According to General Sentiment's fourth-quarter Media Value Report (which ascribes an advertising dollar amount to a brand's media exposure), consumer technology companies like Google and Microsoft lead its list of top-performing brands. According to the report, the two companies together generated about $1.3 billion in purchase-equivalent advertising through news coverage and social media chatter during the fourth quarter.
Sony, Apple, Intel, Yahoo, IBM and HP also made the top 10 companies that generated significant value out of free media, while Nokia, Dell, Cisco, GE and BlackBerry were in the top 20, according to the report.
"Tech companies do well, in part because of their impact in social media," Greg Artzt, CEO of General Sentiment, tells Marketing Daily. "They innovate and try to get people to talk about them."
In fact, the only two non-technology companies in the top 10 were Ford and Citi, which benefitted from heavy press coverage during the fourth quarter. Other companies in the top 20 that benefited from more traditional media coverage include blue-chip brands such as McDonald's, Disney and American Express. However, those five companies generated nowhere near the amount of coverage as the top two. Combined, the five non-technology companies generated only about $1.2 billion in paid advertising, less than Google and Microsoft.
"There are opportunities [in social media] for companies in other vertical categories to use social media," Artzt says. "They need to embrace social media in many different ways and be more proactive about it. They need to figure out what's working and what's not."
General Sentiment uses proprietary software to record the brand "chatter" among 30 million online sources and then compiles them into the Media Value report to determine what the equivalent would be in paid media. "The consumer voice carries with it power that companies could never produce themselves," Artzt says. "In this new age, media value measurement is one of the most valuable means of determining the effectiveness of marketing."