How do marketers put a price on the volume and the quality of buzz? These predictors and influencers of brand performance can go a long way when attempting to brand a product or service. It turns out the Q1 Top Global Brands Report from General Sentiment released Tuesday provides the latest analysis. The top five spots go to three of the world's largest companies focused on search engines, along with one device maker and content provider, and another to an automotive manufacturer.
The report analyzes brands with the most significant impact online in the first quarter of this year. Apple took the top spot for the fourth straight quarter, followed by Google, Microsoft, Yahoo, and Ford, respectively.
Conversion metrics allow General Sentiment to measure what it calls "Impact Media Value" by assigning a dollar value to all online mentions. The scale determined by the media-measurement company values Apple at $952 million; compared with Google at $704 million; Microsoft, $522 million; Yahoo, $259 million; and Ford, $251 million.
The report suggests that Apple products continue to create the most buzz on the Internet. The release of the iPad 2 and the iPhone on Verizon lit up social media with discussions of new product features. Greater expansion in the market typically creates this. Steve Jobs also took a third leave of absence from Apple, leading many consumers to wonder about the future of Apple products.
General Sentiment points to the technology sector as dominating the Top 10 Global Brands. Consumers tend to closely follow these companies and discuss products and trends across social media sites, which also impacts search engine rankings.
Social signals continue to impact search rankings on engines. But what signals are Google and Bing counting, and how much influence do these social signals have on the search results? SEOMoz Founder Rand Fishkin analyzes the influence Facebook "Likes" and Twitter "tweets" have on search engine rankings.
Fishkin tells us in a blog post that the data examines the top 30 ranking results for 10,217 searches performed on Google in late March, following after the Panda/Farmer update, using top suggested keywords in each category from Google AdWords data. He explains what the data compares and the correlation of values that apply to Google results.
The lengthy post reveals some pretty interesting findings. While Fishkin steps through the valuable takeaways, I found two points particularly interesting: Twitter may be less powerful than first believed, and "shares might be more valuable than likes." Fishkin explains that in Facebook's own environment, a "like" of content will show up on your own "Wall" and in "Most Recent" (a new feature as of last week), but it rarely shows in "Top News" where most users scan and click.
The financial impact of buzz -- not only determined by General Sentiment, but what Fishkin found in analyzing search data -- might be enough encouragement to share vs. like to increase buzz.