The Content Imperative
The latest on content marketing strategy, insights and trends

Alex Barfield
Senior Planner

Alex is Senior Planner at Headstream. He ensures that all work takes a long-term view and is optimised based on business and client requirements. His work comprises research and insight, content strategy, data analytics and paid social.

Alex works across all Headstream clients on national and global accounts including BBC, GSK, National Trust, FatFace and Schuh.

Before joining, Alex worked at Universal Music.

Other posts by Alex


Social Brands 100 - The FMCG ranking.

6 October 2014

Social Brands has evolved over the course of the years. Back in 2011 the brands which appeared in the ranking were determined by a crowd-sourcing approach. Since the turn of 2014, we shifted our focus to look at specific industry reports to monitor any key trends within the sector.

As the FMCG market is the biggest industry in the UK we thought there was no better sector to draw our attention to. For this report, Social Brands 100 The FMCG Ranking, we partnered with industry experts The Grocer who provided us with our original source list of the 100 best-selling FMCG brands. 

We then winged this information along with each of the brands Facebook and Twitter URLs over to our data partner, Engagor. They then captured a month’s worth of data from each brand’s activity, for us to compile a ranking and a snapshot of social performance: all focused on engagement.

The data told us a lot and gave great insights into optimum community sizes in comparison to engagement rates.

Six of the brands in the top ten and 53% of the total brands had less than 250k Facebook fans.

Community sizes tended to be smaller on Twitter, with 73% of brands having feeds with less than 20k followers.

The average page engagement rates tended to decrease as community size increased on Facebook. This was not necessarily true however for Twitter.It also enabled us to compare the glossy magazine of Facebook with the real-time platform of Twitter.

90% of FMCG brands have a Facebook page.

The top two performing brands on Facebook were both cat food brands (Whiskas followed by Felix)... coincidence?

74% of FMCG brands have a Twitter account.

Fanta was the no.1 performing brand on Twitter.

Engagement rates were found to be lower on Twitter.

IRN-BRU however was the most consistent brand on both platforms and therefore ranked no.1 in the ranking, with the highest overall engagement score.

Five of the brands in the top ten were drinks brands.

However despite this, the most notable learnings can be taken from the case studies. After speaking with the brands and agencies at seven of the top ten performing brands featured within the ranking, considerable similarities between their strategies were soon evident.

After the changes witnessed within the channel of borrowed media, with Facebook throttling brand potential reach in order to ensure it can monetise its users, the top-performing brands appreciate the strengths and weaknesses of the platform and have adapted their use of the platforms accordingly.

There seems to be an obvious change in focus. Our interviews with leading brands reveal that community size is important, although not at the cost of a poor quality community.

Paid media is less likely to now be used to support growing communities, but instead placed behind well-performing valuable and relevant content to boost potential reach.

Real-time marketing was a much discussed topic by each brand as it is part of their normal working day, with most allocating budgets to push content responding to topical events in the news.

Although these FMCG brands don’t use social media for direct response, they obviously see the opportunity to be front of mind for mobile wielding consumers who may just be checking Facebook whilst in store.

Each of the brands we have spoken with attributed their social media success to a collaborative effort; agency and brand working together.

You can find The Grocer’s digital report and the top 50 ranking if you are a subscriber online now, alternatively by purchasing the paper publication.

To view Headstream’s full report including the full ranking and case studies, visit our site.

In addition if you are a keen reader of our blog, you will notice that we have now worked alongside The Grocer in five separate FMCG-related rankings now. You can browse our Confectionery, Ice Cream, Hot Beverage and Supermarket Retailer smaller and more niche rankings alongside Social Brands 100 The FMCG Ranking on

If you have not yet subscribed to The Grocer and wish to, you can keep in the loop and register with The Grocer here. 




We have a wealth of experience in the FMCG sector.


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