Commentary

Apple Quickly Dominates Social Video Promotion

Because Apple doesn't seem to have taken enough bites out of every market it deems fit to enter, we get word today from video metrics firm Visible Measures that Jobs and co. are also supping on social video. According to VM, Apple's online promotional videos have a 55% "Share of Choice" in the mobile technology category. "Share of Choice" (dare we call this "SOC"?) is a new metric (apparently we need more) the company introduced today that indicates brand preference within a given category of shared video. Apple's videos for FaceTime, the new Nano and iPod gaming have been driving the brand in the social video bloodstream so that Apple garnered over 12 million video views in Q3, a majority of videos views for mobile tech.

According to Visible Measures Apple came into the viral video game rather late, only this year with the early iPad preview videos. Prior to that Verizon and its Droid promotion were among the most circulated in the mobile category. As one would expect in the viral video world, there is tremendous volatility. While Verizon had almost total "SOC" in Q4 2009 because no other players were contributing significant shared video into the market, Motorola's Super Bowl driven Megan Fox spot actually beat Apple's early spots to have a higher share of video chosen by consumers in the first quarter of the year. Apple bounced back in Q2 with a combination of the iPad and FaceTime videos driving interest. But then by Q3 other players like Amazon's Kindle and Nokia. Apple, which had more than a 60% share in Q2 lost some share in Q3 as the field got crowded.

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Share of Choice

Video arguably is an important component in the mobile device category because these new operating systems and even apps need to be illustrated to be appreciated. Suddenly everyone in the category noted the obvious, and VM says that video in mobile tech as a vertical grew over 600% this year with a doubling of brands now competing in the category. The upshot of VM's charts is that there is a cumulative effect to these video campaigns. I am not sure that Apple really was deploying a specific strategy for viral video growth, but its release schedule of videos around products helped it maintain a steady growth path in total views but also increasingly strong spikes with each video drop. In other words, as brands get into a cycle of video releases, audiences for them may grow over time as viewers come to expect something new and entertaining from the brand.

Visible Measures explains that its SOC metric is meant to measure earned brand share of voice or mindshare within the new context of user choice -- where viewers of video in a given product category have unlimited possibilities. It measures which brands within a category of videos is being viewed chosen for viewing most often.

Share of Choice
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