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Coke vs. Pepsi: Who’s Winning on Twitter

Whether you call it soda, pop, or cola, we all know the major players. The battle between Coke and Pepsi is older than we are; CNN Money even named it “one of the greatest business rivalries of all time.” Certainly the two cola giants are iconic brands, and both aim to bring their best social strategies to Twitter.

So which brand is winning? Which brand is implementing the best tactics on Twitter?

These are good questions. The same questions you should be asking about your brand, and ones we’ll answer by looking at how Coke and Pepsi measure up against key metrics using data from Simply Measured’s Twitter reports.

Largest Follower Count – Pepsi

Pepsi currently has 1.2 million followers on Twitter, 50% more than Coke. This means Pepsi has an advantage for distributing brand messaging and creating awareness for contests, promotions etc. As a result, Pepsi’s Tweets frequently outrank Coke’s when looking at top content by engagement and impressions.

Fastest Growing Audience – Coke

Follower Comparison

Coke is gaining on Pepsi, but just barely. Looking at a month’s worth of data reveals the two brands are growing their followers at a similar pace. Coke edged out Pepsi, with 9% more new followers, but if Coke wants to catch Pepsi it will need to find ways to get more users who are talking about @CocaCola to also follow its handle.

Potential Impressions – Pepsi

Pepsi drove 152 million potential impressions, 4% more than Coke. Pepsi’s ability to deliver more potential impressions is owed to its larger audience and the fact that users who retweeted Pepsi averaged twice as many followers as those who retweeted Coke.

Potential Reach – Coke

On Twitter you are twice as likely to see a post mentioning @CocaCola as you are one mentioning @Pepsi. Tweets mentioning @CocaCola had a potential reach of nearly 64 million users, compared to 33 million for @Pepsi Tweets.

Total Engagement – Coke

Engagement Details

@CocaCola received far more engagement than @Pepsi, despite having a smaller following and fewer potential impressions. Coke owes much of its engagement to a single top performing Tweet, and the fact that its handle is more frequently mentioned than Pepsi’s.

Most Shareable Content – Pepsi

Although Coke had the most total engagement, Pepsi had the most shareable content. Pepsi dominated top ranked content, owning 21 of the top 25 Tweets by total engagement.

Average Engagement Per Tweet – Coke

Although Pepsi had a greater share of the top Tweets, the single best post belonged to Coke:

Coke’s top Tweet accounted for more than 40% of its total retweets, and gave Coke an average 105 engagements per Tweet. This Tweet demonstrates Coke’s ability to drive engagement, but had it not been for this one Tweet, Coke would have only averaged 29 engagements per Tweet, compared to Pepsi’s 43 engagements per Tweet.

Most Active Brand – Coke

Coke sent more than 1,400 Tweets, over 5X as many Tweets as Pepsi. However, more than 98% of Coke’s Tweets were at @replies. Coke only sent 23 regular updates over a 30 day period (Tweets that were neither retweets nor @replies), compared to 84 regular updates from Pepsi.

Most Responsive – Coke

Brand activity reveals two very different Twitter strategies for Coke and Pepsi. Coke’s brand activity is almost exclusively aimed at 1-to-1 discussions, making it far more responsive than Pepsi to individual @replies.

Overall Winner on Twitter – Pepsi

A glance at top level metrics might have you calling this one for Coke, but was its content strategy responsible for its performance? Pepsi’s was, and that’s why we’re naming it our winner.

Pepsi took a more active approach to managing content. Sending more Tweets to its followers enabled Pepsi to deliver more shareable content, and its engagement was the result of many pieces of good content, not just one top Tweet. Pepsi’s strategy is geared to drive conversation, not just to be discussed, and more users on Twitter seeing Pepsi’s Tweets.

That said, Coke has an incredible share of voice, and a demonstrated ability to drive big engagement; all that seems to be missing is sharing more of the content that makes us love Coca-Cola.

How does your brand measure up to your competition? Find out today, request a demo of Simply Measured, and be sure to follow @simplymeasured on Twitter for more insight and analysis.

Nate Smitha

I'm a Marketing Manager at Simply Measured. It's my job to deliver content in a way that engages and informs social media professionals. My areas of expertise are marketing automation, conversion and social media analytics.

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