Malta COVID-19 Sentiment Tracker

Malta COVID-19 Sentiment Tracker

Anchovy’s sister company, Onest, created a real-time dashboard dedicated to the COVID-19 situation in Malta & Global. We talked to Benjamin Zammit, who leads Onest, to understand more about the project. Check out the interview!


1) So, for us to start, can you tell me how did you have this idea? 

There is no doubt that the COVID-19 crisis will have a significant impact on the Maltese travel, leisure and hospitality sectors. At Onest, our intention is to use the tools of our trade to help our clients and industry stakeholders make sense of the current uncertainty. 

2) If you could explain the project in one paragraph, what would you say?

Onest’s Sentiment Tracker is just one example of a source of information that allows you to track the behaviors, fears and expectations of the population as the pandemic progresses. This weekly survey held amongst Maltese residents tracks the public’s reaction to health measures implemented, government financial incentives and media outlets. It also includes insights on the impact of the pandemic on the individual’s income as well as day-to-day activities. Such information can help one understand the implications of the crisis on a progressive scale as the crisis is evolving.

3) Regarding the tracker´s process,  how did you collect the data? And how this became (good) content?

The analysis is based off a survey conducted weekly among a random sample of people, stratified to be representative of the general population with a margin of error of +/- 5%. Data is accumulated in a columnar document and cleaned using a data visualization tool, in particular grouping certain responses in fixed pre-determined groups, as well as converting certain text choices to numeric value so that an effectiveness parameter could be calculated. An infographic is created by making use of several charts such as stacked bar charts, bar charts, line charts and gauges. Comparisons of the metrics with the previous week are important in order to recognize any trends that occur with respect to time.

4)  What were the main findings of the tracker?  

The tracker highlighted the high degree of tension in people during the peak period of the pandemic, as well as the big financial strain during this time by business owners and part-time employees. It also depicted several shopping patterns amongst the Maltese population, where a significant increase in online shopping was noted, as well as a large consumer shift from large supermarket shopping to smaller local grocery stores.

5) What do you think is the main strength of this project?

Reopening stores and services is not a guarantee that the economy will rebound instantaneously. Understanding the activity patterns of the population on a weekly basis gives a clearer picture of the intended spending, and which industries are affected the most. This data is available a few days after the survey is conducted, which makes it a powerful tool in the hands of business owners and stakeholders.

6) What about the future of the tracker- plans, goals, dreams? 

The tracker has the potential to be used in any industry to help indicate the implications of the pandemic as it is evolving. It is very helpful in the travel, leisure and hospitality sectors, as these are sectors that were completely halted as a result of the pandemic, and this kind of information can help these industries rebuild their business models whilst keeping in touch with what their consumers want and feel.