April 17, 2012

The impact of Social Media on top brands in The Netherlands

The Dutch Magazine of Marketing (Tijdschrift van Marketing) publishes in the April edition the results of a study conducted among the top 100 brands in The Netherlands based on their advertising budget. The study conducted by Greenberry analysed more than 1.8 million messages during a period of 3 months.As sources were used channels like Twitter, Facebook, Hyves (a popular Dutch social networking site) YouTube and various weblogs.
The results are quite interesting for a number of reasons; this is one of the few studies in the area to begin with. Furthermore (and maybe surprisingly) the well known 80/20 rule of thumb seems to apply also here : The 25 bigger brands are good for 80% of the total message volume. The top 25 brands had on the average 627 messages about them in the social media per day. Another finding is that the most "Social" brand is the Dutch Rail with 274.000 messages in 3 months (almost 3.000 per day) followed by the telecom KPN. The supermarket chain Alber Heijn is nr. 3 followed by the bank ING. Interestingly in the top 10 are included two more telecoms: T-Mobile (nr 5) and Vodafone (nr 7).
The picture is a bit different if we look to the reach of the messages: The average reach for the top 10 brands was 41 million users in the period of 3 months with the Dutch Railways (NS) on the top with 121 million. Interestingly the KPN who is nr 2 in the number of total messages is surpassed by T-Mobile as to the reach.
The sentiment of the messages was also analysed and here I think some of the toppers in the list of social activity and reach were less happy about the findings: The NS, Vodafone, KPN and T-Mobile are among the top 10 as to the negative sentiment of the messages! Being a social brand is therefore not the silver bullet. It seems that some of the most online social brands in Holland are social for the wrong reasons! The customer is talking about brands online but it seems that most of the talk is negative.