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Just as Netflix is the most indispensable TV programming brand among young consumers in the US, it also holds the top ranking for word-of-mouth (W-O-M) among Millennials, per a survey by YouGov BrandIndex.

To come to this finding, YouGov first screened 1,753 brands for positive buzz, asking 18-34-year-olds which brands they had heard something positive about within the previous 2 weeks. After eliminating brands without much positive buzz, YouGov then asked respondents which of the brands they had talked about with friends and family during the previous 2 weeks.

Remaining in the top spot for the second year in a row, Netflix’s score is an impressive 76.9.

Being on the lips of Millennials is not surprising considering that Netflix has not only surpassed TV as the place viewers go to watch their favorite show, but has become also the most loved brand for US Millennials. This finding also means good things for Netflix, as Nielsen found that one of the key influences for choosing content to stream is through W-O-M from friends and family.

Facebook once again takes the #2 spot on the list with a score of 76.3. The YouGov methodology does not specify whether the word-of-mouth about brands is positive or negative – and it may trend more negative for Facebook, which has been mired in numerous privacy scandals that have seen its reputation plummet. Indeed, there are plenty of indications that Facebook has lost its appeal with youth, although Instagram has been there to pick up the slack.

Instagram is not only a topic of conversation for advertisers and marketers; Millennials are talking about the social media platform as well, with it ranking #6 in the word-of-mouth rankings.

Meanwhile, Apple sits in the #4 spot in YouGov’s ranking with a score of 71.0, while the iPhone came in at #8 (69.8). Last year, Apple ranked even higher in a study of word-of-mouth among Gen Zs (13-20-year-olds) with iPhone and Apple being the two 2 most talked-about brands in that age group.

Other brands in the top that made the top 10 this year include:

  • Walmart (74.2) at #3;
  • National Football League (70.1) at #5;
  • Venmo (69.8) at #7;
  • Airbnb (69.6) at #9; and
  • Chick-fil-A (68.3).

A few brands made some noticeable improvement between 2018 and 2019 in the US, with JP Morgan Chase ranking #1 as the top W-O-M Improver with a score of 56.1 (up from 39.2 last year). The financial services brand is followed by Mattel, which improved by 16.1 points to reach a score of 50.7 this year. Mitsubishi (up 15.1 points), Utz (up 14.2 points) and Patron (up 14 points) round out the top 5 W-O-M Improvers.

Top Global W-O-M Brands

Per YouGov’s global rankings, Facebook was the clear leader for Millennials’ W-O-M, leading in 20 markets. Instagram placed high in 14 markets while WhatsApp and YouTube were in the top 10 in 13 and 12 markets, respectively.

While #1 in the US, Netflix made the top 10 in 17 markets. Another streaming contender, Spotify, was in the top 10 in 9 markets, though it didn’t crack the list in the US.

Top 10 rankings are available here.

Conversations About Brands Differ Online and Offline

Separately, research from Engagement Labs indicates that social listening may not be enough to determine word-of-mouth sentiment about brands. In measuring online and offline conversations about brands for a recent study, Engagement Labs found that there is virtually no correlation at all in net sentiment, noting that “online and offline discussions are two entirely different conversations, generally unrelated to each other.” This means that by limiting analysis to social listening, brands may be missing out on key data to inform marketing strategies.

The full research is available for download here.

About the Data: YouGov describes its methodology as follows:

“YouGov BrandIndex first screened all of its 1,753 brands for positive Buzz, which asks respondents “Have you heard anything positive about the brand in the last two weeks, through advertising, news, or word of mouth?” Brands with low response volume were eliminated. From those brands, they were then ranked on Word of Mouth scores, which asks respondents “Which of the following brands have you talked about with friends and family in the past two weeks (whether in person, online, or through social media)?” All respondents for this research were young adults 18 through 34 years old. Data was collected between September 1, 2018 and August 31, 2019.”

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