NEW YORK: Oreo stands out as an exception among CPG brands which are finding it difficult to engage online audiences, new research has said.

Social media software provider Livefyre analysed 500 global mainstream brands across 16 different industries, looking at the growth and loss patterns of unique visitors from 2011 through 2013 and found that the CPG category had fared worst.

Cosmetic companies such as Estee Lauder, L'Oreal, Revlon, Maybelline, and CoverGirl all lost Web traffic in 2012 and 2013, according to Livefyre. And even brands such as Dove and Axe, once perceived to be successful digital players, had seen declines in web traffic over the past year.

MediaPost highlighted beer brand Michelob Ultra as an example of the problems facing the category, reporting a net traffic loss of 94%.

In contrast, Oreo recorded an extraordinary 7,244% increase in web traffic in the past year alone. This was the successful outcome of a long-term initiative preparing Oreo to achieve online relevance every day.

This saw the company celebrate its 100th anniversary in a Daily Twist campaign, showing the trending news of the day through the playful eyes of an Oreo cookie and laid the groundwork that made its now famous Super Bowl tweet possible.

While Oreo was star performer, several others also managed to buck the overall trend, including Burt's Bees, the skincare product, which saw a 280% increase in web traffic in 2012-13. Seventh Generation, the eco-friendly household products brand, was also noteworthy for turning around a 65% decline in 2011-12 to a 488% gain in 2012-13.

Livefyre CEO Jordan Kretchmer said social media was key to improving a brand's digital popularity. "The study shows that those industries which successfully integrated social experiences into their Web sites have seen the greatest return in traffic," he stated.

"The key takeaway here is that consumer behaviour is evolving faster than it ever has before and in order to sustain growth, brands need to evolve their communication strategies just as quickly," he added.

The industries that showed trends of overall positive growth included automotive, financial services, online retail, publishing and travel.

Data sourced from MediaPost, Admap, PR Web; additional content by Warc staff