to always explore what’s behind your sentiment versus accepting it at face value.

April Fool’s Winners and Losers

Speaking of accepting things at face value… The Washington Post may find the number of April Fool’s posts infuriating, but if your audience likes your posts, that’s all that matters. So who came out on top?

Not Netflix. Their post about “acquiring the personal autonomy of Seth Rogan” did put Rogan at the top of the people mentioned in connection with their brand – but 66 positive posts is hardly a victory.

Rent the Runway didn’t fare much better with their faux pet line. Their second-most-engaged post – #1 in relation to April Fool’s Day – had 77 likes as of March 31, though those have increased in the days since April Fools. Still, you have to assume they had bigger goals.

How about some good news? Partnerships are often a smart choice for brands – and for April Fool’s Day both Warby Parker and Arby’s did well with their “WArby’s” crossover, featuring the Onion Ring Monacle. You can see a lot of the social conversation around “WArby’s” as a search term focuses on these two brands and their prank.

The WArby’s name generated nearly 42M impressions.

Still, brands could take a page from parents’ books, as it was many of their (kinda mean) pranks on their kids that got a lot of traction.

Hm… Looking to your audience for inspiration – where have we heard that before?

Trends Should Be Worthwhile

At the end of April Fool’s Day, you want to do more than live to tell the tale. This year it seems brands avoided such debacles as Google’s “mic drop” incident of 2016.

Still, there weren’t many standouts as far as brand mentions go. Looking at the Top Hashtags, we see #hello_we_are_beardtan got a lot of attention as fans of the kpop band BTS attempted to get the hashtag trending for April Fool’s.

Beyond that, only #JimmyKimmel, #Disneyland, and #NBA stand out as small brand shout-outs.

Fans thanked Kimmel for hilarious prank ideas, while Disneyland Tomorrow simply wished their fans a Happy Easter and Happy April Fool’s Day. The top post with the NBA hashtag was about fantasy team picks.

So no brands really broke through the social noise, but that doesn’t automatically mean they weren’t successful. Success can only be defined by you, as a brand. Disney’s kale churro video didn’t go viral, but it did quite well.

Only they know if 19K reactions on Facebook, and nearly 9K shares qualifies as missing or exceeding the mark. But certainly a lot of brands would love those numbers on any day.

Hitting them is simply a matter of applying sentiment analysis year-round, so you know what gets your audience going and can always deliver the perfect content.

Maybe your fans are more interested in joining you in making fun of brands who try too hard on April Fool’s Day. Or maybe they love a really hilarious prank. The key is not to assume – just listen to what they tell you every day. Then you’ll never be the fool.

To see our sentiment analysis tools in action, give us a shout!

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