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YouGov BrandIndex has released a new set of brand rankings for 2017, and the results contain a slew of familiar faces, albeit with some new and departing entrants. Once again Amazon emerged on top of the “Buzz” rankings in the US, the fifth consecutive year in which it has done so.

The study, which measures consumer perceptions of brands, asks respondents whether they have heard anything about the brand during the prior 2 weeks, subtracting the percentage who answer they have heard something negative from the proportion who have heard something positive.

Amazon led the way with a net positive score of 33.5, edging Netflix, with its score of 31.5. This marks the third consecutive year in which Netflix has come second to Amazon in the overall rankings.

Amazon was in the list yet again in the third spot, with Amazon Prime netting a Buzz score of 28.1. Behind it, and rounding out the top 5, were YouTube (26.5) and Google (23.7).

Six brands from last year’s top 10 made this year’s list: Amazon (same spot), Netflix (same spot), YouTube (down 1 spot), Google (down 1 spot), Dawn (up 2 spots), and M&M’s (down 2 spots).

New to the list this year are: Amazon Prime (#3); Nike (#6); iPhone (#9); and Apple (#10).

So if you’re keeping score, the only one of the FANG (or FAANG, if you will) companies not to make the list? Facebook. Its absence from the list isn’t too surprising given that it does suffer from some public perception issues.

Meanwhile, the top improvers across all categories were:

  • Chipotle: up 8.2 points to a neutral score (0.1);
  • HLN: up 5.9 points to a neutral score (0.0); and
  • Volkswagen: up 5.7 points to a score of 1.1, continuing its turnaround.

Other brands among the top 10 improvers included Walmart, Hulu, Lyft, Samsung, and Whole Foods, which may have enjoyed a halo effect from its purchase by Amazon.

Category Leaders

Below are some quick highlights (limited to the US) of brands topping various (but not all) category lists:

  • Southwest (12.6) led among Airlines yet again, with second-placed JetBlue (4.7) trailing distantly once more;
  • Nike (20.3) was once again the leader in the Apparel and Footwear category, followed again by Skechers (14.4);
  • T-Mobile (12.0) inched ahead of Verizon Wireless (11.8) in the Wireless category;
  • Chase (6.7) topped the rankings for Banks, narrowly ahead of Capital One Bank (6.1);
  • Once again, none of the Cable and Satellite providers identified was able to crack a double-digit Buzz score, with DirecTV’s barely positive score of (3.6) somehow leading the way, edging Verizon FIOS (3.5);
  • GEICO (14.7) again beat State Farm (13.4) by a small margin in the Insurance category;
  • Google’s winning Buzz Score of 23.7 in the Internet Search category was miles ahead of Yahoo (3.7), its nearest competitor;
  • Facebook’s Buzz score tumbled from 17.5 to 13.3, putting it in 4th behind YouTube (26.5), Pinterest (14.8) and Instagram (13.7) among Social Networks, though remaining ahead of Snapchat (7.8);
  • Netflix (31.5) and YouTube (26.5) far surpassed the competition in the Streaming Video and Music category, while Hulu (14.3) jumped ahead of Amazon Video (12.0) and Pandora (11.8); and
  • The History Channel (16.0) took top honors among TV Networks once more, followed by the Discovery Channel (13.7) and HBO (13.1).

1 in 2 American Adults Has Seen An Ad for GEICO

Which brand has the highest ad awareness in the US? It continues to be GEICO, as it was in 2016, with an impressive half (50.5%) of US adults having seen one of its ads in the 2 weeks prior to being surveyed.

Close behind, McDonald’s (47.2%) and Verizon Wireless (47.2%) were in a virtual tie for the second spot, with almost half of Americans recalling seeing one of these brands’ ads.

AT&T and Walmart rounded out the top 5.

Interestingly enough, each of the top 10 brands by ad awareness in 2017 also appeared on the list in 2016. In fact, there were very few changes in the rankings: McDonald’s had narrowly trailed Verizon Wireless in 2016 before essentially tying it this year; while Walmart and Subway each moved up a spot and DirecTV dropped two.

Uber again topped the list of improvers, with a 6.8 increase bringing it to a score of 21.5, meaning that more in 1 in 5 US adults reported seeing an ad for Uber in the 2 weeks prior to being surveyed.

Uber’s rival Lyft also figured among the most improved brands, though its ad awareness score (7.8) was considerably lower.

Other top improvers included Dollar Shave Club, Hulu, Nintendo, and Sprint.

The full lists can be accessed here (top Buzz rankings) and here (top ad awareness rankings).

About the Data: YouGov BrandIndex describes its Buzz ranking methodology in part as follows:

“The 1,600 brands in YouGov BrandIndex were ranked using the Buzz score which asks respondents, ‘If you’ve heard anything about the brand in the last two weeks, through advertising, news or word of mouth, was it positive or negative?’ Scores are net scores, calculated by subtracting the percentage of negative responses from the percentage of positive responses for each brand.

All brands must be tracked for at least 6 months to be included in the rankings, and must have been tracked for at least 6 months in the prior year’s period (as well as being currently tracked) to appear in the movers tables.”

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