Apple Buying Topsy


Apple Inc., a company that has yet to enter the realm of social media, may be preparing for a game change in the future. The famous technology brand acquired a social media analytics firm called Topsy Labs Inc. early in December.

Topsy is used to decipher and analyze conversations on Twitter by tracking specific terms, the influence of one user over another or the exposure of specific events and campaigns – all critical pieces of information for social media marketers, professionals and average users –  The information Topsy analyzes is then resold to customers looking for an advertising or marketing edge.


Why the Purchase?

With the announcement, many people are wondering about the reason or direction in which the traditionally tight-lipped technology giant may be heading. However, the company has offered no insight. “Apple buys smaller companies from time to time,” explained an Apple spokeswoman, “we generally do not discuss our purpose or plans,” she continued.

Whether the purchase will be used for a current Apple product or for something new, the possibilities are seemingly endless. One area that could use improvement is Apple’s current advertising offerings. One area of speculation is that by using the insight offered by Topsy, Apple could better predict the interests of their customers, leading to increased, targeted advertising opportunities. Such an advancement could be used through services like Apple’s iTunes Radio or to better iTunes content and information for advertisers in the little known iAd program.


Could Topsy Be an iAd Lifesaver?

Real time data, like that provided by Topsy, is something that can be impossible to gather without a program of this sort. iAd, Apple’s marketing product launched in 2010 to allow advertisers to purchase ad space on iPhones, iPads and even iPods, has not received the positive, sell-out response that other products have earned just by belonging to Apple.

Promoted as a way to “get your message out to the millions of people worldwide who use Apple products every day,” iAd has been slow in acquiring interest from advertisers. This is demonstrated by the numbers. Originally, advertisers were required to spend a minimum of $1 million for a single iAd campaign. The number has been lowered to $100,000.

With the use of the real-time data that predicts use models and interests and provides the potential for more targeted advertising, Topsy could breathe life back into the iAd technology.


Apple’s Social Media Presence

Apple has yet to become a major influence with a social media network or presence in general. One service, Apple’s Ping – a music-sharing service meant to serve as a new social networking model – failed to be a hit and closed in September of 2012.

All attempts have not been failures, however. Apple has enhanced its products and devices to allow users to share photos and messages with major social networks without opening the apps, a feature most smartphones provide.

It’s possible that Topsy could be advantageous for making another entry into social media or networking.



Founded in 2007 by Vipul Ved Prakesh, Topsy has raised over $32 million from investors. The service has revolutionized data collection by identifying the location of specific Tweets, user trends and more, sending it to the provider for Twitter data.

Apple acquired the firm for over $200 million.

Bio: Alicia is a content coordinator for a web design company. In her free time, she blogs at and works on continuing her education.

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