On par with your typical Apple product release, consumers anxiously awaited the launch of the latest iPhone model at the edge of their seats. The buzz surrounding the iPhone 6 release was quickly taken over by reports of a technical issue causing the phone to bend under moderate amounts of pressure: the infamous “Bendgate” scandal of 2014. Some people are questioning why Apple isn’t bending over backwards to smooth over this issue, so we looked into our social media monitoring tool, Digimind Social, to get the scoop on how Bendgate is impacting the iPhone’s brand image.
Consumer Reports published a review contradicting the claims that the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus are particularly bendy, especially in comparison with competing smartphones. Digimind Social shows that 92% of iPhone 6 mentions including Bendgate on social media were found on Twitter. In some cases, PR disasters can be blown out of proportion on Twitter as the masses flock to the platform to vent their complaints in 140 characters or less. A more in-depth review on a news site or a blog may show a more balanced overview of a product. The Digimind Social word cloud, for example, shows that despite the Bendgate hype, consumers are still raving about the excellent camera quality of the iPhone 6.
It may come as no shock that most of the buzz on social media, 68% on Twitter and an overwhelming 83% on Facebook, comes from men: perhaps because they’re more likely to carry their phone in their pockets, leaving it susceptible to the notorious bending.
It can sometimes be difficult to differentiate between the visible minority of internet users who post about the bending issue on social media and the majority of internet users who are exposed to the comments but don’t chip in their two cents on Facebook or Twitter. We put it to the test using Digimind Social’s search engine monitoring feature, Top Search. This tracks which words are typed into Google in combination with a brand name like iPhone 6, enabling us to see which topics are top-of-mind for internet users who aren’t voicing their opinions on social channels.
The values on the right are set to show where the keywords rank in comparison with the previous 7 day period. We can see that “bending” has recently popped up in the searches, and that it appears in the top 4 entries which are presented as a suggestion to Google users who begin typing in “iPhone 6.” So we know it’s not just Twitter users who are interested in finding out more about the issue. “Bending” is searched even more than the iPhone 6 Plus which has lost a bit of steam on the search engine in the last week. The Bendgate issue is very prevalent in the Top Results page of Google searches with many of the results dismissing the accusations of the issue, a redeeming sign for Apple.
By combining a social media analysis with a search analysis, it is clear to see that the bending issue is undoubtedly causing a stir on the web. In Apple’s case, this is likely an example of “all press is good press” since much of the conversation is being directed to Apple backers who are contradicting the negative claims.