New Delhi: Indian users see digital brands and social networks in a positive light, revealed a study conducted by global market survey firm YouGov. Search giant Google, chat platform WhatsApp and video streaming site YouTube emerged as the top three brands that had created a positive buzz in 2018 in the annual ranking.

WhatsApp maintained its second position in the annual rankings but its buzz score declined from 59 to 55.7 owing to multiple controversies around mob lynching and fake news.

Buzz scores measure whether people have heard anything positive or negative about a brand during the previous two weeks. The annual buzz rankings are compiled using the highest average buzz scores between January and December 2018.

“Over 2017 to 2018 we have actually seen a drop of 3.3 points in the WhatsApp buzz score, which is quite significant. Around July 2018 the stories of mob lynching surfaced, which was blamed on WhatsApp forwards. We have seen buzz around the platform going down significantly, but it improved slowly as Facebook started launching campaigns against fake news," said Deepa Bhatia, general manager, YouGov India. “The company maintained its position in the ranking because WhatsApp continues to be a dominant medium of communication in India with deep penetration."

E-commerce platform Amazon ranked fifth (48.1) followed by online food delivery firm Swiggy (43.1) and Facebook’s photo-sharing app Instagram (34.7) occupying tenth spot. All three are new entrants in the top ten ranking of 2018, which has tracked 250 brands across nine categories.

“Amidst talks of fresh investments and geographical expansion, Swiggy created a lot of buzz. The food tampering incident by Zomato’s delivery boy has further benefited the company, which went up by few points figuring in the top ten list," added Bhatia.

Online travel firm MakeMyTrip lands at the fourth place. Cab-hailing services like Ola and Uber managed to stay in the limelight for a large part of the year and sat right beside each other at seven and eight, respectively.

YouGov BrandIndex has also revealed that the brands that have noted the greatest improvement to consumer perception in 2018. In India, Zomato emerged as the most improved brand of the past year, with a marked rise of 11.2 points to its buzz score, going from 10.1 in 2017 to 21.3 in 2018.

Instagram has also shown good improvement in its score and has become the second best brand to have bettered its earlier performance with a change in score of 7.9. Kotak Mahindra Bank (4.5), Pinterest (3.8) and Axis Bank (3.4) make up the rest of the top five improvers.

Banks and insurance brands seem to be resonating well with consumers and have improved their buzz scores. Five of the leading brands from this sector make up the top ten improvers list, including HDFC Bank, Bajaj Allianz Life Insurance and HDFC Standard Life Insurance.

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