Who’s Serving Up the Hottest Social Media Content in the Ice Cream Aisle?

Whether you’re team ice cream cone or devoted to the pint, there’s no denying that ice cream is a summertime staple. As the temperatures rise, so does the competition among the top ice cream brands as they battle it out for those sweet, sweet social media engagement dollars.

At Ignite Social Media, we went into our social data freeze-dryer to analyze how the top 5 ice cream brands – Ben & Jerry’s, Blue Bell, Breyers, Edy’s, and Haagen-Dazs – performed across Facebook, Instagram, Twitter (X), and TikTok over the last 30 days. Here’s the inside scoop on who is truly making fans drool over their social content.

The Fan Favorite Brand Wielding a Massive Cone-ing Advantage

When it comes to racking up fans, Ben & Jerry’s takes the whole cake – and probably ate it too. The Vermont-based brand boasts a massive 8.5 million followers on Facebook and over 1.5 million Instagram fans. Those follower numbers absolutely demolish most of their pint-sized competitors.

The only other brand that comes close is Haagen-Dazs, pulling in a respectable 1.2 million Facebook followers, no doubt fueled by their decadent ice cream flavors like Dulce de Leche and Rum Raisin. But despite their large fan bases, neither Ben & Jerry’s nor Haagen-Dazs managed to melt away the competition when it came to engagement rates.

On Facebook, Ben & Jerry’s captured just 0.3% engagement from their legions of fans. And on Instagram, despite posting a whopping 66 times, they averaged “just” 7,100 engagements per post – good, but not great for a brand their size. They still did better than Haagen-Dazs as that brand didn’t post at all on Facebook in the last 30 days.

NOTE: Because we’re pulling publicly available data, we have to calculate engagement rates as engagements/followers rather than the more standard engagements/impressions method. That’s why these engagement rates seem so low, but they are interesting relative to one another.

The Underdog Overachiever Scooping Up Shock and “Awww” Factor

While their total followers are but a fraction of the bigger brands, Blue Bell is truly the underdog overachiever that kept proving the “size doesn’t matter” adage true. On Facebook, with just 470,000 fans, Blue Bell generated an engagement rate 100 times higher than Ben & Jerry’s.

They sprinkled that same magic onto Instagram, boasting only 10% of Ben & Jerry’s total followers, yet pulling in an average of 3,568 engagements per post compared to Ben & Jerry’s 7,100. A large driver of Blue Bell’s Instagram success appeared to be user-generated content like customer photos in the comments, plus clever giveaway posts that attracted over 2,300 comments from fans desperate for a free four-pack.

The Blue vs. Green Battle Rages On

While most brands we looked at were M.I.A. on Twitter (X), the battle between underdog Blue Bell and heavyweight Ben & Jerry’s raged on. Once again, the smaller Texas-based creamery generated far higher engagement rates despite having just 1/10th as many followers as Ben & Jerry’s.

Of course, Ben & Jerry’s still racked up the highest total volume of engagements like retweets and likes. But if you look at engagement rates rather than just raw totals, the Green Mountain giants are getting outpaced by the little blue pint that could.

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A post shared by Blue Bell (@bluebellicecream)

The TikTok Titans Trading Blows

When it comes to TikTok, there can be no debate – Ben & Jerry’s and Haagen-Dazs are the reigning titans of tasty videos. Between them, they racked up over 8 million total views in the 30-day analysis period, numbers that make the other brands look like they’re stuck in the ice cream freezer.

Haagen-Dazs pulled in a higher average of around 303,000 views per post compared to Ben & Jerry’s 88,000. But Ben & Jerry’s captured the higher total engagement numbers, aided by viral hits like their cookie dough recipe video that racked up nearly 3 million views and nearly 500,000 engagements.

@benandjerrys Sometimes you just want to do the dough. Here’s the full ingredient list: 🍪 8 tbsp. unsalted butter (1 stick), room temperature 🍪 1 cup brown sugar, packed 🍪 2 tbsp. heavy cream 🍪 1 tsp. vanilla extract 🍪 1/2 tsp. kosher salt 🍪 1 cup flour (heat treated!) 🍪 1/2 cup chocolate chips #benandjerrys #cookiedough #ediblecookiedough ♬ original sound – benandjerrys

However, looking at median engagement numbers, which cut out outlier viral winners, Ben & Jerry’s maintained a slight edge with 223 engagements per post versus 173 for Haagen-Dazs. So while the Swiss creamery may win on view volume, Ben & Jerry’s seems to have the more engaged and interactive fans on TikTok.

@haagendazs_us Say hello to our New York Strawberry Cheesecake Dazzler now available at all Häagen-Dazs shops 🗽🍓 #haagendazsshops #newyorkstrawberrycheesecake #icecreamsundae ♬ original sound – patra_b

The Hot Fudge-Coated Takeaways

With only access to publicly available data, there’s no way to determine if brands had a secret weapon in the form of paid promotions helping to bolster their numbers. But one thing is abundantly clear – simply throwing money at social media isn’t enough to make fans engage. The real winners, like the savvy folks at Blue Bell, are those creating quality content that sparks conversations and taps into current trends.

Leveraging user-generated content, running giveaways that activate super fans, and sharing drool-worthy recipe videos are the ways to a follower’s heart (and stomach!). So, brands looking to rise above the competition would be wise to follow the lead of these leading ice cream makers when generating social media content.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I suddenly have a craving for a pint of Half Baked that needs immediate attention…

Ignite Social Media