Google looks like Apple did this time last year, a fast rising stock as we head towards the summer months. It was a gift through the summer vacation period and finally peaked in early fall. Will that pattern repeat itself?
Google‘s stock has risen largely on the back of a fascinating slew of product “launches” – in effect not always launches but promises like the driverless car – that have significantly boosted the company’s reputation for innovation.
They have benefited also from a change in attitudes on Wall St where radical innovation has rarely found favor in the past. That means they have the broad support of the press and the support of the financial community.
There are some strong social signals to suggest, however, that Google‘s broad base of support has already turned. These social signals are drawn from blog posts, analyst reports and news reports. They are the online social information that we all absorb each day.
Normally those social signals are expressed as negative or positive sentiment. And it is worth remembering that sentiment analysis began as a feeder into automated selling programs, so it matters. The problem is we don’t know how much it matters.
We are in observation mode. That’s certainly where I am with it. I look at social sentiment charts most days and observe that the high profile stocks show some patterning. The next step would be to build a hypothesis around these movements and then analyze them in detail. I am open to doing that if any reader happens to be a whiz with data.
In the absence of that let me share three observations with you, noting as we do that these three emotions around Google have played out around Apple also.
The first chart (above) shows how OPTIMISM around Google peaked well before the current upward run of the stock. Optimism peaked on February 8th, which might sound surprising. In February the web was alive with excitement around the Project Glass project, and with the arrival of Fiber in Kansas.
At that time the price was $786 (the data is again provided by MarketPsychData, whose MD Richard Peterson is a psychiatrist and developed his emotional indicators based on his work in emotional investing).
Apart from Glass and Fiber, this was the period when news broke of an action by 100 customers against Google for privacy violations.
The second chart shows TRUST. TRUST in Google plateaued around February 24th and then began to decline from March 29th onwards.
In addition, a year old post from an ex-Google staffer, James Whittaker, got a new lease of life. It condemns Google‘s corporate culture. And the reason for that? It came in the same week that Google announced it would kill Reader. This was all storing up through March.
Those spats seem to have done enough to counter the broad range of opinion building up behind the stock price rise.
Finally, the third chart shows emotional responses to Google and INNOVATION. It too began a decline after March 31st. The evidence here is a little more ambiguous though. On a 90 day smoothing the reputation peaks rather than declines. What you see below is a ten day smoothing of the data.
I said in an earlier post I felt optimism around Google is overdone In its last earnings announcement it was clear that the price of mobile ads is still falling, just not falling as fast as last quarter. However, the not-so-fast-falling line of thinking seems to be part of the stock price propulsion.
Meantime emotions outside of Wall St have taken a downward turn because, on balance, people are concerned about privacy and are cautious about the innovation-hype.One interpretation of that would be that the stock price does not have broad support and is due a fall back sometime soon.
English: Google Nexus S – Samsung Android Phone (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Google has innovation coming out of every pore right now. On top of driverless cars, Google Glass and Fiber, it is investigating closely how it might make use of innovative OLED displays. OLED is the technology in the Samsung Galaxy range of smartphones – Nokia also make use of it as does Motorola, among others.
The Samsung Galaxy S4, however, took the technology on a stage by incorporating a new phosphorescent green that substantially improved the display’s performance.
It made Samsung phones competitive on performance with the iPhone Retina. But displays are already moving on, and as Google readies its Google X for market, the first Motorola Mobility phone co-developed with Google, the display has to have a surprise in store, or it may fall flat. Google has to keep up.
Motorola and Google have promised next generation smartphones.
Google‘s CEO Larry Page was in South Korea two weeks ago where he spent part of this trip as a guest of Samsung Electronics. He also visited the OLED production lines as well as lunching with senior strategists, according to Korea Times.
The immediate reaction to the trip focused on a possible Google OLED TV. However, Samsung’s OLED TVs look set to cost around $18,000 a price tag that would do nothing for Google unless it wanted to follow up its high end Chromebooks with Apple-challenging home products.
It’s now expected that Samsung will launch the display commercially with the Note 3 in Q4 of this year. There are still doubts around how easily Samsung can ramp up production for the Youm but the race is on for significant display innovations in 2013. Plastic, flexible and unbreakable is it.
It looks as though America’s tech giants are beginning to wake up to the significant developments in display technology, with Amazon yesterday announcing the purchase of Liquavista (a Dutch display company).
Apple now faces tough decisions on where it takes its display technology, having virtually ruled out OLED for the iPhone, though Apple has been hiring OLED specialists. Apple has been patenting AMOLED displays and Google has been patenting OLED technology, including touchscreen and battery saving inventions.
If the first Google-Motorola phones does not carry some kind of display innovation this year, Google‘s Motorola partnership is going to look very slow. It will be hard to reconcile Google‘s current pace of innovation with their involvement in a smartphone that doesn’t contain some hardware surprises. If it’s not flexible, plastic and unbreakable, it’s history.
Amazon.com today bought its own display technology company, Liquavista. Interesting, in light of what I said earlier about Apple and Microsoft needing to move deeper into display technology and display IP. Interesting too that Amazon purchased from Samsung.
The story was shrouded in some mystery earlier today but finally broke when the blog Digital Reader tracked down the Amazon subsidiary that made the purchase.
Why do you think Samsung, which is deeply into building display IP, would sell?
The truth is that Samsung is heavily invested in OLED technologies and LCD is a secondary concern. It clearly sees the future with the former. It bought Liquavista in 2011 and the company has yet to launch into mass production, despite being 7 years old. Samsung has had a good long look at Liquavista.
But read this story also in the context of another rumor – Microsoft buying Nook. Americas tech giants need to move deeper into display IP. Liquavista is currently adapted to eReaders but believes it has potential across all formats.
Liquavista has discovered that eReaders are a distinct market and not a cut-price route to tablets. It needed a specialist partner:
What has become painfully apparent is that all non-reading features actually don’t make a big difference. Looks like the ereader is indeed a fit for purpose device which means that in order to differentiate further, more relevant feature improvements for reading (and all activities that support that) should be considered.
In addition to that, the shrinking margins on the current generation of readers, require companies to either introduce higher priced products to strengthen their margins or enable the devices to deliver a broader range of content to their users.
Samsung is not one to turn away from an IP ownership opportunity and would love to buy into better LCD. Liquavista was clearly not it, though Liquivista was, and still is, hopeful:
Liquavista’s display cell concepts allow radically brighter and more efficient flat panel displays to be built – but use today’s established manufacturing infrastructure and processes to achieve it.
Here’s one interesting take on the acquisition from a Digital Reader comment.
Samsung is pretty big in LCD and their tech is pretty good so maybe they don’t see Liquavista ramping up to commercial viability as an LCD replacement/competitor. This was always doubtful: the odds of any tech replacing LCD any time soon is pretty low.
If Samsung believed that Liquavista posed a threat to its own OLED technologies, in a revamp of LCD, it would not have sold. In fact, though, the rumor is that Samsung is now looking to invest more deeply into OLED with the possible purchase of German OLED company Novaled.
Maybe this prepares the way for greater focus in Samsung’s patent portfolio. Amazon on the other hand has bought into display technology and into an experienced research team that originated in Philips, has patents and would benefit from a ready market.
It’s a wise move. Much of our social, domestic and work activity is now mediated by a device. But a device is an object that needs to be manufactured. In the high tech future IP resides as much in the object as it does in the software.
I was struck by the importance of the device when reading, recently, of Disney‘s new wrist band, a data-collection device that personalizes theme park experiences. Kids can’t do rides without a device!
And more device-centricity will rain down on us as the internet of things infiltrates the kitchen, the car and eventually our clothes. But American companies are disadvantages here because they don’t make things. Let’s go deeper with Microsoft.
Microsoft is well positioned with the XBox to take over the living room but in the world of smartphones and tablets it looks a lot like the old Microsoft.
Well, maybe that’s not entirely fair but the recent announcement of a low cost tablet got me thinking that the company is in fast follow mode (and sometimes not so fast) – as did rumors of a smart watch and a heads up display.
These are great sounding projects full of potential, and some of that potential is in the IP – or the innovation element. The reality for Microsoft, though, but also for Google and Apple too, is that none of them are really in control of innovation across their devices or platforms.
The innovation in devices lies increasingly in Asia. Not just devices. The whole physical infrastructure is becoming more Asian – this morning Samsung announced a breakthrough in 5G telecoms. The majority of the world is yet to adopt 4G.
Though the spotlight has been on how good American companies are, Microsoft in particular, at exploiting IP, American companies in future will struggle to maintain the lead in IP they have now. And the reason is simple – they don’t drive hardware innovation.
If Apple, for example, wants a better display it depends on LG doing the work or possibly Sharp springing a surprise, or even of turning to Samsung or hoping Samsung does not romp it an unhealthy lead with its OLED production. lines.
Nonetheless Apple has been busy trying to claim IP in AMOLED applications, even though it has no discernible ownership of AMOLED technology. That looks like a fragile IP strategy, especially if it has to be defended in, say, a Chinese court in five years time when China is far and away Apple‘s most important market.
In Microsoft‘s case the IP windfall looks like coming from a small royalty payment per Android phone that could total over $ 8 billion by 2017.
However, Samsung, for one, is moving away from Android and now has a track record of establishing fields of IP that it can dominate, such as OLED.
US companies clearly have strong patent portfolios but those of other countries are growing. Samsung has something in the region of 2800 patents around its OLED display technology.
Any company looking at a device-centric future needs to be aware of exactly where the IP of the future lies. Chinese and Korean companies have become increasingly sophisticated in seeking IP protection. But they have also been given a free ride at inventing the hardware future. And that is a result of American companies wiping their hands of manufacturing.
None of this would matter if it were not for the fact that the big American tech companies: Apple, Microsoft, Google and Amazon are all now device companies, and will become increasingly device-centric.
Unfortunately they have little grip on what it takes to be manufacturing companies at the leading edge of device components.
In the days when America was busy jettisoning manufacturing, the business of production was not a hive of innovation. Today it is, very much so and the reason is that Asian companies see a way of establishing themselves ahead of American competition through the breadth and pace of innovation they can generate in devices and infrastructure.
Samsung’s Galaxy S4 is unveiled on March 14, 2013 at Radio City Music Hall in New York. (Image credit: AFP/Getty Images via @daylife)
As Philip Elmer-DeWitt recently pointed out on Fortune.com, Samsung has form when it comes to using questionable social media tactics. Did it happen with the launch of the Galaxy S4? Was there any faking or spamming?
Remember Samsung was criticized for paying students in Taiwan to post bad reviews of HTC phones. The biggest public slap on the wrist in that case went to Samsung’s social media agency not Samsung itself.
Nonetheless, Samsung needs to guard itself against any accusations that it is not playing fair and square. Trust in the Korean brand is growing and that will contribute to their ability to transition to a more customer-centric strategy. That’s what the company needs – more real love.
And it seems that Samsung may have a fair few fake or spam accounts associated with the marketing of the S4. That’s not to say Samsung itself is responsible for faking accounts or spamming tweets but fake and spam accounts are almost certainly a part of the S4 launch picture.
I recently worked with Twitter data specialists, Peek Analytics, to review Samsung’s S4 marketing tactics. When we looked at some of the pro-S4 tweets over its launch weekend (April 24 – 29) we found a number of accounts that had gone Samsung crazy, tweeting out pro-Samsung messages all day long.
Over the past week we’ve been trying to analyze that further.
When Peek Analytics ran their analysis of the S4 Twitter trends, it could only put a real presence to 60% of the accounts tweeting around the S4. In statistical terms that means 93,232 accounts were identified as real people, out of a total of just over 155,000 accounts. The 60% real, identified accounts that Peek Analytics found does not mean that 40% were fake.
Apple, by the way, registered only 40% identifiable accounts in the same research, so more on that tomorrow.
The disparity can partly be explained, for example, by people using unique handles for Twitter, which they don’t use in any other social media forum – that makes it difficult for the software to associate them with other social media activity. They therefore appear anonymous, even though they may just have an imaginative way to name themselves.
But, even accounting for legitimate anonymity, there are accounts that pump out Samsung messaging all day long. Some are using “legitimate” social media tactics. In Indonesia, for example, Samsung seems to have held a competition to win a free S4 and one of the conditions was to tweet the phone. That led to some people tweeting S4 excessively. But that was over the weekend following the one we studied.
Fake and spam Twitter accounts are nothing new. Take a look here for the story of one journalist who created, and wrote about, a huge Twitter following by buying up accounts. There is a big market in such accounts.
Over the period of the S4 launch, we also found 564 Twitter accounts that tweeted about the S4 more than 25 times. We set 25 as a barrier beyond which people were not just eager but were possibly getting paid to tweet. To tweet about your phone 5 times a day is enthusiastic but five times every day begins to look odd. Many of those 500+ accounts tweeted all day long.
Take the account @novvv__ for example. It simply pumps out Samsung product tweets and very little else, at least it did until 6th May when it abruptly stopped. Over the launch period it tweeted the S4 over 500 times. The account @sekarvidya was also a big tweeter of the S4, tweeting over 450 times.
Creating pro-Samsung twitter spam has no obvious advantages to Samsung, other than boosting the outputs that the marketing department or social media agency might want to show to management. Perhaps an additional benefit is a large flow of references to the product that somehow become ingested into the online flow of information.
It can certainly make a marketing campaign look more successful than it is, but only in the superficial sense that the product has attracted strong twitter support.
One social media analyst I spoke to said that the reason it happens is often because agencies are judged by their outputs rather than their outcomes – i.e. how many tweets they score rather than what they contribute to sales. It makes Twitter look a more manipulable medium than most, which should be a concern to Twitter itself. And also to Samsung. Trust in Samsung is growing. It needs to protect and nurture that.
Google Glass needs applications that create engaging new experiences, not just old experiences transposed to our eyeline. Dekko is a team of augmented reality specialists who believe their combined expertise has created just the right app for that.
And they believe it will help to make Google Glass a success, in the short-term.
What they have produced (see video) is more than an app and just less than an operating system. They refer to it as an operating system for the real world. It’s not about email or productivity. If you go along with their enthusiasm, it represents a new era in gaming built primarily around you and your world.
With Dekko loaded your Android or iPhone or tablet you can bring the inanimate virtual world into the real world around you. That might mean, as you see in the video, blending your living room table with a small team of cartoon characters.
The idea is that you can, for example, use your living room table as a games display and a games arena with real and virtual combined, viewed through your tablet, smartphone or wearable device.
The same process allows you to capture 3D renders of other views, like streets and buildings (though currently the rendering capability is limited to 10 square feet). That means you can capture street level info in 3D and you can mix information such as ads, navigation or points of interest, with your 3D street view. Dekko also envision mixing in social network data. To begin to understand it you really need to check out the video.
Dekko has brought together leading experts in augmented reality to crack the code on a real world operating system.
CEO Matt Miesnieks is formerly Head of Customer Development at Layar, the Dutch augmented reality market leader. He envisions Dekko becoming an operating system for the wearable computing era and that means Google Glass.
Dekko can render the physical world in real time, into a phone or tablet display. More interesting still, it is designed to render into Glass and other computer eyewear.
The company just raised $3.2 million in development funds from Bessemer Ventures and others, and is talking to many of the major gaming and animation studios about applications.
If you think Glass has privacy issues already then of course rendering the world around you in 3D introduces them in a magnified form. Set that aside while you think of the positives. Dekko sits at the watershed where augmented reality becomes less of a simple layering of different forms of data and more of an actual experience that you can control, and allow to unfold.
If I understand it properly, you could conceive, for example, of setting up your own Mario racetrack on your table, for an animated character to race around. That means a whole lot more participation by the user, who gradually becomes a part of the game design process. But what applies to gaming also applies to travel and social apps. Take a look.
How do you make sense of the Apple vs Samsung patent case? Now that Google is in the spotlight over discovery you might say it’s really about Apple vs Android. But maybe not. The case, in fact, holds big lessons on how business and innovation in general are evolving. What are they?
One of the changes Steve Jobs brought to Apple, and to the world of business, according to former patent lawyer and CEO of patent advisory firm Article One Partners, Cheryl Milone, was to strategize the company’s future around the design patent.
“Steve Jobs decided to use design patents much more than before,” says Cheryl, commenting, in passing, on the elegance of Apple‘s design patents – almost as elegant as their products. “Jobs was very prescient about this,” she adds, referring to how significant design has become.
Cheryl’s company, Article One, is heavily inv0lved in helping companies establish transparency around patenting disputes – she uses crowdsourcing to research issues like prior art. So she’s full time on the fundamental issues that lead to conflict.
Design, she points out, now moves markets in major ways. In fact, design moves markets in ways that inventions used to. And in the case of the iPhone design transformed the market.
That is why design needs to be treated in the same way as an invention, according to her and indeed, to varying degrees, members of the American judiciary.
Seen this way, Apple‘s persistence with the case against Samsung is not at all about an old “thermonuclear” dispute with Google over Android. It’s all about the power of usability vs the power of manufacture, the power of businesses that have migrated to the service economy, vs those that make their money by differentiating product at a more fundamental level. In a sense it is about the future of the American economy vs the upcoming Asian economy.
The dispute then is about how American tech has re-framed the economy around what it does rather than what it outsources
Here is Cheryl again:
“The outcome of this trial will govern the development of an industry where consumer marketing is the key driver, whether it’s breakthrough designs or consumer usability such as easy texting or photo sharing. If Apple succeeds in keeping Samsung at bay, industry designs will diverge and strengthen Apple’s market advantage. Even with the case trending to support design patent infringement by Samsung, success requires proof on damages as well. If Apple’s damages case falls short, designs will become more uniform in the smartphone market.
There’s little doubt that Cheryl is right about that. But think about the deep background to this – changes in how enterprises create wealth.
In countries like America, many companies have been on a classic production-to-service company journey, from making things to designing services.
We furnish that journey with significant myths about our own potency. We are better at design, and we are faster to the creative economy. Hence, what we want to do is protect those advantages – like design and looking good.
Behind all this though we are bifurcating into a world where software and design patents rule, in one culture, and old fashioned manufacturing invention rules in another. For Apple vs Samsung you could read America vs Asia.
A good example is Apple‘s recent patents that specify AMOLED technologies, particularly in flexible displays. Apple is not an inventor of AMOLED – in fact the invention patents are spread out among a number of companies, including Samsung, a company that has been investing in AMOLED and AMOLED production design for 11 years.
Take a look at this from their perspective and they are being asked to believe that their creative investments, and the billions it takes to set up to produce OLED and AMOLED are worth a whole lot less than those of a western company that provides the user access point – the design and UX.
Doesn’t that sound, potentially, like we are out to protect what we now do, and denigrating manufacturing in the process?
I ask that because it is a question that troubles me. As American companies come to rely on Asian markets like China and India for their growth, are we storing up a problem for, say, five years down the road, when the Chinese have a more sophisticated patent system and a Samsung or similar company decides its purpose is better served by keeping an Apple or a Google out, through patent conflicts around what goes into a phone rather than what it looks like?
The long and short of it is that the bifurcation of capability between design and manufacture is a false one. The next generation of design is going to build on the flexibility and ingenuity of new display formats.
While Cheryl rightly points out that one answer to this conflict, the Apple vs Samsung one, is to create more transparency around patents, another answer is that American companies would be better served by making more – good old fashioned manufacture – rather than leave the maker patent field to competitors because relying on the genius of people like Steve Jobs is higher risk than we imagine.
Sergey Brin, co-founder of Google appear at the keynote with the Google Glass AFP/Getty Images via @daylife)
There’s a fascinating analysis over on Gwern.net that puts Google Glass on about a 37% chance of closing down before it goes over the five years mark. That analysis is drawn out of a bigger study of how long products survive in the Google stable.
Behind that finding is an important question – does the future of the American corporation lie in becoming a conglomerate? Think Microsoft and its software, services, telephony, Cloud, XBox, tablets…. and what next? Deciding on what businesses to be in, in which markets, just became a luxury for American’s largest tech companies. Getting it right though is a necessity.
In the current investment climate companies like Microsoft, Google and Amazon are on their way to becoming conglomerates. That’s a new departure and it means new skills.
The Gwern study shows that 2011 and 2012 were the years of the shutdown at Google. That might mean the company is becoming more focused. now has sufficient focus to carry important projects for longer. But historically Google has never shirked from closing projects that aren’t working out – even if it inconveniences customers or developers. If you are in for the ride with Google you have to be aware of that.
And the tendency to close projects has not stopped developers jumping in on Glass, nor dampened enthusiasm for its fiber project.
However, there are some doubts. And when you get down to it, they focus around how broad a US company should spread itself compared to how focused it needs to be. That question goes to the heart of what major American companies are doing.
Over the past six months Apple has been widely criticized for now expanding its range of products beyond the high end iPhone and iPad (not forgetting its Mac line of course). Fans of the Apple strategy point out that by staying focused on a narrow range of products, at the high end of the market, has allowed Apple to drive profits to heights no other company has enjoyed.
Apple is unquestionably the best advert out there for focus. Yet, Microsoft, Amazon, and Google are on their way to becoming sprawling conglomerates of a type we haven’t seen emerge in the past thirty years. Apart from Microsoft‘s spread, Amazon is a book publisher, as well as retailer, Cloud services company, device maker/seller, Crowd computing vendor and more.
The current Google stable has a wide range of businesses – phones, laptops, tablets, search, ads, cars, cable, wearable computing.
But it is an up-time for the stock price. Glass, Fiber and Driverless cars are drawing huge amounts of press coverage and suddenly Wall St prefers a risk taker. The evidence of business in the past suggests it is unsustainable, the evidence from Google suggests they don’t expect projects will last either.
Right now Google‘s reputation for innovation is at an all time high. That’s ironic, given that Google has not launched two of the products that are feeding that rep – Glass or driverless cars. But clearly the pre-launches have generated buzz.
A year or so back I wrote about Google losing some of its innovation mojo. Reputation-wise it just seemed to be less associated with the excitement of doing new things. And its stock price suffered as a result. But that’s normal – you can’t be innovating publicly everyday. But how safe is the publicity that Google is enjoying and how durable will its impact be?
There seems to be a cautious mood out there right now, as well as some hype – a story in this morning’s Wall St Journal suggests app developers are divided over whether this product can make it.
In the background there is also a very interesting analysis from Gwern Branwen that gives Google Glass only a 37% chance of making it beyond five years. Branwen points out that Google is a serial business killer.
So, many positives about Google projects and one or two negatives creeping in.
In fact on some counts the tide has already begun to move against Google. That tide is to be found in online media of all kinds. In online media, more people are beginning to express some form of concern over what is happening at the Googleplex. That’s not exactly a judgment against them…. or maybe it is. I’ve tried to show this in the charts below.
There will be critics who say this is just people who do not understand innovation. Google is great because it takes big risks. Yes, it does. And one of the things it also does well is switching out of projects that don’t show enough promise. So Glass could easily go the way of Reader.
There’s another argument that says management is stretched too far – witness the debacle over the Motorola patent suit. Google has lost billions in value because management misunderstood the value of its patents and the direction of patent rulings.
But there is yet another line of argument that is not related directly to Google. It says using social data to understand stock price movements and public reactions to brands is interesting, potentially very useful but not well enough understood.
I am of that school. This morning I went through a variety of emotions that people bring to their assessment of listed companies. In particular I looked at Innovation, Trust, Joy, Optimism, Uncertainty, Stress, and Conflict.
I used Marketpsychdata‘s charting tool to compare trends in these sentiments, as they relate to Google, with the company’s stock price. The result is mixed news.
Roughly speaking, what I found was that negative sentiment is increasing at the same time that Google‘s reputation for innovation is on a roll. To put that in perspective, the negative sentiment only began to increase in the past six weeks, in fact during the period of peak Glass publicity.
Take a look at the first chart. Public sentiment around Google innovation tracks the Google stock price in a reasonably uniform way, often leading it up. And recently it has leaped ahead, perhaps drawing the stock price with it.
But look at the second chart and you will see Trust beginning a decline from roughly the same period. Trust is also well aligned with the stock. Emotions like Optimism and Joy show a similar recent trajectory.
Explanations? Coincidence perhaps. Or a sign of an appropriately skeptical public. I saw something similar in the sentiment charts around Apple. Though running in the opposite direction right now, people were very wary of Apple as it ascended to its height. Something similar seems to be storing up under Google.
Over its launch weekend, ten days ago, the new Samsung flagship smartphone, the S4, was boosted by almost 230,000 tweets. That sounds impressive. 230K tweets in 4 days! Samsung looks good in social media.
In total those 230,000 tweets could have influenced about 32 million people. Sounds impressive but wait! Apple‘s iPhone was tweeted about 2.9 million times over the same period.
And there was no launch around the iPhone. Conclusion: On social media the iPhone is beating the S4 up.
What’s more it looks as though a portion of the activity around the Samsung S4 came from fake accounts, running scripts. They tend to tweet out pro-Samsung messages all day long. More on that in a future post.
The data on the S4 and iPhone’s real time, social performance make for fascinating reading. To put the data together I relied on Peek Analytics, who also supplied data for the recent Top 50 social media influencers list.
(Last time I used Peek Analytics a couple of readers suggested I should be transparent about my relationship with them. So here goes: There is no commercial relationship between me and Peek. I have used Marketpsychdata, Leximancer, and Traackr for similar tasks. I am happy to make use of any tool that is user-friendly and free for me to use.)
So what else did we find out?
The iPhone’s long weekend of Twitter support, potentially, could have been seen by over 180 million people, nearly six times as many as the S4.
Of course neither Samsung nor Apple would have been seen by anything like this number. The important point is that the iPhone retains an incredible hold over people.
Three years ago I did a study of the iPhone’s magic when compared with the first Android phone, the HTC G1. At launch the HTC G1 was also beaten up by the iPhone. Again there was no iPhone launch. But there were around 12 time as many mentions of the iPhone, on all social media, as there were of the G1.
Are the people tweeting influential, in the sense of having a strong following? The Peek Analytics data show that Samsung’s network of fans has a pull of about 4.3. That means its fans have 43 times the influence of the average Twitter user. Apple‘s fans were less influential in numerical terms at 2.7.
The work profile of users shows variation, with iPhone tweeters more likely to be in music, fashion, technology or marketing and those for the S4 more likely to be in software – a counter-intuitive finding – and telecommunications.
In both cases the audience, or fan base, tapered off after the age of 46 and was strongest from age 18 t0 26.
Surprisingly the intensity of interest in the iPhone was strongest outside the USA, and was strongest in Paris and Madrid, and in Jakarta.
The intensity of Samsung S4 was by a long way strongest in Mumbai, Nairobi, Manila, Singapore and Kuala Lumpur. Whereas the iPhone interest was modestly more intense, say in Paris (3 x the average), the S4 was 72 times the average in Kuala Lumpur.
That suggests the S4 is on a roll in those parts of the world whereas the iPhone is on the point of sating interest in the USA, and in comparison with the S4 in Asia, the iPhone is a less intense attraction in Europe. That should make for an interesting journey for S4 sales. It’s a premium phone that will push the budgets of people who cannot afford $900.
The abiding impression from Samsung’s S4 launch weekend though is that people have an abiding passion for the iPhone – and perhaps, after all, Apple could fight back in smartphones by capitalizing on its huge base of loyal fans. Samsung has some way to go before it can boast the same for the S4.