They examined the qualitative aspects of the brands, i.e. brand strength, and also determined the monetary values of the 50 most valuable social media brands. The 10 most valuable brands were then listed in the ranking.
Three well-known brands appear in the top three positions. With an estimated brand value of 29.115 bn $,Facebook clearly leads the ranking, followed by YouTube at 18.099 bn $and Twitter at 13.309 bn $. It is not only the high number of visitors that makes these brands so strong, but also their high level of global awareness and the remarkable user statistics of the platforms. For instance, Facebook has 845 million users; this means that roughly every eighth inhabitant of the planet is registered on the biggest social network.
In addition to the many brands from the USA, there are also some "exotic" social media brands emerging in the ranking, such as the Chinese platform Qzone in fourth position Sina Weibo in fifth position and the two Facebook imitations VKontakte from Russia and Renren from China at positions 11 and 12. These and other social media brands in China and Russia have benefited from a strong increase in the number of Internet users and from the exponentially increasing diffusion rate of the platforms.
The market capitalizations of social networks are often many times higher than their turnovers or their balance sheet totals. This means that investors' purchase decisions not only include future expectations but also the intangible assets of the social networks, whereas brand value represents a considerable part of these assets. For"ordinary" brands (e.g., consumer goods brands), brand value is created as soon as consumers are willing to pay a price premium solely because of the brand of a specific product or service.
However, it is not necessarily the users of social networks that are the customers in this case, but also the companies that place paid ads on the platforms and benefit from user information. As a consequence, company and brand value is created only when the social networks and their information can be used commercially. In other words, the higher the awareness and the diffusion rate of social media brands and the trust they generate, the stronger and more valuable they are.
"Social media brands from emerging countries like China, Russia or Brazil can be expected to become increasingly significant in the future", states Max Meister, CEO of BV4. On the one hand, numbers of Internet users in these countries are increasing at above-average rates compared to growth in Europe or in the USA. On the other hand, Asian users are significantly more active in social networks. And finally, there is another element with a strong influence on the rapid growth of social networks in China: as various online shopping websites are not very reliable and therefore losing their users' trust, various purchase transactions are being completed on social networks. This fact additionally boosts the number of users and the degree of activity of social platforms in China. However, because of the limited regional language and culture area it can be assumed that these brands will soon reach a saturation point and will therefore not be able to create a global presence.