Apple, Microsoft Are Megabrand Kingpins in Social Radar Index

Fox, AT&T, Dannon Round Out Top Five in Analysis of Online Conversations

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BATAVIA, Ohio (AdAge.com) -- The Mac vs. PC war hasn't just played out on TV. It's also the biggest brand battle in social media.

For the month ended Sept. 25, Apple and Microsoft finished in the top two spots of the Social Radar Sentiment Index, a social-media analysis of Advertising Age's 200 Megabrands by Infegy. The firm tracks more than 20 million web pages, including all the leading social-media sites, and bases its index on comment volume, percentage of positive mentions and percentage of overall brand mentions within social-media that showed signs of sentiment.

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Advertising Age's Top 200 Megabrands, ranked by social media conversation volume.
Apple beat Microsoft handily in the weighted index, largely on the basis of its overwhelming conversation volume, generating more than 900,000 mentions in a month. But Microsoft actually edged its seemingly hipper rival in percentage of conversation that was positive, and it still had the second-highest volume of any Megabrand for the month.

Tech, gaming, consumer electronics and telecom brands dominated the top 10, but Ford, the lone major U.S. automaker not to get a government bailout, slipped in at No. 8 with an 87.6% positive rate.

Getting a government bailout, though, didn't seem to hurt General Motors or its brands much. Five of its six brands had positive buzz rates of 80% or more, including the discontinued Pontiac. The laggard was Saturn -- which is being divested -- with a 70.6%. General Motors itself had a 71.4% positive rating.

Upsets
Seemingly low-involvement package goods weren't all that low on the Social Radar. SC Johnson's Glade came in at No. 21 with 165,000 mentions, 82.6% of them positive. Dove generated more than 141,000 comments, 81.6% positive, still appearing to benefit from the "Campaign for Real Beauty" and viral "Evolution" video three years after it first appeared. Dove beat rivals such as L'Oreal, Garnier, Neutrogena and Olay by factors 20 to 100 times or more in conversation volume.

Walmart (32) may be beating Target handily in the market, but Target (11) beat its rival 82.8% to 59.3% in percentage of positive commentary, despite Walmart's 141,000 to 107,000 edge in conversation volume. Among fast feeders, Sonic (26) was a surprise leader, beating McDonald's (34) and Burger King (76), despite the former's ubiquity and the latter's edgy ads.

Prescription drug brands generally came in very low both in conversation volume and percentage positive, with cervical cancer vaccine Gardasil turning in the lowest positive score among the 200 brands at 16.9%.

Infegy analyzes online buzz by the sentence, rather than just counting the number of positive words, in an effort to get a more accurate read on whether mentions are positive or negative, said President Adam Coomes. To validate its methods, Infegy compares its positive/negative rankings to those found in Gallup Polls on topical issues, he said.

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