Topsy is one of several Twitter partners that has access to the full spectrum of tweets created since 2006. The stream of updates, nicknamed “The Firehose”, provide data which is then analyzed by the startup and resold to customers as targeted stats. That info can then be used for greater social media engagement, marketing, and even product development.
Whatever they are planning to do with Topsy, Apple isn’t talking. Like all of their acquisitions, they have confirmed that the buyout happened and nothing more. Instead, a spokesperson gave the standard reply about how they weren’t revealing their plans at this time. Which is exactly what they say every time they buy a startup.
But we can speculate without too much trouble. It doesn’t seem likely that they bought Topsy in order to continue providing the service to others (though they might). It was almost certainly to gain access to that Twitter data, which they can use to track the social interaction associated with their own products.
The Wall Street Journal did an interview with market analyst Debra Aho Williamson, who seems to be thinking along the same lines. Though she pointed out the benefits of providing the service to other companies under the Apple banner.
All of these businesses would appreciate having access to more of this real-time data. Now Apple has a new tool to help the companies that use its services become better, smarter marketers.
No matter what way you look at it, there is no doubt that Topsy was one of Apple’s wiser purchases lately. While they have their own advertising service that has not quite taken off, their social media use has been much more successful. Targeting it more directly can only improve things further.