Social Media Engagement Directly Linked to Financial Success

July 21, 2009

Starbucks is the world’s #1 most socially engaged brand and is reaping financial rewards as a result of its intense participation in social media, according to an analysis of the engagement levels of the top 100 global brands, reports MarketingVOX.


The ENGAGEMENT db study claims to be the first to show a measurable correlation between higher levels of social engagement and superior financial performance.

Conducted by Altimeter Group’s Charlene Li in partnership with Wetpaint, the research set out to devise a way to objectively evaluate the depth and breadth of various brand marketing efforts across all social media. The resulting criterion, “engagement” was calculated by measuring each brand’s participation in various channels and examining how deeply involved various departments and executives were with each channel.

“The World’s Most Valuable Brands. Who’s Most Engaged?” (pdf)? looks at engagement of the top 100 global brands in more than 10 social media channels, including Twitter, Facebook, blogs, wikis and discussion forums.

Key survey findings:

  • A brand’s depth of engagement can be measured.
  • As the number of social media channels increase, overall engagement increases at a faster rate.
  • Engagement differs by industry, with media and technology brands exhibiting the highest engagement levels and financial and food & beverage brands exhibiting the lowest levels. Starbucks is classified in the “leisure” industry.
  • Brands in the survey are partitioned into one of four types based on the number of social media channels they participate in. The most engaged are “Mavens.” Other categories are “Butterflies” “Selectives” and the least engaged,”Wallflowers.” Among the least engaged brands: Allianz, AIG and Mercedes-Benz.
  • Financial performance correlates with engagement. Companies that are both deeply and widely engaged in social media significantly surpass their peers in both revenues and profits. For example, The study found that “Mavens” typically enjoyed revenue growth of 18% on average over the last 12 months, while Wallflowers saw revenues fall 6%.

Other recent research by Vitrue found Apple’s iPhone to be the world’s most social brand, but did not link social media engagement with financial success.


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