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With almost 6 million shares, and owing to the success of campaigns such as Project Glass: One Day, Google takes the top spot as the most shared advertiser of 2012, finds Unruly Media, based on data from January 1-November 22. The 5.9 million shares attracted by Google represented a 197% increase from that same time period last year, and vaulted the search engine to the top spot from the #7 ranking last year. In second place was Nike, which drew 166% more shares than last year (5.5 million), jumping from the 6th spot.

This year’s top 10 list featured a number of new entrants. TNT Benelux, with almost 4.4 million shares, entered at the #3 spot, after not even making the top 100 list last year. Coca-Cola, also a new entrant, in 6th, experienced the biggest increase in shares of the top 10, up an impressive 485%. The other new entrants to the list were Abercrombie & Fitch (#7), Samsung (#8), and P&G (#9). Volkswagen, last year’s most shared social video brand, fell 9 spots to the 10th ranking.

Overall, the top 10 brands accounted for more than 36 million video shares.

Non-Profit Gets Most Viral Video Ad

While search giant Google took top billing among brands, a small non-profit won top honors for the single most-shared video ad of the year, according to earlier data from Unruly. Kony 2012, from the non-profit Invisible Children, generated almost 10.1 million shares between its launch on March 5 and the end of the reporting period on November 21.

To put the success of Kony 2012 in perspective, the next most-viral ad, TNT’s A Dramatic Surprise On A Quiet Square, did not even crack 5 million shares, while the third most-shared ad, Abercrombie & Fitch’s Call Me Maybe did not break 2.5 million shares. Rounding out the top 5 were Gymkhana 5 from DC Shoes (2.3 million shares) and P&G’s Best Job (2.2 million shares). DC Shoes was 1 of only 3 brands to make the top 10 last year and this year. The others were Volkswagen and Red Bull.

Overall, shares of the top 500 ads of the year reached 113 million this year, up 21% from 93.3 million last year.

Top Trends Feature Hike in Ad Shares, Missed Opportunities

Unruly also released a report [download page] featuring its top 5 social video trends for this year. The top trend identified was the increase in video ad shares – with the number of shares across the top 10 ads jumping from 16.8 million last year to 28 million this year, a 67% increase. (Some of that rise can be attributed to the remarkable success of the Kony 2012 ad, though. Last year’s most viral ad had 4.7 million shares.)

Unruly’s study also points to missed opportunities for advertisers. Despite this year featuring 3 substantial events – the London Olympics, the European Championships, and the US Presidential Elections – those events did not make much of a splash. The Olympics and the European Championships featured only a single viral ad each in the top 20, while the elections did not feature any. And the Super Bowl only managed to send 2 ads to the top 20.

The other trends identified by Unruly were: the growth of brands creating content specifically optimized for sharing; the rise in videos viewed on mobile devices; and the increase in brand focus on metrics.

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