Facebook repeats as most-loved brand of 2017

A social media study shows Facebook is the brand that inspires millennial passion. (NetBase)

Is it any surprise that a company that ranks “brand passion” by social media mentions would find that the 10 most-loved global companies have a major online presence?

NetBase, a Santa Clara, California-based firm that specializes in enterprise social analytics, released its 3rd Annual NetBase Brand Passion Report: Top 100 Global Brand Love List on Aug. 15—and the choices of millennials (also known as the Net Generation) topped the list.

The top 10 brands of social media users included (from highest ranking to lowest): Facebook, Amazon, eBay, Apple, Snap, Disney, Pokémon Go, Etsy, Netflix and Sony.

The researchers compiled the results by examining more than 367 million social media mentions and then ranking the most loved brands in technology (above), consumer goods (Zara and Nike), automotive (Ford and Tesla), food and beverage (McDonald’s and Starbucks), luxury goods (Gucci and Louis Vuitton), retail (Best Buy and Target) and telecommunications (T-Mobile and AT&T).

“Technology companies continue to dominate as the most-loved brands, but what fascinates us are the brands that make their appearance on the list for the first time, like Tesla and Puma,” said NetBase CMO Paige Leidig, adding, “The brands are a good mix of young and mature companies and positive movement can be attributed to brands making strong connections with their customers and launching innovative social campaigns.”

Indeed, the newbies on the list, (from highest to lowest, with exact ranking noted), included: Snap (at No. 5), Uber (11), Zara (13), Lyft (27), Tesla (28), American Express (40), Puma (41), HBO (46), Hulu (63) and Converse (64).

Another eye-opener: Although technology companies led the list, there are more food and beverage producers among the total top 100 than companies in any other sector—with nearly 20% (19 brands) among those beloved by consumers.

When it comes to brand love, there is a big difference between "like" and "love," NetBase said. The company claims that its technology can measure the strongest emotions shared about brands. What’s more, NetBase asserts, “Brands that know how their customers feel can cultivate strong relationships to set a foundation for future brand growth. This insight is invaluable as the more passion for the brand, the less the consumer relies on price as the deciding factor.”

The NetBase Brand Passion Report 2017 is based on brand conversations across social networks, review sites, blogs, forums and news sites worldwide—including Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Tumblr and millions of other sources—during the 1-year period from May 2016 through July 2017. The report can be downloaded here.

By contrast, another, more general brand ranking performed this year—by Washington, D.C.-based Morning Consult Intelligence, which conducts weekly polls of 2,000 national registered voters—found that the top 10 most-loved brands are Amazon, Google, UPS, Hershey, FedEx, Campbell Soup, YouTube, Sony, Home Depot and Lowe’s.