Announcing a new product is culmination of a huge investment of time, money, and energy. More importantly, the quality of that launch plays a big role in setting the course for the return on that investment; Does anyone pay attention? Does anyone react? Do they like it? Do the people who react spread the word?
It’s fair to say that Steve Jobs set the modern standard for the product launch, turning Apple announcements into highly anticipated, broadly discussed, and widely covered events, with business and cultural footprints. Apple works hard to maintain the competitive advantage Steve created with these events, and this week held the most anticipated release since the passing of Mr. Jobs.
So how did they do?
Measuring Launch Results with Appinions
The Appinions Platform has a powerful and unique ability to measure the quantity and quality of attention captured by any topic or event. We process hundreds of millions of full text articles, identify opinions related to very specific topics, and algorithmically score the topic and the people holding and sharing these opinions. And our scores have an absolute value so not only can we show the change in influence/attention for a single brand or product, we can compare different brands or products and do so at different points in time.
This means we can measure the success of any product launch in both absolute and relative terms. So far, here’s what we’ve seen from the Apple iPhone 6 launch. (The Apple Watch is covered in a subsequent post.)
The iPhone 6 Launch
Here we see that after a period with relatively stable volume of discussion, influential attention to the iPhone 6 score grew by about about 6,400 (more than 50%) between July 20 and Sept 8 (with Net Influence Score rising from 10,114 to 16,500) and then spiked by 6,815 (above 40%) in two days to hit 23,315. From the steady base it had been at, the iPhone buildup and launch saw a rise of over 13,000.
Driving these scores during this timeframe, the volume of opinions we identified and scored grew 10X, from an average of about 1,000 per day up to nearly 10,000 on launch day, Sept 10th. Our scoring algorithms take into account who held an opinion or reacted to it, where the opinion is published, and the total number of different people who react to any given opinion. Apple launches such as this one show a company that has built a platform to get people talking and reacting, broadly and intensely.
If we extend our view beyond references specifically to the “iPhone 6″ and just look at the entire world of “iPhone” we see growth from about 50,000 to over 110,000 (a 55% increase) over a 3 day period. This is impressive in any case, and moreso for a topic that already has a high average daily score, which means there is already a large amount of conversation taking place.
Putting the iPhone 6 Launch in Perspective
How does a Net Influence Score of 109,600 for iPhone compare to the volume of attention the news, blogs, and social media of the world pays to other products and issues? Let’s compare iPhone to other technical and social issues that people are discussing by using peak scores from within the past 90 days.
Samsung’s Galaxy Note 4 Launch
Let’s compare the iPhone’s performance this week to last week’s Samsung announcement of their Galaxy Note 4 and Galaxy Note Edge phones. Samsung phones had been holding in the 15,000 range for Net Influence Score (This includes all Samsung phones while the iPhone example above is only the iPhone 6) and after the Sept 2 announcement in 3 days the score rose almost 30%.
Clearly the launch got some attention, but in competitive terms we see over 5 times as much attention was paid to the iPhone launch than the launch from Samsung.
Since we have nearly simultaneous Apple and Samsung releases, it’s also interesting to compare these events in terms of where opinions originated. Below we see the 90-day summary of opinion sources, showing that Apple generated a lot more heat on social media (primarily Twitter) with over twice as much opinion by volume than Samsung.
Windows Phone / Nokia 930 Launch
Let’s look at what happened in terms of reaction when the latest Windows Phone, the Nokia 930 was unveiled on July 17 – we see a move from a 8,995 on July 15 to a peach of 13,804 on August 1st – a full two weeks later and a score increase of only about 4,000.
Recent Mobile Phone Launches
And for some perspective, below we look at the Net Influence Score, as measured by volume of influential opinions, for a few of the leading mobile phone manufacturer. We see not only has Apple a commanding lead over time, they created a much larger absolute and relative change via an extremely well orchestrated product launch.
What Happens Now?
Huge events get a lot of people talking and reacting, so we expect to see dramatic gains surrounding events like the Apple launch. But eventually attention turns to other matters. The time frame over which increased influence can be sustained, and the rate and level it falls back to, are parts of the measure of product launch success.
So it will be interesting to see how long the iPhone discussion lasts at these lofty levels or how quickly the huge buzz slows down . Given the built-in drama of the pre-order, shipping, unboxing, reviews, and out-of-stock situations that we’ll see in coming weeks, it seems fair to say that Apple has brilliantly engineered a system to keep their product at the center of a lot of conversation for much longer than most companies get out of a typical announcement. Time will tell.
Visit Our Full Apple & iPhone Live Tracking Page for More Details
If you’d like to follow the progress of Apple and their competitors in terms of the volume of influential conversation they’re generating in the market, visit our Apple iPhone page at dj.appinions.com where there are dynamic charts (updated daily) of Apple and iPhone influence scores, lists of top influencers and their key opinions, word clouds based on themes contained within these discussions and more.
Tracking and Improving Product Launch Performance with Appinions
The ability to track and score the quantity and quality of influential discussion surrounding any product introduction is only one way the Appinions platform helps marketers – in fact the scores and trend charts are only the beginning.
The platform lets marketers see exactly who is talking about or reacting to your product, what they said, and where they said it. This gives you the ability to see how different messages and events are performing, reach out to specific influencers or publications, manage resources and more. For a full demonstration and to discuss how your product launches can be more successful, please contact us.