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The iPhone reigns as the #1 most social brand, outscoring its innovator and parent, Apple, which ranks at #3, according to social media marketer Vitrue, which has compiled its first-ever ranking of the top 100 social brands of 2008.

Overall, Apple dominates the Vitrue 100 list by also securing its iPod at #7 and the Mac legacy brand at #16.

The list comprises a mix of blue-chip brands that Vitrue deems to be successfully establishing their social presence and commanding attention and engagement online. The algorithmically created list includes top brands from various industries and product categories.

Vitrue’s Top 100:

vitrue-top-social-brands-2008.jpg

Industry and Company Highlights

In addition to Apple brands in the first and third spots, the rest of the top-10 social brands are: #2 CNN, #4 Disney, #5 Xbox, #6 Starbucks, #8 MTV, #9 Sony and #10 Dell.

Microsoft has two brands in the top 15, with #5 Xbox and #11 Microsoft, while Sony captures #9 and its PlayStation comes in at #15, Vitrue said.

Media and entertainment brands lead the top 20 in number of spots, including #2 CNN, #4 Disney, #5 Xbox, #8 MTV, #9 Sony, #13 Nintendo, #15 PlayStation, #17 Turner and #19 Fox News.

Only one specialty brand, #6 Starbucks, one retail brand, #14 Target, and one auto manufacturer, #12 Ford, broke the top 20.

Where is Google?

Vitrue also noted that some well-known technology brands – such as Google, Yahoo and Facebook – were omitted from the list because they serve as the backbone of social networks themselves. While many of these companies are top brands in their own right, Vitrue said its list measures companies that are using social technology, rather than those who are the technology.

“We know marketers need a way to measure success and create benchmarks to track their efforts over time, while our industry needs directional trends to help define who is doing well and who can do better engaging their consumers online,”said Reggie Bradford, CEO of Vitrue.

Vitrue said it established its top 100 list to help bring credibility and clarity to the social media space. “The Vitrue 100 helps define who is winning, who could be doing better and provides the industry with overall trends,” Bradford said.

About the rankings: The Vitrue 100 is the result of Vitrues daily analysis of more than 2,000 popular brands and nd is based on the firm’s Social Media Index (SMI) which algorithmically captures a brand’s share of voice on the social web (including a variety of social networking, blogging, micro-blogging, photo and video-sharing sites). The Vitrue 100 was determined by averaging the SMI scores for each brand across each day in December 2008. The result is a ranked list of the brands which are most talked about on the social web.

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