Love me do - The marketing KPIs to measure your brand love

Love me do - The marketing KPIs to measure your brand love

When the economy is volatile, there’s one marketing strategy you can still turn to. Brand love. It can build loyalty, advocacy, and even makes consumers more forgiving of price increases. In this blog, we look at marketing KPIs, like sentiment and engagement, that can help you track your brand love. To help you survive the current crisis.

See the world's 50 most loved brands

The Brand Love Story

Imagine being a loved brand. A company that people rave about. One that’s top of mind, constantly hitting headlines and ranking big with consumers. A brand that people love to love.

It’s not a difficult task. Any company has the potential to be a loved brand. Just take a look at our Brand Love Story 2020 report. We identified the 50 most loved brands from across the world, through the power of social listening. Highlighting just what these brands do to be loved. And what you can do too.

To start your love story, we’ve collected the data we used (a quarter of a billion conversations around 781 brands in 28 different industries - where else can you find data like that?), to help you benchmark the social media engagement and sentiment for your company. To see how you’re doing in your industry, and how you can improve. With extra insights that you can learn from other industries.

All data was taken BC (Before Corona), from 1 July to 31 December. Click below to jump to the industry of your choice.

Airlines Automotive
Broadcasters eCommerce
Fashion & Beauty Finance
Food Hospitality
Household Insurance
Investment Leisure
Manufacturing & Engineering Medical
Mining, utilities, fossil fuels Pharmaceutical
Professional Services Retail
Software & Technology Telecoms

Engagement vs sentiment analysis benchmark

First, let's look at overall engagement and sentiment.


For this, we looked at the total engagement for all the brand mentions. This could include likes, comments and shares on social media, reactions on news stories, interactions on forums and blogs, etc.


Sentiment is how people feel about those mentions. Using Talkwalker’s proprietary AI, we can identify if mentions are positive or negative, by analyzing the language, content and context of each mention.

When we compare this for all 781 brands, we get this correlation...

Marketing KPIs overall engagement vs net sentiment

781 brands compared using engagement against net sentiment

There’s a clear pattern across all these brands. As your engagement goes up - more people react to your brand - the more your overall sentiment drops - the more those interactions are negative. There were 25 brands with over 100 million engagements - the biggest brands in the world. Not one has a net sentiment over 75%.

As brands gain attention, the added visibility increases the likelihood of critics. You can’t please everyone all of the time, and an increased customer base makes it more challenging to meet all customer expectations.


You should constantly monitor your brand sentiment, to understand exactly how your audience is talking about your brand. We now know that as your business grows, you should expect some slight drop in sentiment. But sudden or drastic drops usually flag a crisis. And that needs crisis management.

Engagement rate vs sentiment

Engagement rate

Engagement rate helps you compare your brand against your competitors. If you post a lot, you might get a lot of total engagement. But a competitor could be getting that same engagement through fewer posts - getting more for their time and efforts.

Engagement rate is the total engagement divided by total mentions. The higher the number, the better.

Marketing KPIs overall engagement rate vs net sentiment

Though less obvious, we can see that sentiment drops as engagement rate increases

A great engagement rate helps spread your content to more people, sharing your message with a wider audience. By comparing engagement rate to sentiment, we can see another decline over time.

Overall, for all brands, the average net sentiment is 61.5% and average engagement rate is 8.32. How does your brand compare?


Virality is great - it helps get your content to more people. But it also opens you up to a bigger risk, with an increased chance of negative comments or responses. Monitor your viral content constantly, and respond to detractors quickly, to prevent unwanted backlash.

The industry marketing KPI

Below we’ve looked at a broad selection of the industries we analyzed for the Brand Love Story, to help marketing teams with their social media benchmarking. For each, we’ve plotted the engagement rates and sentiment for each brand on a graph, with a trendline and an industry average brand rating marked in red.


Average sentiment - 49.4%

Average engagement rate - 13.73

Marketing KPIs Airlines engagement rate vs net sentiment

For the 24 airline companies we analyzed, generally the engagement rate was quite high, while sentiment was a little low. People love to mention airlines alongside posts about holidays and travel, which often garners a lot of passive engagement. But the expectation is high, and with the potential for travel disruptions, consumers are highly critical of airlines, causing the lower sentiment rate.


Respond to customer complaints online quickly. The longer they’re left without an action, the more they’ll be shared, and your sentiment will be dragged down. Focus on your destinations for easy engagement wins.

For airlines, engagement is all about the destination.


Average sentiment - 59.9%

Average engagement rate - 7.75

Marketing KPIs Automotive engagement rate vs net sentiment

With 30 automotive brands analyzed, the industry is quite similar to the global averages. Often, aspiration posts of the latest cars help drive sentiment and engagement. But some crises impacting several car brands has caused the sentiment overall to crash.


Automotive engagement is a mixed bag. Much is down to stunning visuals, showing the cars (and the lifestyle) they have to offer. Yet other consumers want more valuable content, led by comparisons and efficient figures.


Average sentiment - 45.8%

Average engagement rate - 11.42

Marketing KPIs Broadcasters engagement rate vs net sentiment

For the 11 broadcasters we assessed, it’s easy to see why the engagement rate is high, but sentiment low. People love to engage with their favorite shows, sharing and liking content associated with their fanbase. But sentiment is tough. A new show can promote positive sentiment, but a cancelation or disappointing ending to a series, can easily drag the sentiment of the brand down.

For broadcasters, it’s the shows and personalities that drive engagement. But the love/hate they generate impacts sentiment.


Listen to the social media chatter to identify which new shows are generating buzz. Then focus content around those shows to drive extra engagement and increased sentiment.


Average sentiment - 61.6%

Average engagement rate - 6.65

Marketing KPIs Broadcasters engagement rate vs net sentiment

For the 11 eCommerce brands, one stood out significantly, with industry leading engagement levels. This dragged the average engagement rate up across the industry, to a level they would have struggled to obtain otherwise. This was due to people focused more on the product rather than the seller, when it came to conversations in the industry. The overall sentiment was fairly strong, as people support the companies providing them with their consumer needs (often at incomparable prices).


While focusing on products short term will drive sales, it won’t help build your brand. Intermingle brand-led content into your strategy to help build loyalty and overall sentiment.

Fashion & beauty

Average sentiment - 66.5%

Average engagement rate - 6.63

Marketing KPIs Fashion & Beauty engagement rate vs net sentiment

The fashion and beauty industry, with 67 brands analyzed, bucked the trend with net sentiment increasing alongside engagement rate. Sentiment is high, with people attracted by inspiring outfits and engaging social media content. No wonder so many brands from this sector made our top 50 list.


Aspiration is the name of the game. Your social media isn’t just there to promote a brand, but a lifestyle. By focusing on this, you’ll drive higher sentiment, while meaningful conversations with your community will help boost engagement.

Discover the world’s most loved brands


Average sentiment - 50.7%

Average engagement rate - 6.90

Marketing KPIs Finance engagement rate vs net sentiment

The sentiment rate of the 55 finance brands is low, as consumers struggle to connect emotionally in a very logical industry. However, the engagement rate isn’t as low as expected. People are still liking, as the industry engages with the conversations relevant to consumers, and building relationships through things like sport sponsorships.


Just because you’re discussing finance, doesn’t mean you can forget the human element behind the industry. Focus on developing those connections to boost engagement rates.

Partnerships and supporting communities helps drive positive engagement for financial brands.


Average sentiment - 58.2%

Average engagement rate - 10.27

Marketing KPIs Food engagement rate vs net sentiment

We all love food. And for the 90 food brands and restaurant chains we looked at, that’s fairly clear. People actively engage with these companies, with many leading the way with creative advertising and marketing.

So again, they buck the trend with sentiment increasing alongside engagement rate. But with issues related to health and fitness bubbling around the brands, the sentiment is a little below global average.


While boosting your engagement with creative marketing may help, don’t forget to adapt your messaging to tackling the issues that consumers have. Whether that’s around your brand or your industry.


Average sentiment - 73.2%

Average engagement rate - 13.49

Marketing KPIs Hospitality engagement rate vs net sentiment

Hospitality benefits from the conversations linked to travel and holidays, much like the airline industry. Plus, many of the 25 brands we analyzed, were aspirational brands, with high levels of customer service. This means that overall, the industry has significantly higher engagement rates and sentiment, and again, the sentiment does increase alongside engagement rate.


Holidays can be a once in a lifetime experience, with massive emotional connections. For real engagement, focus on the experience your brand is offering and how that impacts people’s lives.

For many hospitality brands, it’s the experience that generates the mentions (and engagement).


Average sentiment - 60.5%

Average engagement rate - 5.96

Marketing KPIs Household engagement rate vs net sentiment

Household is a varied category, made up of 44 different non-food CPG/FMCG names. Because of this, the figures are quite middleground. Below average engagement, near average net sentiment. But with some prominent trendsetters that are connecting with their audience better, mainly because they’re leaders in their category - making the most of category insights.


Try to define your position in the marketplace, and really get to understand the pain points your consumers are facing. This will allow you to adapt your content to meet your consumer needs, leading to better results.


Average sentiment - 69.5%

Average engagement rate - 6.84

Marketing KPIs Insurance engagement rate vs net sentiment

Insurance is similar to finance, often associated with dry, practical products. But emotion is still rife in the industry - usually focused on the prevention or recovery of loss. That’s what many of our 17 insurance brands do - focus on the benefits, not the risks. Building strong sentiment levels, but with slightly low engagement rates.


Though it’s tempting to focus on the risks that people face without insurance, that won’t help boost your sentiment. Look for the positive stories, and promote them to get a more engaged community.

Insurance brands need to focus on positives outcomes, not negative risks, to drive engagement.


Average sentiment - 66.6

Average engagement rate - 5.80

Marketing KPIs Investment engagement rate vs net sentiment

Much like insurance, the investment industry is a logical one. Yet one still packed with emotion. This keeps the sentiment high, as people aim to profit and strive for a better future, while the engagement rate is a little low. Highlighting the lack of content that truly drives consumers to connect.


Make the most of emotionally charged content - what can people achieve with the right investments? This aspiration will boost sentiment levels, and build stronger connections.


Average sentiment - 64.1%

Average engagement rate - 8.10

Marketing KPIs Leisure engagement rate vs net sentiment

The 21 brands we reviewed for leisure (sports, hobbies, and gaming) have a fairly average set of numbers. Some outsiders with strong engagement rates, often linked to popular fanbases, pull the score up. While sentiment is fairly strong across the board, showing people love their hobbies, whether popular or niche.

For some, you may be a brand. For others, you may be something more.


Fan bases are key to this industry. Make sure you understand what makes yours tick, even if it is niche. This will maximize sentiment, leading to more advocates and therefore a bigger audience.

Manufacturing & engineering

Average sentiment - 77.2%

Average engagement rate - 5.41

Marketing KPIs Manufacturing & engineering engagement rate vs net sentiment

On average, these 40 brands attract a more B2B audience. With a more specific market in mind. With lower levels of engagement, but higher levels of sentiment, they shape their marketing and PR to fit the needs of the audience. The industry may impact fewer people, but for those it does, they love it.


Keep on top of your industry trends, and try to drive conversations with your consumers. Though it may be a more B2B relationship, your customers are still human, and will engage with more approachable content.


Average sentiment - 75.2%

Average engagement rate - 13.88

Marketing KPIs Medical engagement rate vs net sentiment

The 26 medical suppliers and hospital brands we assessed, were driving significant engagement and sentiment rates. This is down to these companies changing people’s lives through treatments and cures, with the positive news and social media stories these stories create.


Focus on the positive stores that your industry generates. There’s plenty of risks and issues that the industry faces, but people will engage more with the positive stories that you tell.

Engagement comes from highlighting the humanity within your brand - especially the employees making the big difference.

Mining, utilities, fossil fuels

Average sentiment - 51.0%

Average engagement rate - 8.04

Marketing KPIs Utilities, mining, fuel engagement rate vs net sentiment

The utilities industry is essential, but also controversial. Maybe people fear the impact of such industries, which caused our 36 industries to suffer from negative sentiment. Engagement is generally higher, but that’s often due to the topic being quite inflammatory.


Caution is key here. Look for critics and issues, and respond to them. There’s no benefit in trying to bury issues, so face them head on. Your audience will appreciate the transparency.


Average sentiment - 61.6%

Average engagement rate - 10.99

Marketing KPIs Pharmaceutical engagement rate vs net sentiment

Of the 21 pharmaceutical brands, the engagement rate generally sits below the 20 mark, with a wide spectrum of sentiment. However, there was one significant outlier that gained a huge engagement rate, through a real connection with their audience. Even in such a difficult industry, it’s still possible to build relationships with relevant consumers.


The people you’re helping are still a community. Make it a priority to help them, not just through medicines, but through life, and they’ll actively connect with your brand.

Which pharma company is a most loved brand?

Professional services

Average sentiment - 75.0%

Average engagement rate - 4.56

Marketing KPIs Professional Services engagement rate vs net sentiment

The 20 professional services we looked at, offering a range of services and solutions for businesses, have a similar standing to the manufacturing industry. Targeting specific audiences to build sentiment, but receiving limited engagement in return.


Again, don’t think that your audience is too niche. They have connected with you for a reason, so maximize your customer insights to ensure you’re creating relevant, engaging content.

Understanding your audience and their needs helps build a deeper engagement.


Average sentiment - 54.8%

Average engagement rate - 10.20

Marketing KPIs Retail engagement rate vs net sentiment

The 50 retail brands we included, often engage in the promotion of food products, leading to a similar pattern with high engagement, but lower sentiment. The sentiment is also lowered by customer service issues, which are inevitable when dealing with a wide section of the public.


Don’t just focus on the products you sell. Look towards your community, and generate brand-led content that tackles their issues, to help build sentiment around your name.

Software & technology

Average sentiment - 71.4%

Average engagement rate - 5.08

Marketing KPIs Software & Technology engagement rate vs net sentiment

Technology is a prominent industry, with people connecting with it more than ever. The 78 software and technology brands had a high sentiment rate, demonstrating the emotional connection we have formed with tech. While engagement is lower, despite some outlying leaders.


Tech’s sentiment is often driven from within, led by your loyal employees. Turn them into advocates to broaden your brand appeal, and to create PR-boosting news stories.

Appreciating your employees helps drive engagement, from the inside out.


Average sentiment - 53.6%

Average engagement rate - 8.68

Marketing KPIs Telecoms engagement rate vs net sentiment

For our 39 telecoms brands, both sentiment and engagement rate are slightly lower than average. There’s a balance between people needing to stay connected, yet facing the technical and connectivity challenges that are high in the industry. Conversations are often led by people trying to show one brand as better than another.


The importance of connection is literal in the telecoms industry. Look beyond your brand as a product, to the emotional need it fulfills, and how that impacts your consumers every day.

Further competitive analysis

This blog isn’t here to replace detailed competitor analysis. We only look at two marketing KPIs-

  • Brand engagement - The engagement rate of all mentions of a brand across social media, news, blogs and forums.
  • Sentiment - The net sentiment of all of those mentions.

For true competitive analysis, you should dive deeper into the other marketing metrics of your competing brands.

  • Social media channel engagement - Do you have better engagement on Twitter? Does your competitors’ content perform better on Facebook? Every social channel has a different audience, so analyze each one separately to learn what works and what doesn’t.
  • Audience analysis - Are you hitting the right demographic? Are competitors profiting by targeting a niche market? Look at the audience you are all targeting.
  • Conversation topics - Are you talking about what your audience wants to hear? Have you competitors found a trend to jump on? Take a look and start producing more relevant content.

With this information to hand, you will be able to boost your marketing efforts with more data driven decisions. Check out Meg’s competitor analysis guide to find out more.

Establish your marketing KPIs

Next time you’re planning your marketing strategy, and need to include those all important KPIs for your social listening, take another look at how your industry is performing. By learning the positives and negatives each industry has to tackle, it will help shape all your marketing campaigns to build stronger consumer relationships. And ultimately, brand love.

To discover more about what it takes to be a loved brand, and the top 50 global brands, download the full report below. You’re going to love it...

Marketing KPIs CTA