SocialNuggests says that consumers are currently more interested in talking about HTC devices than iPhones. According to the firm's March smartphone index, the iPhone 4 was ranked 10th, while the HTC Thunderbolt came in at number one. Two other HTC phones rounded out the top three.After having analyzed over a million conversations taking place in social media channels, market research firm
While it's always interesting to parse the current social media chatter, does this report have any deeper implications other than being a reflection of the ephemeral and immediate nature of Twitter posts and Facebook updates?
HTC Gets Talked About...A Lot
In online chatter, the trends show the HTC brand, overall, on the rise. This is not surprising, considering recent headlines like "HTC overshadows Nokia at smartphone launches," "HTC overtakes Nokia in market value" and "HTC Thunderbolt: First & Last iPhone Killer?"
Also this past month, the HTC Incredible S received the highest ranking in terms of net perception. And while not at the top perception-wise, the new HTC Thunderbolt received a good enough score to place it in the number one spot on the smartphone index as the most talked about device.
Meanwhile, according to SocialNuggets, the iPhone 4 has been plagued by negative perceptions as of late, due to the fact that it has not been updated, especially compared with newer Android phones, including those that have 4G capabilities. But despite SocialNuggests' decision to focus on the "negative" chatter about the iPhone, we actually find the graph below fairly impressive.
This chart shows "Share of Voice," which only focuses on the raw number of mentions. For example, if there are one million posts (after removing spam), and brand X has 100,000 of the total posts, then its share of voice is 10%.
iPhone 4 Still Dominates Conversations
The Thunderbolt, it should be noted, launched in March 2011 on Verizon Wireless in the U.S. The iPhone 4 launched in June 2010. Looking at the above chart, in terms of sheer mentions, the iPhone is still doing well, it seems, for such an old device.
Not only is the iPhone holding its own in this social media ranking against hot new competitors - the Motorola Atrix 4G, the "PlayStation phone" (Sony's Xperia Play), the various Samsung Galaxy variants, a number of HTC phones, a couple of Droids and even a new mobile operating system from Microsoft (the HTC HD7, running Windows Phone 7) - the device is still dominating the conversation.
While it may be true that, as SocialNuggets claims, the sentiment around that conversation is now skewing negative due to consumers' desire for a new iPhone, that's not really a net negative for the brand, is it? If your customers are complaining that they want an update, they're saying, essentially, they want to buy from you again. It's a different type of negative sentiment than saying that a phone is "terrible," "doesn't work," or is "being returned." It's a desire for more.
Something tells us that when Apple gives the world a sneak peek at the new version of the iPhone's OS in at its Worldwide Developer Conference in June, these trends will radically shift again, with the iPhone topping both mentions and positive sentiment. What do you think?
Note: More details on how SocialNuggets calculates its Index (top chart) is available here. The index combines Share of Voice and Net Perception.