August 31, 2011, 12:48 PM

For online buzz, Target gains on long-time leader Amazon

The Zeta Buzz index says Target receives more positive chatter than does Amazon.

Thad Rueter

Senior Editor

Lead Photo

Target Corp. gained on Amazon.com Inc. in August when it comes to online buzz, with the retail chain moving to within 14 points of the web-only merchant in the most recent Zeta Buzz Top 25 Retail Standings Index.

Target, No. 22 in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide, in July was almost 20 points behind Amazon, which is No. 1 in the Top 500 Guide.

Zeta Interactive, a digital marketing firm and social media monitoring service, tracks mentions of a retailer’s name across more than 100 million blogs and online communities and analyzes the tone of each reference. Zeta then provides the results exclusively to Internet Retailer. The online marketing firm creates the Zeta Buzz Ratings for retailers by multiplying volume of mentions times the percentage that are positive and dividing by 10. Zeta says a minimum good score for larger retail brands during any given month is 60 or above.

For August, Zeta says Amazon led a group of 25 online retailers with a buzz rating of 498.96. Target had a rating of 484.99, which is 13.97 points behind Amazon. The lowest-ranking retailer, Dillard’s, had a buzz rating of 55.02. August marks the eighth straight monthly report in which Amazon has held the top spot in the ratings, and the second straight month Target had the second place spot.

“While Amazon leads again this month, Target is the closest it has ever been to the lead,” says Zeta Interactive CEO Al DiGuido. Target, though, this month led Amazon in what Zeta calls tonal rating, which is a measurement of the positive or negative tone of social media posts. Target achieved 93% positive tonal buzz, compared with 90% for Amazon.

BJ's Wholesale Club and Kohl's Corp. had the greatest increase in rankings from last month, with BJ's moving up nine spots in the buzz ratings to No. 14 from No. 23, and Kohl's moving up four spots, to No. 4 from No. 8.

Kohl’s is No. 31 in the Top 500 Guide. BJ’s is No. 247.

Following is the list of the top 25 retailers and consumer brand manufacturers ranked by online buzz, with the Zeta Buzz rating followed by the average number of daily posts during the past month and the percent of mentions that were positive in tone:

•Amazon.com, 498.96, 5,544, 90%

• Target, 484.99, 5,215, 93%

• Walmart, 447.39, 5,084, 88%

•Kohl’s, 379.53, 4,217, 90%

•Best Buy, 368.27, 4,233, 87%

• Kmart, 343.83, 3,998, 86%

• Macy’s, 304.03, 3,341, 91%

• Overstock.com, 278.19, 3,091, 90%

• Lowe’s, 242.68, 2,855, 85%

• Costco, 204.97, 2,356, 87%

• Home Depot, 177.65, 2,090, 85%

• Toys ‘R’ Us, 172.62, 2,055, 84%

• Old Navy, 136.20, 1,661, 82%

•BJ’s, 104.05, 1,131, 92%

• Sam’s Club, 102.60, 1,140, 90%

•Staples, 94.92, 1,130, 84%

• Nike, 89.32, 1,258, 71%

• A&F, 86.87, 1,022, 85%

• Marshall’s, 81.89, 1,011, 81%

• Express, 73.96, 902, 82%

• Nordstrom, 72.91, 868, 84%

• Zappos, 67.00, 859, 78%

• Office Depot, 63.21, 903, 70%

• Game Stop, 56.85, 646, 88%

• Dillard’s, 55.02, 671, 82%

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