The 100 most visible brands

The 2018 Brand Visibility Report

We analyzed 250 million images online to find which brand was pictured the most.

10 Minute Read

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The 100 most visible brandsThe 2018 Brand Visibility Report

2018’s top 100 brands

Brandwatch’s world-leading Image Insights product can discover any logo in any picture. We’ve used this technology to search through images shared online to find which logo appears the most.

“Brandwatch’s report gives fascinating insights into the hidden world of visual marketing on the social web.” – Matt Navarra, Director of Social Media, The Next Web

Here are the 100 brands that are pictured most on Twitter and Instagram:

“Use a picture. It’s worth a thousand words.” couldn’t be more apt today.  On social media, we live in a world of images rather than words, being able to analyse photos as a brand is a critical today.

But this isn’t just for B2C brands, the report clearly see this impacts B2B, influencer marketing, as well as avoiding PR disasters such as brand misuse, fraud detection and discovering harmful brand associations.” –Tim Hughes, Co-Founder and CEO, Digital Leadership Associates

Adidas leads the way. It’s pictured in over 6.5 million unique images every single month.

To put that into context, that’s 154 new images every minute, or a three new images every seconds.

Take a look at some of the most shared images Adidas appeared in (click right or left to scroll, see engagement stats below):

411,129 likes on Instagram
119,294 likes on Instagram
8,342 retweets and 4,994,608 impressions on Twitter
5,034 retweets and 15,144,637 impressions on Twitter

2018’s top brands adjusted for revenue

By looking purely at image volume, we sometimes miss smaller brands, with smaller budgets, who might be over-performing.

To discover these outliers, we collected revenue data for each company from the last available year (either 2016 or 2017).

The following list ranks 20 brands by the amount of images generated for every dollar of revenue. Essentially, the brands at the top generate more images for every dollar of revenue they collect – more bang for their buck.

Puma, Under Armor, BBC, Vans and Louis Vuitton, come out favorably, generating high volumes of images online despite relatively small revenues.

It suggests these brands get more out of advertising, sponsorships and social than some larger brands like Coca-Cola or Microsoft. Here are some of the reasons why:

  • The BBC watermarks everything. If its content goes viral, so does the brand, even if “BBC” isn’t mentioned in text.
  • Vans has found success targeting growing markets. In fact, since Dec 2017 the volume of Vans images shared in Asia grew by 20%, and by 62% in South America.
  • Louis Vuitton seems to have benefited from a high-performing influencer strategy. 12% of images containing the logo are shared by authors with over 10,000 followers. Only eight other brands gather more influencer shares.

What’s also apparent is how well sports apparel brands perform. Clearly sponsorship investments generate considerable visibility on Twitter and Instagram. But, who comes out on top?

To understand this, let’s focus on a tournament that garners considerable investment from sport sponsors – European Football.

The best ROI in football sponsorship

Focusing on three of the largest sponsors – Adidas, Nike, and Puma – we’ve attempted to understand which sponsorship generates the best ROI.

We’ve collected the total number of images each sponsor generates for each of the clubs they sponsor. Then, we’ve divided the number of images generated with the amount paid for the sponsorship.

This reveals exactly how much each sponsor paid per image:

Puma performs incredibly well in this analysis with its clubs appearing first and second. On average, across all monitored sponsorships, Puma have a much cheaper cost per image:

  • Puma = £2.40 cost per image
  • Adidas = £8.02 cost per image
  • Nike = £11.83 cost per image

This is an impressive result. Especially when you consider that this data just monitors unique images. Shares, likes, comments and other engagement metrics would dramatically increase total reach.

One of the reasons for Puma’s success is where it positions the logo. Unlike other brands, Puma also places the logo on sleeves: 

No other kit sponsor does this and it appears to greatly increase visibility.

“We’ve long known than images have social currency. This Brandwatch reports shows that images also deliver real currency for the 100 most visible brands online.”  Drew Neisser, Founder & CEO at Renegade

Sports apparel brands invest in sponsorships that greatly increase visibility online, but how does it compare with other industries?

“What strikes me about the results is that the brands who appear in images fall into several buckets, with two industries/sectors taking 2/3 of the mentions among the top 10. 

It’s clearly a pay to play game and you had better choose your football team with care.” Minter Dial, Speaker, Storyteller, Author 

10 most photographed industries

By grouping each brand by industry, we’re able to determine which industries are pictured the most online.

Top 10 Industries

“Seeing the brand visibility study from Brandwatch left me thinking one thing: Holy crap have we been missing so much in reporting brand exposure and awareness up until now!

Social listening has always had certain strengths and weaknesses, but seeing the shear volume of posts, some brands probably see a 50% or more lift in reach and awareness now that there’s a tool out there to recognize their imagery online in addition to mentions of them in text.” –  Jason Falls, social analyst and strategist, Cornett

Imagery changes dramatically based on the industry a brand is in.

In the carousel below, you can see some of the most shared images in each industry (click right or left to scroll, see engagement stats below):

Sports Apparel

13,862 retweets and 10,520,740 impressions on Twitter


720,260 likes on Instagram


9,519 retweets and 7,004,020 impressions on Twitter


7,893 retweets and 6,467,881 impressions on Twitter


1,204,791 likes on Instagram

“We constantly promote how important images are as part of a successful social media strategy, but up until now its been really hard to look at the brand impact of this part of social. Brandwatch’s new image monitoring is a great solution, and its really interesting to see how well it works in both B2B and B2C markets” – Daniel Rowles, CEO, Target Internet 

Top 5 positive and negative brands

We’ve analyzed the text in the posts that accompany each image. Using sentiment analysis, Image Insights is able to determine which posts are positive or negative.

Looking across 300 brands, we’ve identified the brands with the highest percentage of positive and negative text mentions (scroll right):

Most positive brands

Most negative brands

For clarity, high propensity of negative images doesn’t necessarily mean the negativity is directed at the brand. It could just mean the brand is included in an image that is being talked about negatively, for example this negative tweet containing the Standard Chartered logo.

That said, FedEx’s association with the NRA has generated a swell of online abuse. Since December 2017 the volume of negative images containing the FedEx logo has grown by 185%.

To add some context, here are two positive and negative images of Burberry and FedEx.

7 most photographed brands by gender

Using Brandwatch Analytics’ automated demographics, we were able to see the percentage of images shared by men and women.

The two charts below reveal which brands have the highest proportions of male and female conversation (scroll right):

Brands pictured most by men

Brands pictured most by women

Dell, Carlsberg, and Standard Chartered generate the highest volumes of images from male authors, mainly due to sponsorships of male-dominated sports.

Burberry, Boots, and Primark see the vast majority of content coming from female authors, partly due to influencer engagement from models and YouTube vloggers.

Scroll through the images below to see examples:

“Social media of today is no longer defined by text but by image and video. Visual recognition technology allows brands to unearth what is being said about them on platforms where company names and company hashtags aren’t always being used.

It is the key to not only proactively respond to those talking about them to encourage more brand advocacy, but also a way to discover more authentic user-generated content and potential influencers that can be leveraged by the brand for exponential results.” Neal Schaffer, Founder, PDCA Social 

10 most pictured brands by influencers

Looking at Twitter data, we’ve analyzed every image shared by authors with over 10,000 followers.

Comparing this with the total volume of images shared allowed us to determine the percentage of images, for each brand, shared by those with over 10,000 followers.

Here are the brands with the highest percentage of influencer engagement:

Let’s explore some examples of influencers engaging with these brands:

Whirlpool influencer @Cutties_Cats

Dove influencer @Morewless

Pantene influencer @GabbiPosts

Fraud detection

You probably noticed that three banks appeared top of the influencer list.

We assumed this was due to a high-performing influencer strategy. It wasn’t.

In reality, the brands have appeared in pictures shared by fraudulent individuals who claim they can make their followers thousands of dollars.

These images are so prominent, they’ve propelled the three banks to first, second and third on our influencer chart. Here are some examples of their posts:

317 retweets and 8,806,815 impressions on Twitter
212 retweets and 5,991,252 impression on Twitter
18 retweets and 406,125 impression on Twitter

Top logos by location

Globally, Adidas is pictured in the most images online.

We wanted to know if its dominance holds true across the globe, or if different regions gave prominence to different brands.

The following visualizations show the most photographed brands (by volume) in countries across the world.

Europe ??

  • Adidas leads the way, pictured most in 29 of the 51 countries monitored.
  • Nike comes in second, photographed most in Poland and Portugal (perhaps because Nike sponsor the football national teams).
  • Interesting outliers include Mercedes-Benz, Vodafone and BBC, who are pictured most in Germany, Turkey and the United Kingdom respectively.

United States ??

  • Interestingly Nike beat Adidas in the US, pictured most in 29 of the 50 states.
  • Google comes in third (behind Nike and Adidas), mentioned most in Colorado, Columbia, Maine, Minnesota, Vermont and Wyoming.
  • Interestingly AT&T is pictured most in Alaska and Starbucks is pictured most in Hawaii.

South America ?

  • Adidas comes out on top again, pictured most in seven countries including Brazil, Chile and Peru.
  • BBVA is the most pictured brand in Argentina, while Coca-Cola is pictured more than any other logo in Paraguay.
  • In Uruguay, Puma is photographed most, perhaps due to its national football team sponsorship.

“Visual recognition technology offers a unique view into how brands fit into consumers lives.  You could argue that the lack of text description about brands when logos are identifiable visually shows that brands are not front and centre of consumer thinking. 

The beauty of understanding how brands are consumed and how they fit into daily life is the ideal insight to create campaigns that better appeal to customers.” Dr Jillian Ney, Digital Behavioural Scientist


Using Brandwatch’s best-in-breed logo detection technology, we’ve analyzed brand visibility online. We now understand:

  • How often each brand is photographed online ?
  • The most visible brands by location ?
  • Which brands are pictured most by influencers ?
  • The sentiment attached to each brand’s images ?
  • And the 100 most visible brands online ?

Every image included in this report contained a brand’s logo, but hardly any included a mention of the brand in the tweet or post. On average only 20% of images contain a written references.

This means without image detection, you miss 80% of the images your logo is included in.

Brand visibility for your brand

Although this report was created using data from the world’s largest brands, smaller organizations still find value from image data online.

Hundreds of companies from a range of industries have used Brandwatch Image Insights to overcome key business challenges:

  • Truly understanding sponsorship performance
  • Seeing customers use your products and services
  • Benchmarking your visibility alongside competitors
  • Uncovering logo misuse
  • Discovering harmful brand associations
  • Spotting new influencers online
  • And for capturing every online reference of your brand

Find out more

Brandwatch Image Insights (the technology behind this report) is available to demo at no cost.

Press the button below to schedule a demo.



For this report, our goal was to discover the 100 brands that were pictured most online. This would provide social benchmarks that could help inform any organization or industry using or invested in social media. In order to achieve this, we analyzed 300 separate logos and 100 million images within a four-month time period from Dec 1st, 2017 – April 1st, 2018.

Brandwatch Analysis

Sentiment: Sentiment is evaluated using natural language processing (NLP) techniques. Brandwatch’s NLP algorithm is among the industry’s more conservative, aiming to qualify sentiment only when a certain confidence level is breached.

Gender, Interests & Profession: Gender, Interests, & Profession are evaluated learning user account or profile information as well as machine-learning techniques.

Rules & Categories: Brandwatch’s Rules, which rely on Boolean logic, allow users to separate specific conversations into specific categories. Rules can be understood as “Queries within Queries.”

Logo Detection: Brandwatch uses an adaptive learning engine to uncover logos within an image. The technology searches for a myriad of attributes to find every type of logo placement, including curved, blurred, small and partially covered detections.

Sampling: A statistically accurate 10% sample was used to collect the data. This sample was extrapolated by 10x in the report to give an accurate estimate on what the full coverage would be.

Brand Selection

The Brand Visibility Report analyzed 300 logos in total. The 300 logos were selected through two processes. First, we examined revenue and output lists, industry literature, and social data to compile a list, then we cross-referenced with well-known brand ranks like the Fortune 500, the Interbrand Best Global Brands, and the Social Outlook Report. 

Once those companies and agencies were collected, we ranked organizations according to the volume of images they were pictured in on both Twitter and Instagram. We then identified the top 100 brands and conducted additional analysis.


All revenue data was collected from annual reports or P&L statements from the last available full year. For example this annual statement from Adidas. Collecting kit manufacturing sponsorship data from European clubs was far more difficult. There’s no single source of truth available, so we were forced to gather data from a number of aggregating news articles like this. For context, we only monitored clubs if they were sponsored by Adidas, Nike, or Puma and if we could find the finances behind the sponsorship.

For that reason, Swansea is not included (as it is sponsored by Joma) and Borussia Dortmund is not included (as we couldn’t identify the sponsorship cost).

Comparison to 2017

Astute readers may have noticed differences in data volumes between the 2018 Brand Visibility Report and the 2017 edition. Specifically, in our 2017 the top brand – McDonald’s – generated an average of 900,000 images per month. This year, Adidas generated over 6 million. So, why the difference?

There’s two key reasons. The first is the increase in the volume of images published online. On average, the amount of images shared online increases by 50% each year. This partly explains our increased volume. The seconds reason is due to Brandwatch’s data collection. Over the last 12 months we’ve dramatically increased the volume of data we crawl and the frequency we crawl. This has subsequently increased the total volume of images collected.

Crimson Hexagon has merged with Brandwatch. You’re in the right place!

From May 8th, all Crimson Hexagon products are now on the Brandwatch website. You’ll find them under ‘Products’ in the navigation. If you’re an existing customer and you want to know more, your account manager will be happy to help.