Brussels occupies 11th place on the list of Europe’s most digitally visible cities. This is the result of the annual ranking of Europe’s most talked-about cities, conducted by ING Media PR agency. Brussels improved in 2020 as compared to 2019, when it was positioned on 12th place out of 50 European cities. The study measures online mentions on social media and news over a calendar year.
In terms of digital visibility, Brussels is behind London, Paris, Madrid, Rome, Barcelona, Moscow, Istanbul, Berlin, Milan, Amsterdam and Manchester. At the same time, Brussels got better results than Vienna, Dublin, Munich, Hamburg, Prague, Lisbon, Frankfurt, Helsinki, Geneva, Stockholm, Warsaw, Budapest, Zurich or Copenhagen. This study describes a correlation between digital visibility and economic performance.
Global surveys rank cities against almost every aspect of urban life; influencing investment, where talent concentrates, and our travel choices. ING’s research, focuses on the impact digital visibility is having on cities as brands. It highlights that the extent to which people are talking about cities is positively correlated with economic potential at a country level.
Increasing awareness of place is one of the single most important measures local and national leaders can take to ensure their cities thrive in our connected world.
Top 5 in Europe
Based on ING Media study, London is on the first place in the rankings followed by Paris (2) and Madrid (3). Istanbul has risen to fourth place in the list, replacing Rome and followed by Barcelona (5).
“All cities have significant talent and investment needs, but smaller urban areas may be the biggest winners in using digital conversations to improve their visibility to access new opportunities. The most forward-thinking places are already using a long-term strategy to identify and share their unique story across all forms of media. The challenge is to maintain momentum, while adapting to the ever-changing online environment”, notes Leanne Tritton, managing director at ING Media.
London and Paris share almost a third of the online conversation for the Top 50 cities, however, both cities have seen a reduction in visibility since the 2019 edition. London leads for mentions on news, Twitter, Facebook, Reddit, YouTube, Instagram, blogs, and reviews and comments. Last year, Paris was a more popular term on social media.
Antwerp is another Belgian city on the Top 50 list, occupying 42nd position. Countries with more cities ranked highly for digital visibility are more likely to have stronger economic performance. Key languages for attracting digital visibility are English and Spanish followed by German, French, Japanese and Arabic.
Top 5 cities with the most digital profile potential
Global city rankings highlight these as the cities we should pay attention to, but this doesn’t necessarily translate to the digital world, where these cities attract fewer mentions than their peers. These cities have the most potential to grow their digital profiles by leveraging their strengths more strategically. Cities that don’t are more likely to see a reduction in their visibility score in global city rankings.
Copenhagen, Stockholm and Helsinki all have raised numbers for sustainability, highlighting the Nordic region’s credentials. However, London and Paris have comparable shares to Copenhagen. As this topic becomes more mainstream, places with a strong history of sustainability may need to find new ways of differentiating.
Helsinki, which replaces Oslo, is the only city in this list that didn’t appear last year. Warsaw continues to lead for culture and, with Zurich, has the highest share for technology. Zurich, perhaps unsurprisingly, has the highest share for business. However, it also has one of the lowest digital conversation shares for culture, while other financial capitals have seen far greater divergence in conversation topics since last year’s edition.
Amid the global coronavirus pandemic, a strong digital presence may be more important than ever for cities eager to attract recognition, talent and investment.
Top 5 cities punching above their weight for digital mentions
These cities generate significantly more mentions on digital media relative to their positions on city indices. Lyon’s digital visibility, which punched the most above its weight in the 2019 edition, is no longer driven by conversations around technology. Porto, which also leads the Top 5 for culture, now has the highest share for this category. Porto, which has continued to gain profile, was noted in the previous survey for having far higher digital visibility than its global city ranking would suggest. Lyon now has a comparatively higher share of conversations happening around sustainability, indicating the growing significance of this topic. Manchester’s high talent share, as was the case in 2019, may be indicative of sustained population and jobs growth. Valencia, a new entrant (like Porto) leads conversations for business.
“In the new normal of the COVID-19 pandemic, it has never been more important for cities to communicate clearly and effectively with their people both online and on social media”
You can read the full report on the ING Media website and you can also learn more on How Europe’s cities are using digital to gain profile.