Apple Buys Topsy, a Leading Twitter Analytics Firm, for More than $200M

Apple Buys Topsy, a Leading Twitter Analytics Firm, for More than $200M

The Wall Street Journal reports that Apple has purchased Topsy Labs Inc., a social analytics firm focused on parsing data from Twitter, for more than $200M. Topsy specializes in Twitter search, monitoring and analysis, providing data and tools that can help social marketers determine how often a term is tweeted, measure the exposure of a campaign, or find thought leaders in specific industries.

Topsy is one of the few firms with access to Twitter’s full stream of tweets from 2006 (often referred to as Twitter’s “firehose”), which amounts about roughly 500 million per day. Their service is also the only decent Twitter search service available today. Google’s Realtime Search allowed users to find Twitter content, but died in 2011 when the two company’s deal expired. Bing Social uses Twitter data from time to time, but is nowhere near as robust as Topsy.

Topsy gathers, measures, and analyzes data about specific topics, terms, or hashtags. This allows their clients to determine the community’s sentiments and opinions on a topic, and compare their social campaign’s performance with their competitors. Earlier this year, the company enhanced their service’s ability to track tweets according to geographic location, saying that they can identify the country of origin for about 95% of Tweets.

Twitter and Topsy have not commented on the news, but industry experts believe it is unlikely that the purchase happened without Twitter’s input. The New York Times reports that Apple spokesperson Kristin Huguet confirmed the deal, but did not reveal any more details. “Apple buys smaller technology companies from time to time,” she said, “And we generally do not discuss our purpose or plans.”

Apple’s lack of commentary led many industry leaders and analysts to speculate about their reasons for acquiring Topsy. Several analysts say that Apple could use Topsy to understand popular trends on social media, and use the insights they gather to make better app, music, and movie recommendations on iTunes. Topsy’s social data can also be used to power Siri’s voice search capabilities and provide more personalized results, or to serve more relevant ads to users through Apple’s iAd platform.

Apple has never been known for its successes in social networking, especially after they had to close down Ping, their music-sharing service, after it failed to appeal to their users. This acquisition could be a step in the right direction for the company.

As online marketing increasingly becomes more social, your brand needs to adapt and keep tapping into the right social networks and channels. Talk to us and let our social media marketing experts handle your campaign.

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