September 28, 2009, 12:00 AM

The social realm is abuzz over Amazon, Target and Ikea, research shows

New research conducted exclusively for Internet Retailer by online marketing firm Zeta Interactive lists the 25 retailers talked about the most on blogs, social networks and other social media in August. Amazon, Target and Ikea were the leaders.

Amazon.com Inc., Target Corp. and Ikea were the most talked-about retailers on the Internet in August, and the talk in each case was very positive, according to new research conducted exclusively for Internet Retailer by online marketing firm and social media monitoring service provider Zeta Interactive.

The debut of the monthly Zeta Buzz Top 25 Retail Standings Index shows consumers wrote 3,218 posts on blogs, social networks and other social media venues about Amazon.com in August; 92% of the posts were positive in tone. This earned Amazon.com a very high Zeta Buzz Rating of 296.06.

Zeta Interactive tracks mentions of a retailer’s name across more than 100 million blogs and online communities, and analyzes the tone of each reference. The online marketing firm creates the Zeta Buzz Ratings for retailers by multiplying volume of mentions times the percentage of positive tone and dividing by 10. Zeta says a minimum good score for larger retail brands during any given month would be 60 or above.

Consumers wrote 2,952 posts about Target, 83% of which were positive, for a rating of 245.02. And consumers mentioned Ikea 3,098 times, 77% saying nice things, for a rating of 238.55.

Five of the top 25 retailers in Zeta’s ratings for August are discount-oriented, including Costco, Kmart, Kohl’s, Target and Wal-Mart. Only two clothing retailers, Old Navy and H&M;, made the top 25, and both focus on discount brands. Books and music retailers generated more buzz than retailers selling more expensive goods such as electronics.

“This month’s Zeta Buzz retail standings illustrate the degree to which retailers are being impacted by the economic climate. Retail brands are finding that the recession has caused more customers to turn online for increased savings and greater selection,” says Al DiGuido, CEO of Zeta Interactive. “We also found that affordable merchandise continues to be a retailer’s best bet in a down economy, as discount stores such as Target, Wal-Mart, Costco and others are outperforming the brands that fit into the more high-end category.”

Following is the Zeta Buzz Top 25 Retail Standings Index for August, including the volume of social media mentions, the percentages of positive/negative tone of mentions, and the Zeta Buzz Rating for each retailer:

1. Amazon.com; 3,218; 92/8; 296.06
2. Target; 2,952; 83/17; 245.02
3. Ikea; 3,098; 77/23; 238.55
4. Wal-Mart; 2,997; 69/31; 206.79
5. Staples; 2,374; 79/21; 187.55
6. Nike; 2,090; 80/20; 167.20
7. Lowe’s; 1,874; 83/17; 155.54
8. Macy’s; 1,737; 84/16; 145.91
9. Borders; 1,814; 80/20; 145.12
10. Marshall’s; 1,888; 76/24; 143.49
11. Costco; 1,737; 76/24; 132.01
12. Kohl’s; 1,709; 76/24; 129.90
13. Sears; 1,668; 70/30; 116.76
14. Barnes & Noble; 1,424; 81/19; 115.34
15. Best Buy; 2,007; 57/43; 114.40
16. CVS; 1,465; 78/22; 114.27
17. Home Depot; 1,446; 77/23; 111.34
18. Kmart; 1,435; 74/26; 106.20
19. Old Navy; 1,037; 78/22; 80.90
20. RadioShack; 1,004; 86/14; 86.34
21. H&M; 953; 79/21; 75.29
22. Adidas; 1,022; 72/28; 73.58
23. Overstock.com; 967; 71/29; 68.66
24. Gap; 967; 70/30; 67.69
25. Office Depot; 883; 75/25; 66.23

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