After investigating how top publishers achieve their success on Instagram, we’re now excited to cast our spotlight onto the most successful brand publishers on social media.
This week we take a look at 25 of the top brand publishers on social media to view the breadth and depth of engagement they achieve across the major social networks – Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest and Twitter. As always the data comes from our Spike platform.
The leading brands we measure come from a range of different sectors, all enjoying stunning engagement and reach with their content. Don’t miss their biggest viral content hits and read on for a blog packed full of tables, performance trends and insights for communicators, content creators and general marketers alike.
Learning from the Top Brand Publishers, by Social Engagement
First off, who are the brands to watch in this space?
Whilst we’re not presenting this as a definitive index, the brands in the table below generated notable social media engagement numbers in June 2015. The term ‘article’ refers to a piece of content published by a brand at a URL.
With total engagements driven in the eight hundred thousands, SomeEcards and Country Outfitter lead the chasing pack of other brands.
Major brands Red Bull, Playstation and EA Sports, appear high up the list, with the table being heavily populated by a large range of electronics and technology brands.
We also see the appearance of a couple of automotive makers too and we were especially interested to see Ferrari making an appearance. Perhaps ‘aspirational sharing’ of car-related content is a powerful thing?
If you’re wondering where SoundCloud, Spotify, Apple, Amazon, GroupOn et al are, we decided to classify these brands as ‘platforms’, which we will investigate in a future blog. This decision was mainly guided by the fact that users of these platforms create vast numbers of articles/posts on these sites inflating the measureable publishing activities.
Wide Distribution of Overall Performance
Interestingly, the spread of total performance numbers has a wide distribution, as the chart below articulates.
The top five performing brands – SomeEcards, Country Outfitter, Red Bull, Playstation and EA Sports – tower above the rest, making up a significant percentage of total engagements driven.
Below this, a more steady performing tail appears, populated by the likes of HP, Dell and Nike.
Engagement per Article Trends
Engagement per article metrics also reveal more about the social publishing trends for these brands, with outback.com leading the way and driving nearly 27k engagements per article. Some other brands generated far lower numbers here, often in the hundreds.
Joining outback.com at the elite end, we also see Coach and rockstargames.com creating over 10k engagements, on average, for every article posted. Ben and Jerry’s was also close to this mark too, generating over 9k engagements per article.
This is impressive average content virality.
The distribution of performance, when it comes to engagement per article, is even wider than it is for total engagement performance across the observed brands.
We salute you outback.com – what a towering performance!
Rockstargames.com, Coach and Ben and Jerry’s are also generating impressive social media outcomes here too.
The Power of Facebook in Driving Global Reach
The next observation to note, is that engagements on Facebook constitute the vast majority of these social marketing successes, as recorded by our Spike platform.
The table below shows percentages of engagement coming from each social platform and reminds us of the adage that when it comes to social media marketing, it really is ‘Facebook and the seven dwarves’.
|Brand publisher||% from Facebook|
Only one brand drives over 50% of its engagement from a platform other than Facebook – Blackberry.com on LinkedIn. Speaking of LinkedIn, if this list was more B2B, maybe we’d see a relative swing in strategic importance, from Facebook to LinkedIn.
Beyond this, few brands were seen driving over 20% of their engagement from non-Facebook platforms – only eight of the top 25 in fact, with two occurrences on LinkedIn and six on Twitter. Just Microsoft drove over 20% engagement from two non-Facebook platforms, potentially showing the broadest social media coverage.
Whilst we included Pinterest, in the interests of breadth, little notable volume of engagement is being achieved on this platform by these brands.
Frequency of Publishing
When it comes to the actual ‘publishing’ activities of these brands, their output and strategies are very different.
Some brands, such as Microsoft and Red Bull, put out nearly one thousand articles per month, whilst Ford, Nike and Ben and Jerry’s publish far less frequently.
Viewing the distribution of this publishing frequency, we can see that electronic and tech brands are prone to publishing more frequently than lifestyle, fashion and auto brands. Note the difference in publishing frequency between Microsoft, Playstation and Xbox, compared to outback.com and Coach.
Content Tactics Driving Huge Success
Within the total publishing activities of brands, some of the names investigated placed far more emphasis on a small number of high value pieces of content than a broad breadth of more equal content pieces.
A powerful example of this is Sony Mobile, which prioritizing the promotion of a new product generated over 30k likes on its Experia Z3+ phone page, compared to other articles which rarely accumulated 10k engagements. We’d guess some paid social promotion was at play here too.
Ferrari and Ford also showed a core of content elements driving large amounts of their engagement, via their Formula1 and Racing sub-domains respectively. At these sub-domains these global auto brands update fans on the performance of Formula1 teams and signature cars such as GTs, Shelbys, etc.
Of the frequent publishers, Red Bull showed the most consistently high engagement performance across the breadth of its content buffet. Red Bull’s content showed an impressive natural virality, also being beautifully delivered with lots of rich imagery and video. Here’s a stunning example, telling the story of famous rock climber, Chris Sharma, free climbing a giant redwood near where he grew up in California.
Which Brands Created the Three Biggest Viral Hits?
In order one to three, Ben and Jerry’s, Best Buy and Red Bull.
Hats off to Ben and Jerry’s for smartly and empathetically hacking the marriage equality issue, with its ‘I dough, I dough’ campaign page.
This article and campaign was not just a cynical attempt by a brand to exploit a popular issue. Ben and Jerry’s have form and history here, whilst the page also showcases a range of blogs about the issue, some involving their own employees, and also promotes calls to action to learn more and support the marriage equality movement generally.
The results? Over 135k likes, 13k shares and 10k comments for Ben and Jerry’s I dough, I dough page, towering over its next most-liked content pieces. Now those are some marketing outcomes to take pride in.
Red Bull’s podium ranking viral content piece can be viewed here, promoting a deal on a BMX rider’s story exploring Detroit’s Silverdome stadium.
We hope you enjoyed our first look at brand publishers on social media.
We’ll be back soon with definitive indexes and rankings tables, of top brands across a range of sectors and social platforms. We’ll also be doing further investigations for professional communicators and marketers.
Have your say about trends we should research and ensure your brand gets covered, by emailing ideas and your feed/RSS details to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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