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Microsoft Beats Google, Apple in Online Positive Mentions

An interactive marketing agency, Zeta Interactive, did an online study for Brandweek, looking at the brands mentioned most on Twitter and Facebook as well as in blogs. And the tech brands mentioned came in a bit differently than you might have expected -- except that the data also raises some questions by both what you see and what you don't. Here's the chart from Brandweek.

Tech was dominant in the ratings. Microsoft (MSFT) was top of the chart by the number of mentions, followed by Google (GOOG), Amazon (AMZN), and Apple (AAPL). (Note that Zeta treats Amazon as retail, which is true, but at BNET, we also see it as an important name in high tech.) Down in 7th and 8th places were Sony (SNE) and RIM's Blackberry. So by my count, that's six tech brands in the top ten. It certainly makes sense that tech companies would largely dominate social media discussions, where you probably have a large proportion of participants with an interest in technology.

Another interesting view is ranking the brands by the percentage of positive tone:

  1. Blackberry
  2. Walmart
  3. Nike
  4. Amazon
  5. Microsoft
  6. Google
  7. Honda
  8. Target
  9. Apple
  10. Sony
Apple received a significantly smaller portion of positive tone in posts than Microsoft or Google. In fact, the only company doing worse was Sony. That might be due to a factor that I've argued before would come into play: moving beyond its normal fan base and into a wider range of consumers would put pressure on perceptions of the company.

However, there are some significant limitations in the study, and questions that pop up. One issue is that social media, though widely used, do not provide a representative look at the populace and its attitudes. You can't discount the study, but there's a limit to how well it can describe consumer attitudes. Another issue is that I wonder whether some brands were left off unreasonably. Blackberry makes the mention cut but iPhone and iPod don't? Microsoft is on but not Windows? There are companies on this list where one might expect mentions of product brands without talking about the businesses that own them. If you added the top product brands as well, I wonder how the results would shift. Still, an interesting data point.

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