Of the 13 largest insurance companies studied, MetLife, Farmers and Liberty Mutual are the most successful with social media, according to "Who's Covered? Insurance Social Media Showdown," a report that examined the social-media activity of insurers from Sept. 1 to Oct. 31, 2012. The report was produced by Unmetric, a social media benchmarking company.

Unmetric scored each insurer based on a blend of quantitative and qualitative metrics, which were weighted and averaged to produce a single number ranging from zero to 100 for each social network, including one score each for Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. Scores were based on content strategy, engagement, growth, timing and frequency of posts, tweets and videos on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, Unmetric said, and go beyond the number of followers and friends the companies have accumulated to determine what campaigns are working, with whom, and how effectively insurance companies and their mascots are utilizing social media.

“Today, social media is a natural extension of physical communities into the online world,” said Lux Narayan, Unmetric CEO. “Insurance agents have always been skilled at building and maintaining long-lasting relationships, so it’s no surprise these companies have taken to social media like a fish to water.”

Combined Unmetric Score (out of 300 possible)

See below for detailed breakdown of scores.

1. Allstate: 166

2. State Farm: 148

3. GEICO: 145

4. Farmers Insurance: 130

5. MetLife: 129

“While earning fans is certainly a great step toward asserting popularity, engaging with them is what sets one company apart from the next. Unmetric weighted all the Likes, Comments, Shares and Estimated Impressions generated by each company on Facebook to determine which insurance companies see the most engagement with their fans,” the report said. “Despite having the smallest following of any company measured, Travelers Insurance knows how to get their fans involved, earning an average engagement score of 303. By comparison, the next closest company, USAA, earns only 124, followed by MetLife, which rounds out the top three with a score of 105. The average U.S. insurance page earns an average engagement score of 61.”

Additional insights from the report:

Farmers had more than 2.3 million fans on Facebook, followed by MetLife, with 554,438. However, enthusiasm for Farmers on Facebook did not carry to Twitter or YouTube, and Farmers’ success on Facebook may be attributable to its sponsorship of Facebook’s Farmville in 2011, which drove fan growth as millions of people ‘Liked’ the page in exchange for free digital goods.

Farmers, USAA and GEICO have the most social relationships overall, but Liberty Mutual has experienced a 170-percent growth in Facebook fans and 84 percent growth in Twitter followers over the period studied.

Posts about corporate social responsibility are the most popular and earn the highest average engagement scores. For example, American Family Insurance offered 50,000 meals for the hungry in exchange for 20,000 Likes.

Engagement on social media is equally reactive as it is proactive. Unmetric broke down reply metrics for each company on Facebook and Twitter and found Esurance is the most responsive brand on Facebook, responding to 76.5 percent of incoming posts; the company takes, on average, four hours and ten minutes to respond. State Farm replies in just under four hours.

On Twitter, Farmers is quickest to reply, averaging two hours and 28 minutes; American Family is next, with an average of just over three-and-a-half hours. State Farm replies to tweets twice as often; and State Farm publicly apologized 41 times during the period measured; Allstate and GEICO posted the second most apologies, each with six.

GEICO is the leader on YouTube, with nearly 50 million video views and more than 17,000 subscribers in the period measured.

Mascots: Flo from Progressive, Mayhem from Allstate and the GEICO Gecko each maintain Facebook pages separate from their parent companies; Flo leads in popularity and growth, with almost five million fans and a steady growth rate of 4.9 percent. However, she does the worst job of actually engaging fans. Mayhem from Allstate takes this honor, earning an average engagement score of 219.

Notable metrics:

Facebook Unmetric Score

1. MetLife: 58

2. Farmers: 56

3. Liberty Mutual: 48

4. USAA: 41

5. Allstate: 37

Total Fans

1. Farmers: 2,312,884

2. MetLife: 554, 438

3. USAA: 287,723

4. GEICO: 278,214

5. State Farm: 270,606

Growth

1. Liberty Mutual: 169.9 percent

2. Allstate: 67.4 percent

3. American Family: 34.6 percent

4. Esurance: 15.2 percent

5. Travelers: 7 percent

Highest Engagement (Calculation of Likes, Comments, Shares, and Impressions that each FB post receives)

1. Travelers: 303

2. USAA: 124

3. MetLife: 105

4. American Family: 89

5. Nationwide: 69

Response Rate

1. Esurance: 76.5 percent

2. MetLife: 61.5 percent

3. Allstate: 48.9 percent

4. State Farm: 45.1 percent

5. USAA: 41.2 percent

Average Reply Time (HH:MM:SS)

1. State Farm: 3:53:00

2. Esurance: 4:09:00

3. American Family Insurance: 5:17:00

4. Nationwide Insurance: 7:02:00

5. MetLife: 7:34:00

Twitter Unmetric Score

1. @Allstate: 64

2. @StateFarm: 63

3. @WeAreFarmers: 56

4. @Nationwide: 48

5. @amfam: 47

Total Followers

1. @USAA: 35,904

2. @Allstate: 29,730

3. @StateFarm: 28,576

4. @Nationwide: 15,959

5. @Progressive: 15,394

Growth

1. @esurance: 11.1 percent

2. @StateFarm: 10.2 percent

3. @USAA: 8.6 percent

4. @WeAreFarmers: 8 percent

5. @GEICO_Service: 7.9 percent

Average Reply Time (HH:MM:SS)

1. @WeAreFarmers: 2:28:00

2. @amfam: 3:33:00

3. @Nationwide: 3:47:00

4. @TRV_Insurance: 3:51:00

5. @StateFarm: 4:17:00

YouTube Unmetric Score

1. GEICO: 76

2. Allstate: 65

3. MetLife: 59

4. State Farm: 54

5. Progressive: 49

Total Video Views

1. GEICO: 48,828,698

2. Allstate: 26,738,065

3. State Farm: 22,569,700

4. Progressive: 14,161,451

5. Nationwide: 3,122,372

YouTube Viewership Growth

1. Liberty Mutual: 84.1 percent

2. American Family: 54.5 percent

3. Progressive: 13.3 percent

4. Nationwide: 12.9 percent

5. USAA: 9.7 percent

Total Channel Subscribers

1. GEICO: 17,576

2. Allstate: 8,541

3. State Farm: 7,064

4. Progressive: 3,835

5. USAA: 1,187

Channel Subscriber Growth

1. USAA: 17.4 percent

2. American Family: 17.3 percent

3. Nationwide: 14.9 percent

4. Liberty Mutual: 12.4 percent

5. MetLife: 11.7 percent

Mascot Facebook Showdown/Unmetric Score

1. Flo from Progressive: 74

2. Mayhem from Allstate: 41

3. GEICO Gecko: 30

Facebook Fans

1. Flo from Progressive: 4,699,955

2. Mayhem from Allstate: 1,407,479

3. GEICO Gecko: 292,705

Facebook Growth

1. Flo from Progressive: 4.9 percent

2. Mayhem from Allstate: 2.6 percent

3. GEICO Gecko: 1.7 percent

Highest Engagement (Calculation of Likes, Comments, Shares, and Impressions that each FB post receives)

1. Mayhem from Allstate: 219

2. GEICO Gecko: 46

3. Flo from Progressive: 21

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