Pringles Are The Ultimate Snack Food (on social media at least)


Peter Claridge

August 8, 2014 5 min read

Updated on September 18, 2019

I remember the first time I visited America, way back in 1995. I’m from a small sleepy town in the middle of England with all the stereotypical English trimmings; there are quaint old pubs, there are no billboards, shop fronts are understated and everything is all rather restrained. We touched down in Atlanta and BAM! From the moment you step off the plane, advertising, branding, in your face marketing and company logos are all vying for your attention. We drove down a road called Memorial Drive, I don’t know if it’s the same as it was all those years ago but it was just mile upon mile of big, loud and brash hoardings, billboards and logos.

Apart from all the in-your-face advertising, the other thing that caught my attention was the sheer gargantuan size of everything. We took a road trip from Atlanta down to Florida and on the way munched through half a tonne of salty snacks. My personal favourite? Ruffles. I polished off an entire supersized pack in just one day, but I was only 12 back then so had the luxury of being able to eat whatever I wanted.

Salty Snack Logos

So bringing this blog post back to social media after wandering off on a little personal story; today I looked at the social media performances of your favourite savory snacks to see how they compare against each other and to discover if there was a clear social media winner – and if you came here from Twitter, Facebook or even just read this blog title, you’ll already have an idea who are doing the best, but let me tell you why…

Facebook Fans

I know every social media guru and his/her dog tells you not to look at Facebook fan numbers, but I don’t completely buy in to that theory. Number of fans can give you a high level overview of how well the brand is performing, particularly in relation to its closest rivals or sector in general. On the other hand, saying that a particular brand is the best simply because it has more fans is definitely not the right conclusion to draw.

facebook fans

By a country mile (as we like to say back in England), Pringles are far ahead in terms of fan numbers, this is likely due to the global nature of the brand. The other snack brands are either exclusively sold in North America or have limited penetration in global markets. It’s quite surprising to see Lay’s so far behind Pringles as out of all the other brands, Lay’s probably have the highest global market share. Are you surprised by these numbers?

Grow, Grow, Grow

If looking at raw Facebook fans doesn’t do it for you then check out the growth numbers below. Despite some relatively low fan numbers, Cheetos and Tostitos (I’m finding it very difficult to pronounce Tostitos) are looking to set things right by posting some pretty impressive growth rates compared to the other brands.

Facebook Fan Growth

That said, even Lay’s, reporting the slowest growth at just 1.8% managed to add more fans than Cheetos, Tostitos and Ruffles combined. However, all these snack brands are struggling to grow as fast as the Food & Beverage sector which had an average growth rate of 5.1% across all brands.

Talk To Us

The chart below might look a little bit confusing at first glance but bear with me and I’ll explain what’s going on. Some brands have off the chart engagement with their fans. The social media team posts something and fans engage, like, share and comment on it like swarms of locust. The snack brands that I’ve analyzed don’t have that kind of fan. Infact, it seems that some of these brands are only doing a half hearted attempt at keeping their fans engaged with barely one post per week.

Admin Posts vs Engagement Scores

The chart above shows the number of posts made by the page admin in April along with the average engagement score for that month. Pringles is the out and out winner here, posting more than once per day and getting better engagement than most of their competitors, but still lagging far behind the Food & Beverage sector average.

Tostitos is trying very hard to capture the imagination of their fans but compared to the other snack brands they are not seeing too much success. Tostitos has very few Likes for each post, fewer comments and no shares. I scanned through their page and noticed that they are not posting any photos or videos, surefire content that works across sectors and gets fans engaged and sharing. Just look at the engagement when Pringles posts a cool photo.

Talking, But Is Anyone Listening?

A key part of engaging your fans on Facebook is to talk when they are listening. Posting your update at 3am because it’s been outsourced to a company in a different timezone isn’t going to help engage fans. The day that works best differs from sector to sector and should be based on how the brand is positioned and what the fan base is doing. For salty snacks, the highest engagement is seen on Wednesday, Thursday and Sunday, yet many brands are adopting a Monday to Friday posting schedule (we’re looking at you, Tostitos). Pringles, who have their Facebook strategy working like a well oiled machine, post seven days a week to ensure fans are engaged all week long.

Engagement Variation By Day


Now here’s something I wasn’t expecting. A significantly larger proportion of women are fans of these snack brands than men. Call me small minded, but I always thought that chocolate would appeal more to the ladies and savory snacks would tickle the taste buds of men. Doritos in particular, seems to target a lot of its advertising to men and all these brands make for perfect snacks to munch on while watching the big game.

Salty Snack Fan Demographics

Interestingly, the average fan for these brands is a young, single female. This isn’t unique to one brand, it’s the same for all the snacks I analyzed. Anyone got any insights in to why this might be the case? Maybe it’s men that are eating the snacks but women are the ones buying it.

Data Analysis Methodology

All data has been compiled and analyzed from the Unmetric application which tracks dozens of metrics to enable brands to benchmark themselves against competitors and their industry sector. Gain access to all this data by claiming a 10 day free trial.

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