Social media company Facebook (NYSE:FB) might be all about monetization lately, but it’s still literally giving away some of its services.
Facebook pages don’t just provide marketing for companies, for instance — they provide free marketing.
At the same time, the impact of a strong social media presence can’t be reduced down to a dollar amount. One way to get a sense of how effective such no-cost promotion can be, though, is quite simple: Look at how many times users feel so strongly about a product that they are compelled to give it a little thumbs-up in the form of a “like” on its Facebook page.
Of course, this is far from a straightforward game. Sometimes, one company owns countless artists, products and services that each have their own Facebook pages — and their own loyal followings.
With that in mind, we took a look at PageData’s top 30 list of the most-liked pages and tallied up the 10 most “Facebook-famous” stocks. Take a look:
Disney (NYSE:DIS) is more than just a company; it’s a huge part of countless folks’ childhoods. And so it’s almost no surprise that when those kiddies grow up and, of course, create a Facebook profile of their own, they’re quick to express fondness for Walt’s wonderful world.
Yes, the media giant boasts a more-than-wonderful following on Facebook with more than 39 million fans. The company’s page updates followers with sweepstakes, promotions, trailers, images from countless classics and company news, such as the opening of Fantasyland earlier in the month.
In the past week, the page has gotten nearly 300,000 additional likes, but the stock is slightly in the red. Still, DIS has climbed an impressive 31% so far this year, more than doubling the gains of the S&P 500. The stock also has made headlines lately thanks to deals with Cox Communications and Netflix (NASDAQ:NFLX)
Plus, those likes are just for Disney itself — users also have flocked to pages for Disneyland, Disney Pixar, Disney Channel, Walt Disney World and films from Lion King to Bambi, although none of those sites had enough to make the top 30 and be factored in here.
While smaller rival Pepsi (NYSE:PEP) is making headlines today, Coca-Cola (NYSE:KO) is showing up in the news, too … well, in people’s Facebook news feeds, that is.
The company ranks ninth on Page Data’s list all on its own.
Over 56 million people have liked the page and thus get updates from the popular company when they log onto the social media site. Just one glance at the page and it’s easy to see why Coca-Cola — from its iconic red script and old-fashioned bottles to adorable polar bears and hip advertising campaigns — remains atop Interbrand’s Global Brands rankings. The page connects to users with eye-catching graphics, has a worldwide following and even has a page called “Your Stories” that allows users to add their own photos.
The strength of the company’s brand also could be a big reason why, despite the global slowdown and other struggles, the powerhouse still has managed to gain a decent 8% so far in 2012.
Google‘s (NASDAQ:GOOG) YouTube is the fourth most-liked page overall, though Google comes in at eighth overall since other companies have more than one popular page or product in the top 30.
Lovers of funny videos (most recently, the page posted a link to Hobbit-version parody of a One Direction song), the hottest music and exciting clips have flocked to the page, bringing total likes to 66 million.
Google’s Facebook pages also have millions of additional fans between the different app versions of YouTube and fans of its company, software and own social media site G+.
Oh, and the tech giant’s stock has also posted a solid 10% year-to-date climb. Not too shabby.
The poker fad seems to have died down, but not if you count all the people that are cutting their losses and gambling virtually. Online poker — and online gaming in general — has a following far and wide, especially now that smartphones allow people to bring take the competition virtually anywhere.
Zynga‘s (NASDAQ:ZNGA) Texas HoldEm Poker has 67 million likes, more than 300,000 people mentioning it online and over 33 million monthly users … so Zynga isn’t lying when it calls it “the world’s largest poker game.”
Zynga was higher in the rankings when good ol’ FarmVille made the top 30, but it has since been edged out as that faux-farming gaming obsession came to an end.
ZNGA stock has had a dismal year — shedding nearly three-quarters of its value — but at least according to Facebook, the company’s poker game is as popular as ever.
#6: Time Warner
Forget Lions Gate Entertainment‘s (NYSE:LGF) The Hunger Games and Twilight — Harry Potter was the franchise that first took the young adult world by storm … and Time Warner‘s (NYSE:TWX) Warner Bros. was the company with its name on it.
Fans have expressed their love for the wizard on Facebook to the tune of nearly 54 million likes — good for the No. 12 overall spot. Toss in the die-hard fans of rock/rap group Linkin Park — on the Warner Music label — and you have nearly 48 million more likes in the parent company’s column.
That’s an impressive 101 million total for Time Warner — around 6 million short of the top five, but far from anything to sneeze at.
The stock’s year-to-date gains are equally impressive, as well. TWX has climbed 32% since January — well more than double the S&P 500.
#5: News Corp
If the page was for Rupert Murdoch, it probably wouldn’t be so popular. But when it comes to all the names associated with Murdoch’s media giant News Corp (NASDAQ:NWS, NWSA), Facebook users are big fans.
Fox can take the most credit for the company’s success in this regard, as The Simpsons comes in at No. 7 while Family Guy has slipped to No. 15 for the most-liked pages. Together, they have more than 107 million likes. Adults aren’t just loving cartoons these days — they’re sharing that love on Facebook.
The stock of parent company News Corp also is having a stellar year. Shares have climbed nearly 40% since the start of 2012, thanks also to Fox News and election coverage.
Viacom (NASDAQ:VIAB) might not be as quite as big as rival News Corp, but the masses sure love it — and keep expressing that sentiment online. 42 million have clicked “like” on Comedy Central’s South Park, 38 million prefer Nickelodeon’s endearingly annoying SpongeBob SquarePants, while 40 million want their MTV — bringing an impressive 120 million likes to Viacom’s name from the top 30 list alone.
With a loyal and loving audience that spans from kids to teens to adults shows, Viacom has quite the reach — although most fans probably don’t even realize which media conglomerate is behind their beloved TV shows.
Viacom’s stock has posted impressive gains this year as well, though at 18% still lags far behind rival News Corp.
What do you get when you mix Shakira, Beyonce and Avril Lavigne?
A whole lotta girl power — and a whole lotta Facebook likes for media giant Sony (NYSE:SNE).
Shakira, who has released albums on the Sony Music Latin and Epic Records labels, comes in at No. 8 with nearly 58 million likes, while Beyonce adds more than 40 million and punk rocker Avril maintains a loyal following even after dropping out of the spotlight. She slides into the 30th spot with just less than 38 million online fans.
That makes for a total of 136 million — enough for the bronze medal on our list.
But while these three ladies might have quite the presence on Facebook, that hasn’t been enough to move the needle on Sony stock, which is nearly 40% in the red year-to-date.
The Facebook page with one of the most loyal followings of all is (drumroll, please) none other than Facebook itself. The Facebook for Every Phone page takes the cake in terms of the most-liked individual page, and the Facebook page itself is also quite popular.
The first has more than 174 million likes, while the total comes to more than 257 million for the two pages combined. The Phone page also boasts weekly growth of over 2 million, dwarfing every other page on the list.
Of course, Facebook stock hasn’t been quite so popular, with losses totaling 30% since its IPO. It has rallied back of late, though, gaining 25% in the past three months alone.
Move over, Sony and Time Warner. Most of the chart-topping artists you hear on the radio come courtesy of Universal Music Group, which is owned by Vivendi (PINK:VIVHY).
In fact, in the wake of Universal’s recent merger with Citigroup’s (NYSE:C) EMI Group, the company controls nearly 40% of the music market.
Universal is responsible for labels you’ve undoubtedly heard of — Island Records, Columbia Records, Def Jam Records and many more — even if you’ve never heard the name Vivendi. And if those still don’t strike a chord, how about … say … Rihanna, Eminem, Lady Gaga, Michael Jackson, Katy Perry, Justin Bieber, AKON, Lil Wayne and Bob Marley?
Yup, all those artists fall in the top 30 list of most-liked pages, and all belong to Vivendi. Rihanna is the most popular at the No. 5 spot with more than 64 million likes, while Eminem is a spot behind at just less than 64 million. Tally up the Facebook fans of all the artists, and the total is an eye-popping 460 million — making the parent company our winner by a landslide.
Of course, the music business and these popular artists are only one piece of the puzzle for the French telecom and media company, which also owns 60% of game maker Activision Blizzard (NASDAQ:ATVI).
Vivendi stock, however, has only gained 1% year-to-date.
As of this writing, Alyssa Oursler did not hold a position in any of the aforementioned securities.