Social media on the brand-intimacy rebound, but issues remain

by | May 10, 2019 | Public Relations

The social platforms and apps industry continued its downward trajectory in brand intimacy rankings last year, and although it managed to turn the arc upwards this year, the sector still ranked 10th out of the 15 studied in MBLM‘s Brand Intimacy 2019 Study, the largest study of brands based on emotions, rising two spots since 2018.

Pinterest topped the industry, followed by Spotify and Pandora. The remaining brands in the Top 10 for the apps & social platforms industry were: Instagram, Apple Music, Facebook, Snapchat, Uber, Airbnb and Venmo.

“Although a ubiquitous part of our daily routine, apps and social platform brands continued to underperform in our 2019 study,” said Mario Natarelli, managing partner at MBLM, in a news release. “These brands are perceived as free utilities. They rank lowest in the smartphone ecosystem and now trust is emerging as a key challenge as these brands try to mature. However, strong performers such as Pinterest are creating powerful bonds—especially with women.”

Social media on the brand-intimacy rebound, but issues remain

Other significant apps & social platforms industry findings include:

  • The category increased its average Brand Intimacy Quotient from 18.0 in last year’s study to 25.4 in 2019
  • Pinterest doubled its score of 22.0 in 2018 to 44.9 this year
  • Last year’s leader, Apple Music, fell to the #5 position
  • Pinterest was the #1 brand for women
  • Spotify was the #1 brand for men
  • Pinterest was also the #1 brand for millennials, users over 35, users with incomes under $75,000, and those with higher incomes

MBLM took a deeper dive into Pinterest’s success in its “Pin It to Win It” article, analyzing the platform’s swift rise from the fourth spot last year to the top spot this year. The brand is loved by women and is starting to see increased interest from men, who made up 50 percent of new sign-ups in 2018.

Pinterest also builds deeper connections than any other social media brand and inspires some of the strongest associations in the category and in the overall study. Consumers’ feelings about brands in the industry can change quickly since there are few barriers to adoption, switching or abandonment. Brands like Pinterest have a unique advantage since they already have created strong emotional attachments with consumers.

Why brand intimacy matters

Brand Intimacy is defined as the emotional science that measures the bonds we form with the brands we use and love. Top intimate brands outperformed the top Fortune 500 and S&P indexed brands in both revenue and profit over the past 10 years, according to the study. The average revenue growth from 2008-2017 was 8.68 percent for the top 10 most intimate brands, compared to 3.66 percent for Fortune 500 top brands and 4.75 percent for top S&P companies.

In dollar value, this translates on average to the top 10 intimate brands having $37 billion more in total revenue over a 10-year period compared to the Fortune 500. This has significant implications for apps & social media brands, many of whom have volatile profitability and growth histories, including Spotify, which turned a profit for the first time in Q1 2019 and Facebook, which lost $100 billion in value last year.

Social media on the brand-intimacy rebound, but issues remain

View the apps & social platforms industry findings here.

Listen to an on-demand webinar on the findings here.

Download the full Brand Intimacy 2019 Study here.

During 2018, MBLM with Praxis Research Partners conducted an online quantitative survey among 6,200 consumers in the U.S. (3,000), Mexico (2,000), and the United Arab Emirates (1,200). Participants were respondents who were screened for age (18 to 64 years of age) and annual household income ($35,000 or more) in the U.S. and socioeconomic levels in Mexico and the UAE (A, B and C socioeconomic levels).

Richard Carufel
Richard Carufel is editor of Bulldog Reporter and the Daily ’Dog, one of the web’s leading sources of PR and marketing communications news and opinions. He has been reporting on the PR and communications industry for over 17 years, and has interviewed hundreds of journalists and PR industry leaders. Reach him at richard.carufel@bulldogreporter.com; @BulldogReporter


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