Apple Vs. Samsung: Who's Winning September Smartphone War?

Apple’s live event this week was as magnificent as expected, with the new Apple Watch receiving a standing ovation. It’s a testament to the strength of Apple’s brand that August and September have become an unofficial smartphone advertising event as competitors try to leverage all of the buzz around the brand’s big announcement

But it is also a testament to Samsung’s leadership in the vertical that the smartphone wars have taken on a new life in the fall months. It started in 2012, when Samsung “The Next Big Thing is Already Herehumorously relayed that Apple’s iPhone 5 was being released with functionality already released available in Samsung products right before the announcement of the iPhone 5 and capitalizing on its buzz.

That move jump-started Samsung’s global market share, and established it as a viral video powerhouse. It also started the viral video smartphone wars, which Samsung is winning on the pure scale of its marketing efforts.

Samsung has increased its video efforts by over 360% in the past five years, with the goal of overtaking Apple in the smartphone category. Samsung only released eight campaigns during 2010, while in 2014 it had already released 37 smartphone campaigns.

Conversely, Apple averaged only 5.8 campaigns a year over the past five years. It’s only in the last two years that Apple increased its advertising, to nine campaigns in 2013 and six in 2014, to date.

Samsung’s strategy is most evident in its flighting: It’s launched more campaigns around the release of a new iPhones than any other time in the year.  Apple, conversely, averaged only an additional 0.07 campaigns released per month during those same periods of time.

So Samsung is releasing more campaigns than Apple, but how does that affect the brands’ market share and Share of Choice® (Share of Choice is a percentage of online social behavior credited to the brand.) Samsung leads in both global market share and Share of Choice.

Samsung has dominated market share since Q3 2013, the quarter following its attack on Apple’s new iPhone 5. It has the largest Share of Choice for the same timeframe, capturing 85% of it in six of the past eight quarters. It averaged 71% more Share of Choice than Apple, along with 25% more global market share.

Yet, the launch of a new iPhone spikes Apple’s activity every year. The two highest quarters for Apple Share of Choice occurred in Q3 2012 and Q3 2013 when the iPhone 5 and iPhone 5S/5C were released, respectively. Despite releasing more campaigns than Apple around those releases, Samsung saw its Share of Choice drop in both of those quarters (although it was still more than Apple).  Apple’s two highest quarters in capturing market share were Q4 2012 and Q4 2013, the quarter after those iPhone releases.

That leads to the big question: Which brand has the most viewership across its campaigns?

With more than 940 million views, Samsung has four times as many views as Apple. Coincidentally, Samsung has also produced four times the number of campaigns as Apple.

And Apple has almost the same average number of views per campaign as Samsung’s 7.5 million views.

The similar efficiency of the Samsung and Apple campaigns hints that Apple it may might have similar viewership if it produced the same number of campaigns as Samsung.

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