In a category filled with innovation and interest, wireless carriers and the device makers are finding attention can cut both ways.
In its recent analysis of consumer buzz for the wireless industry, Engagement Labs found carriers like T-Mobile and MetroPCS made huge gains when it came to social — both online and offline — incidence, while device makers such as Apple and the Android operating system struggled.
“The telecom space is one that is constantly being measured by the innovations taking place,” Matt Phillips, associate vice president at Engagement Labs, tells Marketing Daily. “We saw different reasons why brands improved. Each brand has its own unique DNA, and that’s why it’s important to measure both online and offline conversations.”
According to the report, T-Mobile and MetroPCS showed the biggest gains, thanks to initiatives such as offering free Netflix streaming (T-Mobile) and advanced phone deals (MetroPCS), Phillips says. Also helping T-Mobile: a promotion targeted directly at Baby Boomers, where much of the buzz occurred in offline social channels.
“For each brand, there’s differences in online and offline performance,” Phillips says. “Many pay attention to social media, but that’s only what’s above the surface. Brands have to know what’s going in online and offline channels about them.”
Conversely brands such as iPhone and Google’s Android platform suffered from negative press during the period. After the release of its iPhone 8 and X, Apple revealed it was slowing down older handsets to preserve battery life. Rumors about Google’s Android platform, meanwhile, suggested it might be phased out in favor of a different system, Phillips says.
In every case, however, the telecom industry is driven by value. Consumers are seeking the most bang for their buck, and to get the best product for what they can afford. Brands that are successful in communicating that value will get the biggest social boosts, Phillips says.
“The wireless industry will always be driven by value and promoting that will always be important,” Phillips says. “What carriers can do is tie the value of being [with] a certain carrier with the devices being offered.”
The TotalSocial rankings (and rank change) for the past six months (compared with the six-month period ending May 2017), according to Engagement Labs are: