National Geographic, the 100-year-old magazine once known for its glossy photographs of giraffes and elephants in their natural habitats, has become a leading social brand in the U.S. In fact, according to Shareablee’s Top 25 Social U.S. Brands in 2015, NatGeo continues to lead and even dominate popular brands such as the NBA, People.com, and Playboy.
The majority of NatGeo’s lead is due in part to its 482.5 million total social media actions which include likes, comments, shares, retweets, and favorites, on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Although the NFL ranked second behind NatGeo in Shareablee’s third quarter rankings, the NFL’s total actions are significantly lower at a mere 125.6 million. National Geographic also ranked highest in the number of followers and fans on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, totaling 80.1 million.
While National Geographic’s social lead has held strong since the second quarter, in which it also ranked #1, other brands on the top 25 have fluctuated from previous reports. BuzzFeed Food experienced the largest growth from 2014, at an enormous 2,065 percent. It also made it to the Top 25 for the first time in 2015, along with ESPN, Playboy, and Complex.
The top five performing categories across all platforms are Entertainment, leading with 10.7 billion social media actions, followed by Media Publishing, Sports, Retail, and Consumer Packaged Goods. And while National Geographic might dominate total social actions, Fox News is King of Facebook Actions, and Billboard tops Twitter. National Geographic does, however, hold strong on Instagram with 462.1 million actions.
The data indicate the overwhelming dominance of attractive images and video in social media, and could explain NatGeo’s ability to hold on to its lead. Its popularity online isn’t surprising considering that, according to its website, the magazine circulates its images and videos, ranging from educational to just plain stunning, to over 700 million people monthly.