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#ThursdayThrowdown: The Social Media Battle of Uber vs. Lyft

Social Media Marketing

#ThursdayThrowdown: The Social Media Battle of Uber vs. Lyft

Successful utilization of social media at the enterprise level requires a balancing act. While engaging and pushing out endless volumes of content is certainly one way to grow your brand’s online presence, much of the audience on social media will grow frustrated if you continuously blast their news feeds with barely relevant posts.

Today we’re introducing a new series at Tracx, the #ThursdayThrowdown. Periodically, we’ll take two brands, events, or trends that we’re interested in and put them head to head using Tracx technology.

This week we’re looking at Uber vs. Lyft. Through the Tracx platform, we measured both brands’ social media buzz, and dug deep into their conversations’ content in order to examine how the brands’ social presences are shaping their overall reputation.


Over the last month, Uber has been mentioned in social media nearly four times as often as Lyft. While both companies were discussed due to taxi-related events such as a vicious protest by London cab drivers, Uber capitalizes on its high profile valuation to use social media as a publicizing megaphone. Although Lyft benefited from some of the same discussions, conversation about the smaller company never got very “loud” when compared to Uber.

Screen Shot 2014 06 19 at 1.42.13 PM resized 600

Volume Winner: Uber


However, quantity of posts and mentions only means so much in the realm of social media. When the conversations surrounding Uber and Lyft are compared, Uber has a greater percentage of negative buzz. People around the world have taken to social media to accuse Uber’s business model of being illegal, to discuss cases in which Uber has denied responsibility for drivers who have harassed or even kidnapped passengers, and to express solidarity with the European taxi drivers who claim Uber has ruined their livelihood.

On the other hand, the emotional posts about Lyft tend to show more positive sentiment, reflecting a much healthier brand reputation. Although the two business models are similar enough to be subject to the same complaints, Uber is experiencing the struggles of maintaining control when millions of people begin dissecting your brand.

Tracx Uber vs Lyft Sentiment

Sentiment Winner: Lyft


Uber has over one hundred Twitter accounts across the globe, through which local community managers address customer service issues, post about local sports and celebrities, and engage locals in conversations about the company. We found that just over half of the conversations about Uber include at least one of the company’s social media accounts. We give Uber kudos for those high engagement numbers, but the point of that kind of interactivity is to get consumers to positively affect your brand health and brand affinity. The unflattering sentiment scores show that Uber’s aggressive social media strategy isn’t really having that effect.

Without a SMMS such as Tracx, which allows teams to digest and truly understand social data, many companies would look at Uber’s enthusiastic social media engagement and attempt to replicate their efforts. Engagement is a good thing right?… Well, only to a certain extent… Instead these companies should consider following suit behind Lyft – they participate in less than a third of the online conversations about their brand, but that smaller engagement improves the company’s image significantly. Lyft’s social presence has taken on a more organic growth rate while maintaining positive sentiment trends.

Engagement Winner: Lyft


A major point of social media engagement is to convey a message to your consumers. A company that leverages social media properly will see consumer discussions shift to include the brand’s target message. Although Uber is engaging in a lot of conversations, very little of what they are saying is being reflected in the conversations held by their consumers.

By using Tracx, we can measure the degree to which a company’s message influences their consumers’ conversations. By comparing the top fifty keywords used in conversations in which the brand participated, to the top keywords that the general public uses during conversations about the brand, we’re able to conclude that lots of overlap indicates that a brand’s consumers have adopted the branded messaging in their own conversations, while less overlap suggests that what the brand is saying is not resonating with consumers.

“Of the topics that Uber discusses in its social media accounts, less than a third end up in organic social media discussions… By comparison, Lyft does much better. Nearly half of the smaller company’s messaging ends up being echoed by the public.” 

Accordingly, consumers have stopped listening to Uber. Of the topics that Uber discusses in its social media accounts, less than a third end up in organic social media discussions… By comparison, Lyft does much better. Nearly half of the smaller company’s messaging ends up being echoed by the publicPlus, most of Uber’s overlap isn’t meaningful. For a company that lets people hail cabs through an app on their smartphones, getting people to discuss your brand in terms of words like “cab” and “driver” isn’t all that helpful. Uber’s overlap is comprised of basic descriptions of its service and recent news reports about the company. Messages about Uber’s brand identity rarely make it into the consumer consciousness.

By comparison, Lyft does much better. Nearly half of the smaller company’s message ends up being echoed by the public, and the words that penetrate are ones that count like “affordable” and “friendly.”  Pardon the wordplay, but Lyft’s messaging truly “lifts” their brand across the board in terms of sentiment, amplification, and overall brand health.

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Community Winner: Lyft

Content Winner: Lyft

And the winner is… LYFT!

If you only gauged social success on volume, Uber would win hands down. But simple volume alone isn’t a good indicator of social success. Looking deeper through the social lens, Lyft engaged their audience to generate greater organic growth, higher positive sentiment, and an overall true community approach to their messaging.

Uber is often hailed as a disruptive innovator, but their social media tactics are somewhat outdated. Old-school social media success was once all about volume and number of posts/mentions. Companies wanted to inspire as much conversation as possible, and didn’t care much about the content of the conversations. Today’s social media environment has moved beyond one where simply counting the conversations is beneficial to knowing where your brand stands. Instead, companies must now carefully curate relevant and buzz worthy content in order to gain traction online. What people think about a brand is now recognized as being just as important as how often they think about it, and a company’s ability to influence consumers’ conversations is vital to their success.

An enterprise social media platform would prove quite fruitful for Uber, and all companies struggling with harnessing the power of social and positive sentiment word of mouth. Using a unified social tool provides benefits to various team members, from brand managers and content strategists to community managers and many others. By using a complete platform, brands can go way beyond knowing how often they are being talked about, and start understanding what is actually being said about them, and from where. Further, features such as geographical trend analysis and multi-account, cross-network publishing capabilities allow companies to push out relevant content, quicker and easier than ever before.

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