After reading Gartner’s smartphone market share numbers today, we looked at how it maps to conversations in social media. It is clear that mobile devices in general are consistently a hot topic on Twitter and Facebook, but not clear how this relates to sales. We have several months of data showing the mentions of major smartphone platforms and devices on Twitter and Facebook. We’re just scratching the surface here with the basics, a lot more digging can be done, but here are a few quick take aways while the Gartner data is fresh.
1. Android is gaining, but iPhone dominates the conversation
Android beat iOS in sales in Q310, but is only making a small dent in social media. This could be skewed by several factors; iPhone carries more brand recognition than Android (some people buy Android without even knowing it). There is a demographic bias in social media toward early adopters, and the iPhone has a bigger installed base.Â All that said, we have to think that this is largely the result of Apple’s massive marketing machine and shows their ability to win the hearts of consumers online.
2. Windows is making moves.
At this point you are likely thinking about the causation vs. correlation problem here. We haven’t established whether social buzz leads to sales, sales lead to conversations, or an entirely different relationship. But no matter how you slice it, Windows is making moves in mobile. Windows had 2% and 3% of the conversation in August and September respectively, but has now climbed to 6% in October and 5% of the conversation in the first 9 days of November. Over the last week, there have been nearly 17,000 posts per day mentioning Windows Mobile or Windows Phone. This could very well be a good sign for the new Windows Phone 7.
3. BlackBerry may have enterprise roots, but holds a strong position in social media.
Gartner’s numbers show RIM dropping from ~21% to ~15% of the market between Q309 and Q310. The social media story for BlackBerry doesn’t look as bleak. Looking back at the chart above, BlackBerry has been between 20% and 23% share of the Twitter/Facebook conversation over the past few months. BlackBerry is often viewed an enterprise focused device, but gets nearly 0.5 mentions per unit sold, second only to the iPhone. It appears that BlackBerry’s consumer marketing engine is strong. Many of BlackBerry’s new device launches have seen a strong consumer response (see BlackBerry Torch below).
There is some interesting analysis that can be drawn when we start to layer social media data with sales data. The smartphone market is just one area that is ripe for this kind of work. The analysis above is just a very surface view of the trends. The big questions remain about how this data can be used to create models, predict future outcomes, and make business decisions as the data comes in.