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.

Brand publisher Articles Facebook LinkedIn Pinterest Twitter Total
someecards.com 179 889,172 41 1,677 8,223 899,113
countryoutfitter.com 311 811,221 28 5,790 1,366 818,405
redbull.com 856 604,727 2,769 227 25,839 633,562
playstation.com 452 286,956 561 8 79,660 367,185
easports.com 68 201,917 2 160,936 362,855
bestbuy.com 136 251,765 19 9 5,149 256,942
rockstargames.com 20 197,043 2 27,998 225,043
microsoft.com 857 91,400 58,120 8 50,133 199,661
benjerry.com 21 187,302 537 309 6,339 194,487
outback.com 6 159,441 2,483 161,924
steampowered.com 247 115,965 206 5 36,447 152,623
xbox.com 363 79,016 568 699 63,230 143,513
intel.com 319 122,545 8,978 1 7,553 139,077
ford.com 30 119,715 381 1 1,120 121,217
target.com 98 97,573 3,214 405 4,754 105,946
sonymobile.com 31 62,227 99 2,970 65,296
blackberry.com 231 21,934 34,034 1 2,837 58,806
ferrari.com 64 40,355 8,039 100 7,169 55,663
coach.com 5 53,057 15 202 429 53,703
adobe.com 269 31,401 9,933 105 11,310 52,749
hp.com 170 34,151 7,717 2 7,722 49,592
walmart.com 61 40,656 633 1 7,734 49,024
dell.com 146 35,545 5,347 4,593 45,485
nike.com 28 34,330 2,403 197 7,774 44,704
mozilla.org 77 34,312 397 1 9,768 44,478

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.
Social engagements
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.

Brand publisher Articles Total Engagement/article
someecards.com 179 899,113 5,023
countryoutfitter.com 311 818,405 2,632
redbull.com 856 633,562 740
playstation.com 452 367,185 812
easports.com 68 362,855 5,336
bestbuy.com 136 256,942 1,889
rockstargames.com 20 225,043 11,252
microsoft.com 857 199,661 233
benjerry.com 21 194,487 9,261
outback.com 6 161,924 26,987
steampowered.com 247 152,623 618
xbox.com 363 143,513 395
intel.com 319 139,077 436
ford.com 30 121,217 4,041
target.com 98 105,946 1,081
sonymobile.com 31 65,296 2,106
blackberry.com 231 58,806 255
ferrari.com 64 55,663 870
coach.com 5 53,703 10,741
adobe.com 269 52,749 196
hp.com 170 49,592 292
walmart.com 61 49,024 804
dell.com 146 45,485 312
nike.com 28 44,704 1,597
mozilla.org 77 44,478 578

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.
Engagements per article
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 % LinkedIn % Pinterest % Twitter
someecards.com 98.89% 0.00% 0.19% 0.91%
countryoutfitter.com 99.12% 0.00% 0.71% 0.17%
redbull.com 95.45% 0.44% 0.04% 4.08%
playstation.com 78.15% 0.15% 0.00% 21.69%
easports.com 55.65% 0.00% 0.00% 44.35%
bestbuy.com 97.99% 0.01% 0.00% 2.00%
rockstargames.com 87.56% 0.00% 0.00% 12.44%
microsoft.com 45.78% 29.11% 0.00% 25.11%
benjerry.com 96.31% 0.28% 0.16% 3.26%
outback.com 98.47% 0.00% 0.00% 1.53%
steampowered.com 75.98% 0.13% 0.00% 23.88%
xbox.com 55.06% 0.40% 0.49% 44.06%
intel.com 88.11% 6.46% 0.00% 5.43%
ford.com 98.76% 0.31% 0.00% 0.92%
target.com 92.10% 3.03% 0.38% 4.49%
sonymobile.com 95.30% 0.15% 0.00% 4.55%
blackberry.com 37.30% 57.88% 0.00% 4.82%
ferrari.com 72.50% 14.44% 0.18% 12.88%
coach.com 98.80% 0.03% 0.38% 0.80%
adobe.com 59.53% 18.83% 0.20% 21.44%
hp.com 68.86% 15.56% 0.00% 15.57%
walmart.com 82.93% 1.29% 0.00% 15.78%
dell.com 78.15% 11.76% 0.00% 10.10%
nike.com 76.79% 5.38% 0.44% 17.39%
mozilla.org 77.14% 0.89% 0.00% 21.96%

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.
Publishing volume
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.
Tree

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.
Screenshot
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 contact@newswhip.com.

What Next?

1) Take a free trial of Spike, to find the stories that matter most to your audience
 

Wordpress Social Share Plugin powered by Ultimatelysocial