The Brands With the Best Buzz in the US in 2016 Were…

January 24, 2017

This article is included in these additional categories:

African-American | Brand Metrics | Brand-Related | Demographics & Audiences | Hispanic | Top Brands | Word of Mouth | Youth & Gen X

YouGov has released its US Buzz Rankings list for 2016, revealing that Amazon again enjoyed the best public perception, for the fourth consecutive year. The study, which measures consumer perceptions of brands, asks respondents whether they have heard anything about the brand during the prior 2 weeks and subtracts the percentage who answer they have heard something negative from the proportion who have heard something positive.

Six brands from last year’s top 10 made this year’s list, with Amazon, Netflix, YouTube and Google again occupying the top 4 positions (in that order). The other two brands again appearing on the list saw varying fortunes, with Lowe’s climbing 4 spots to #5 but the Cancer Treatment Centers of America dropping a couple of spots to 7th.

New to the list this year are: M&M’s (#6); Home Depot (#8); Dawn (#9); and Cheerios (#10). They replaced the following brands from last year’s list: Apple (#6 last year); Samsung (#7); iPhone (#8); and Walgreen’s (#10).

The top improvers list, which tracks the highest increase in Buzz Scores during 2016 compared to 2015, is led by RadioShack, which remains with a net negative perception (-1.6) but scored the biggest improvement of 6.6 points. Uber was the next-most improved, going from an almost neutral score (0.2) to a positive score of 4.6. Of note, Facebook and Snapchat tied for the 5th spot, each with an improvement of 3.9 points, while Amazon improving its already-leading 2015 score by 3.4 points, making it the 8th most improved.

Top Buzz Rankings, by Segment

Drilling down to various respondent groups, the results show that Netflix continues to have the best perception among US Millennials, as it has for the past couple of years. Netflix had one of the highest brand buzz scores recorded in the analysis of various demographic groups. Meanwhile, each of the top 5 brands for Millennials – Netflix,, YouTube, Google and Nike – was also on the 2015 and 2014 lists.

Meanwhile, Uber ranked as the most-improved brand among Millennials, followed by Snapchat, Facebook, Nike and Spotify.

Turning to African-Americans, Google topped the list, narrowly ahead of Amazon. Last year’s leader, Netflix, was pushed down to the 5th spot, behind YouTube (#3) and Nike (#4). Uber was also the most-improved among African-Americans.

For Hispanics, YouTube is the best-perceived brand, followed by Netflix, with last year’s leader, Amazon, moving down to 3rd. Nike and Google rounded out the top 5 among Hispanics. Uber was again the most-improved brand among Hispanics, followed by Snapchat and Facebook.

Finally, Amazon topped the charts among parents, followed by Netflix. YouTube, Google and Nike rounded out the top 5, while Bank of America was the most-improved.

Category Leaders

Below are some quick highlights (limited to the US) of the brands topping the various category lists:

  • Southwest (13.8) led among airlines again, with second-placed JetBlue (5.0) trailing distantly;
  • Nike (19.0) led again in the Apparel and Footwear category, followed by Skechers (14.0);
  • Once again, none of the cable and satellite providers identified was able to crack a double-digit Buzz score, although DirecTV (7.4) again came closest, with Verizon FIOS (5.0) second;
  • GEICO (15.9) edged State Farm (15.6) once more in the insurance category;
  • Google’s winning Buzz Score of 25.6 in the internet search category was way ahead of Yahoo! (5.2), its nearest competitor; and
  • As the most improved social network for the third consecutive year (this time joined by Snapchat), Facebook (17.5) moved ahead of Pinterest (15.7) in the social rankings, though both trailed YouTube (28.4) by a wide margin;
  • Netflix (31.7) and YouTube (28.4) far surpassed the competition in the streaming category, with Amazon Instant Video/Prime Instant Video (13.8) and Pandora (13.4) well behind; and
  • The History Channel (18.4) took top honors among TV networks once more, followed by the Discovery Channel (14.8) and PBS (13.7).

About the Data: For the rankings, YouGov BrandIndex used its 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?”

The Buzz score ranges from 100 to -100 with a zero score equaling a neutral position. Example: A score of 35 means that 35% more people said they were positive than negative about the brand.

The research tracked 1,510 brands in the US, interviewing 4,800 people daily.

The margin of error is +/- 1%.

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