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The marketing KPIs to benchmark your brand love

The marketing KPIs to benchmark your brand love

Building brand love is an essential step to post-lockdown success. But what marketing KPIs should you be measuring to monitor your love?

In this blog, I break down the data from our Brand Love Story 2021, to help you benchmark how your brand is doing within your industry. With some quick tips on how to boost your figures in 2021.

Download the full Brand Love Story 2021

What is brand love?

To identify the world’s most loved brands for our latest report, we looked at organic social conversations, keyword identifiers, the brand media perception, and more. Full details can be found within the Brand Love Story, with a detailed look at how the most loved brands topped the charts. And how you can replicate their success.

To get to our initial shortlist from over 1,200 brands, we initially looked at two marketing KPIs:

Average engagement

Average engagement is the average number of engagements per brand mention. This could be likes, shares, retweets, comments, etc., across a variety of owned or earned mentions. The higher the average engagement, the more your audience interacts with brand stories. A clear sign that they’re connected.

Net sentiment

Net sentiment uses sentiment analysis to understand consumers’ perception of the brand. It can range from -100% (every mention is negative) to +100% (every mention is positive). A loved brand should be perceived as positively as possible.

These two marketing metrics can help you understand how consumers feel about your brand. And by looking at how your competitors are doing within your industry, you can see whether you're outperforming (or underperforming) in your market.

How to use this data to benchmark your brand

1. Find your metrics

Use a social listening tool to identify your average net sentiment and average engagement scores. For the data below, we monitored from 01/07/2020 to 01/04/2021.

2. See how you compare with your competitors

Find your industry below, and see how you compare to your industry average. Do customers love you more? Are people engaging with other brands more often than you? If your industry isn’t listed, you can compare your figures against the global average. Competitor analysis is essential to understand your brand’s place in the world.

3. Learn how you can improve

I’ve included some tips and resources that you can use to improve your figures in the future. Don’t forget to constantly monitor these numbers, to help you detect brand crises or optimize engaging campaigns.

You can jump straight to your industry by clicking the links below. On each graph, a logarithmic trendline helps you compare your positioning, while the red point is the industry average.

Airlines | Automotive | Broadcasters
E-commerce | Fashion & Beauty | Finance
FMCG | Food | Hospitality
Household | Leisure | Manufacturing & engineering
Medical | Pharmaceuticals | Retail
Technology & Software | Telecoms

Global benchmark

Brands compared: 1,228

Average engagement: 10.9

Average net sentiment: +23.40%

Looking at the data for all 1228 brands we analyzed, we can see a clear trend, similar to last year. As your levels of engagement go up, your brand sentiment goes down. The more your brand engages, the bigger your potential reach. This opens you up to more criticism and negativity.

This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t push for more engagement. Just remember, you can’t please everyone all the time - and that’s especially true as your brand grows. Keep monitoring effectively, and tackle negative issues as they arise to prevent possible crises.

The above graph can help you compare your brand’s net sentiment and average engagement, to see if you are performing better, or worse, than average.

Airlines marketing KPIs

Brands compared: 46

Average engagement: 15.51

Average net sentiment: -12.30%

The airline industry had a turbulent lockdown, with travel severely impacted. The challenge of cancelling flights and offering timely refunds meant that engagement stayed around average, but net sentiment plummeted.

As the industry slowly recovers, expect the numbers to take off, as consumers finally enjoy their long awaited vacations.

Brand love booster tip

The near future is packed with opportunities. As lockdowns are eased, people can finally put those long awaited travel plans into action. Campaigns that capture the imagination will help you gain engagement, and uplift your sentiment.

See how Hong Kong airlines turned a crisis to a success

Automotive marketing KPIs

Brands compared: 47

Average engagement: 11.19

Average net sentiment: +33.57%

The automotive industry performed fairly well during the lockdown, with sentiment being pretty positive. A lot of this was linked to consumers longing to travel. While not possible during the lockdown, many were still looking for opportunities to get out on road trips as soon as they could.

Brand love booster tip

As one crisis subsides, people are still aware of others on the horizon. For the automotive industry, the impact of cars on the environment is still a volatile issue. Tackling it head on will win over consumers.

Discover insights from Tesla’s marketing strategy

Broadcasters marketing KPIs

Brands compared: 30

Average engagement: 17.58

Average net sentiment: +11.30%

Measuring brand sentiment for broadcasters can be tricky, as often the sentiment of the stories and shows they cover can decrease their love. During the lockdown, this was particularly noticeable. However, they do garner more engagement, as they encourage more readers to interact across social media channels.

Brand love booster tip

Don’t let the stories you cover overshadow your brand. Create frequent brand-focused content that reconnects you to your consumers. It’ll be especially effective if you can focus on the issues that your audience particularly engage with.

Download our latest media & entertainment report

E-commerce marketing KPIs

Brands compared: 19

Average engagement: 5.91

Average net sentiment: +36.5%

The typical e-commerce strategy usually leads to fairly good sentiment but lower brand engagement. This is often because the messaging is focused on the latest product being sold, rather than the brand itself. Yes, it helps drive revenue, and consumers often love these products. But that sentiment doesn’t always diffuse to the brand itself - leading to lower brand engagement.

Brand love booster tip

Don’t prioritize products over brand. If your strategy relies on promoting third party products, you run the risk of your audience engaging with them rather than your company. Either regularly include brand promotion in your strategy, or ensure your brand/product synergy is so tight that your customers can’t imagine one without the other.

Discover how brands are making more from e-commerce

Fashion & Beauty marketing KPIs

Brands compared: 99

Average engagement: 11.88

Average net sentiment: +46.5%

The fashion and beauty industry bucked the trend, with more engaging brands gaining better net sentiment. This love was driven by influencers and user-generated content promoting the latest products. People caught in lockdown found this particular type of infotainment engaging, leading to both a high engagement and net sentiment rate for the industry.

Brand love booster tip

Make the most of this influencer resurgence. Look for the thriving communities that are already connecting with your brand, and engage with them through your marketing. Don’t just rely on influencers with large audiences, nano- and micro-influencers are important too for maximum engagement with minimal outlay.

Finance marketing KPIs

Brands compared: 112

Average engagement: 9.09

Average net sentiment: +5.32%

Finance was a major consumer conversation during lockdown. Due to the changes in the economy, job losses, and the subsequent financial burden, consumers were desperate for information on how to tackle their finances. This did mean an increase in engagement - people wanted to talk more openly about finance - but it also led to lower levels of net sentiment for the industry.

Brand love booster tip

Consumers are clamoring for financial advice, and control. The brands that can provide people with the (free) information they need to help get them through the current financial climate, will quickly win an adoring audience.

Download our latest Finance industry report

FMCG marketing KPIs

Brands compared: 17

Average engagement: 10.42

Average net sentiment: +41.7%

FMCG had a fairly stable performance overall. Containing many essential goods, consumers remained loyal, to maintain an element of stability in a turbulent time. This meant that net sentiment was fairly high across the board.

It wasn’t smooth sailing though. Supply issues were a constant cause of concern in the sector, impacting some brands significantly. The next challenge will be adapting to more consumers switching to online shopping.

Brand love booster tip

Buying habits changed drastically during the lockdown. Potentially forever. While consumers will be loyal to the brands they’ve always loved, you still need to adapt your messaging (and availability) for this more e-commerce-driven user base.

Food marketing KPIs

Brands compared: 152

Average engagement: 8.94

Average net sentiment: +23.1%

The food industry should have seen similar levels to FMCG, as consumers focused on their favorite brands for lockdown comfort. But there were several industry stories that pulled the sentiment levels down. Meat and poultry producers were often linked to COVID-19 clusters, causing some negativity. While the rebranding of several products to remove controversial names also impacted brand sentiment.

Brand love booster tip

You can’t rest on your laurels. The past year has demonstrated that numerous external factors can drastically impact, and potentially destroy, a brand. Be aware of your consumer conversations, and constantly adapt to meet their expectations. Not just through content marketing, but product expectations as well.

Discover how the pandemic affected the consumer goods industry

Hospitality marketing KPIs

Brands compared: 40

Average engagement: 10.71

Average net sentiment: +20.0%

The hospitality industry didn’t do too badly, considering the situation. With many hotels and restaurants closed, there were numerous negative conversations bubbling in the industry about cancellations and missing refunds.

But, as lockdowns started to ease, people looked to the future. Potential travel plans and family get-togethers boosted engagement and sentiment levels for the brands. With some of the biggest brands profiting from this trend the most.

Brand love booster tip

Now is the time to shine. The desire to travel will be at its highest level in several years. Play up to aspiration, and demonstrate to consumers what they’ve been missing out on. Inspiring visual content will be a fantastic way to boost engagement.

Household marketing KPIs

Brands compared: 52

Average engagement: 11.81

Average net sentiment: +32.2%

Household brands had a similar story to FMCG, with consumers trusting their favorite brands to get them through lockdown. The biggest impact on sentiment was how often the industry was tied to COVID-19, as many consumers looked for household products that would provide additional protection.

Brand love booster tip

Similar to FMCG, you’ll need to adapt your marketing team strategy to account for changing buying habits. As people switch to more online shopping, prioritize being top of mind in the digital landscape, so you aren’t forgotten.

Leisure marketing KPIs

Brands compared: 44

Average engagement: 11.66

Average net sentiment: +19.1%

The leisure industry had fairly average scores, considering they were providing consumers the distractions they needed to escape lockdown. But the impact COVID-19 had on the movie industry did bring down the figures, as people missed the cinema experience. As production kicks back in, expect figures to go back up again, as people get access to more entertainment forms again.

Brand love booster tip

The lockdown helped to expand numerous fanbases, as people looked for new entertainment opportunities. As ‘normality’ returns, don’t forget about those new consumers. Nurture them through various levels of content, so they don’t drift away when their old distractions return.

Manufacturing & engineering marketing KPIs

Brands compared: 62

Average engagement: 6.93

Average net sentiment: +42.3%

Generally, the manufacturing and engineering industry rely on B2B business, so often social media isn’t a priority. But don’t forget, B2B clients are regular people too. They still want to connect. Several big engineering brands still took the opportunity to gain more brand engagement from positive lockdown stories.

Brand love booster tip

Just because your industry doesn’t traditionally lead online conversations, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try. Like I said, business buyers are people too - they’ll want to get engaged in the communities that matter to them. Provide them with the content and space to do so, and you’ll help build a community loyal to your brand.

Medical marketing KPIs

Brands compared: 26

Average engagement: 17.09

Average net sentiment: +49.1%

In a time of crisis, the medical industry were the heroes we wanted. With many brands providing the care and medicines people needed for survival, conversations around the industry increased. Including significant levels of net sentiment and average engagement.

Brand love booster tip

Consumers are now more aware of the medical community and brands around them - and the good these brands do within their communities. Continue nurturing this sentiment, with ‘behind-the-scenes’ style content that increases the awareness of your brand’s impact.

Pharmaceuticals marketing KPIs

Brands compared: 31

Average engagement: 9.22

Average net sentiment: +15.3%

For the pharmaceutical industry, the crisis was a double-edged sword. Some brands created vaccines, and led the way to ending the pandemic. But others suffered from misinformation relating to the crisis, which had a negative impact on their net sentiment. Stories don’t have to be true to impact brand perception.

Brand love booster tip

The heightened awareness of pharma isn’t going to go away soon. You should focus on education, to help counteract the issues created through misinformation. Whether that is as a brand, or by working with other industry voices, battling ‘fake news’ will be essential in the coming years.

Boost your engagement with more pharma insights

Retail marketing KPIs

Brands compared: 100

Average engagement: 10.52

Average net sentiment: +16.0%

Retail was another segment that had quite varying results. In some cases, they were frontline brands, providing essentials during unstable times. In other cases, they were impacted by stories related to unclear, or sometimes controversial, mask policies. The most successful brands were the ones that broke out of their niche, tackling issues that mattered to consumers, to boost engagement and average sentiment.

Brand love booster tip

Often, the issues that came about during the pandemic were down to miscommunication or mistimed communications. You can’t afford to wait when making retail decisions. Be quick and clear, to help prevent potential issues blowing up in the aisles.

Technology & software marketing KPIs

Brands compared: 123

Average engagement: 12.71

Average net sentiment: +39.2%

The technology and software industry were huge problem solvers during the lockdown. Providing solutions to the pandemic issues, from keeping people connected, to keeping people safe. Some entertainment brands also fell into this category, once again boosting net sentiment levels.

Brand love booster tip

Don’t let the new normality stop your brand from being a problem solver. By providing solutions to community issues, you’ll strengthen the loyalty you grew during lockdown. Also, continue monitoring online conversations to identify problems. Supply and demand was a major lockdown issue - monitoring can help you identify the areas that can be fixed faster.

Telecoms marketing KPIs

Brands compared: 50

Average engagement: 9.13

Average net sentiment: +12.3%

Speaking of connection, the telecom industry was essential for keeping consumers connected during the lockdown. Some boosted their brand sentiment by taking this further, providing additional services to help those stuck working from home, or home schooling. Misinformation surrounding 5G also impacted the industry sentiment as a whole.

Brand love booster tip

Keep monitoring your brand for misinformation. The pandemic highlighted how low-level conspiracies can be inflamed into major issues, impacting numerous elements of a brand. Providing more direct information around controversial technology directly to consumers, can help mitigate these issues at source.

Build your brand love

This was just a dip into what turns a brand into a loved brand. But in reality, it takes a lot more effort. In our Brand Love Story 2021, we take a deeper look into the most loved brands of lockdown, and the methods they used to get there. Grab the full report below.

CTA - Brand love story 2021- download the report