Riding ChatGPT’s Hype Wave

Social listening exposes trend similarities between the ChatGPT’s explosive growth and decline with cryptocurrency and the Metaverse.

Henry Chapman, Research and Insights Analyst

ChatGPT’s familiar pattern

Social listening tools like Infegy Atlas tell analysts and researchers whether emerging trends are flashes in the pan or part of real sustained organic growth. With OpenAI’s ChatGPT approaching its 1st anniversary in the wild, we wanted to examine how a year’s worth of ChatGPT-related conversation compared with cryptocurrency and metaverse-related conversation. We picked those two topics because they were both trends that took the tech and advertising space by storm only to fade into obscurity after the people interested moved on to other topics.

We’ve found that based on the shape of the post volume curve, ChatGPT-related-conversation matches the shape of the metaverse with fast growth followed by a leveling-off. We’ll show you how much of the remaining ChatGPT-related conversation originates mainly from advertising-related posts and shows a lack of authentic content indicators that we use to detect whether audiences are interested.

Comparative post volume of ChatGPT, cryptocurrency, and metaverse related-conversation

Figure 1: Comparative post volume of ChatGPT, cryptocurrency, and metaverse related-conversation (October 2020 through October 2023); Infegy Atlas data.

Passion scores - a proxy for audience interest

After post volume, we use Infegy’s Passion score to proxy for audience excitement. Passion records how excitedly social media users speak about a particular topic. We detect passion by looking for the predominance of high-octane words (love records a higher score than like). Both cryptocurrencies and metaverse-related conversations showed consistently high passion scores for much of the last three years. However, coinciding with a drop in post volume, passion scores for both these dropped like a rock. For cryptocurrencies, that drop in passion score coincided with an enormous Bitcoin price drop ($64,000/Bitcoin to $16,700/Bitcoin). The metaverse’s passion score drop coincided with a series of public faux pas by Meta, including a lack of avatar legs in Horizon Worlds and poor graphics.

OpenAI’s ChatGPT had a very different passion score trend. Upon its release, ChatGPT’s passion score shot up to the stratosphere. However, over time, as people used it, its place in the marketplace began to normalize. The Passion score reverted to its mean and now matches that of generalized cryptocurrency and metaverse conversations.

Comparative passion scores of ChatGPT, cryptocurrency, and metaverse related conversation

Figure 2: Comparative passion scores of ChatGPT, cryptocurrency, and metaverse related conversation (October 2020 through October 2023); Infegy Atlas data.

Themes to classify ChatGPT-related-content

Now that we’ve seen the steep drop in Passion scores, let’s turn to Infegy’s Themes to uncover what the underlying ChatGPT-related content looks like. Initially, upon release, our Service Theme peaked - this makes sense as ChatGPT itself was a service that internet users were discovering for the first time. However, as time passed, we were confronted with a staggering revelation. As of October 30, 2023, we classified 55% of all ChatGPT-related conversations as Promotion, with almost half of that relating to advertising. This advertising surge suggests that organic accounts are not communicating about ChatGPT. Instead, much of the declining content left involves advertising and branded accounts attempting to sell LLM-related services. While not pictured, this advertising-heavy distribution matches that of the metaverse and cryptocurrencies. Initially, those two clusters of conversation had an organic conversation. However, ad-based content emerged to overwhelm the organic content.

Top themes attributed to ChatGPT chart

Figure 3: Top themes attributed to ChatGPT (October 2020 through October 2023); Infegy Atlas data.

Rising hashtags show similar audience to crypto

Let’s turn to rising and falling hashtags to show how much this conversation has shifted from ChatGPT excitement to more commercial topics. Within falling topics, we see many technology and data-related topics like #coding, #programming, #python, and #machinelearning. Service-related ones like #contentcreation and #passiveincome have superseded those topics. Fascinatingly, #bitcoin and #crypto both appear in rising topics. These appearances suggest that many people formerly interested in selling cryptocurrency-related topics have shifted to discussions around ChatGPT. To corroborate this, we examined the source bios attached to both conversations. We found a dramatic overlap between the two worlds. Metaverse, on the other hand, did not appear in either ChatGPT or cryptocurrency-related conversations.

Rising and falling ChatGPT-related hashtags

Figure 4: Rising and falling ChatGPT-related hashtags (July 2023 through October 2023); Infegy Atlas data.

Takeaways for your brand

Our study using Infegy Atlas highlighted that much of the talk about ChatGPT seems driven by advertising rather than genuine conversations. Genuine audience engagement is crucial for lasting growth, as shown by post volume and Passion scores. The shift towards ad-focused content echoes trends seen in cryptocurrency and the Metaverse.

For brands, it's crucial to value real engagement over excessive promotion. Social listening helps understand changing audience interests. Businesses need a balance—blending promotions with authentic interactions is key to leverage trends like ChatGPT for long-term success.

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