Tokyo accounts for 6.44% of total online conversations of the top 250 cities globally, according to The World’s Most Talked about Cities, a recent report from built environment PR firm ING Media. 

The report highlights that one in every five mentions across online news and social media are about Tokyo, New York, London and Paris, which lead Madrid (5th), Dubai (6th), Rome (7th), Barcelona (8th), Seoul (9th) and Osaka (10th) by a significant margin.


The top four cities feature in the top 10 across news, Instagram, Twitter, forums and blogs, with only Tokyo falling out of the top 10 for mentions on Facebook.

The report found that the US is home to more talked about cities – based on their digital visibility – than any other country. The rise of China is also clear, with the country having the second most talked about cities globally, despite the inability to fully capture the conversations taking place in China.

One of the top takeaways, however, is that a country’s share of global GDP and the share of digital mentions for its cities are strongly correlated, with the report suggesting that the extent to which people are talking about a place may be a far stronger indicator of economic potential than sentiment.

The year-long study highlights that while digital visibility is geographically concentrated in Europe and North America, there are 51 countries with major cities not represented in the Top 250. These are mostly in Africa, where, along with Asia, almost all urban and population growth is expected in coming decades. Lagos (41st) is Africa’s most visible city, ranking far higher than Johannesburg (130th).

Additionally, Liverpool, Kyoto, Portland, Baghdad, Tampa, Porto, Cleveland, Las Vegas, Turin, Nantes and Mecca were identified by ING Media as punching above their weight, insofar as their online profiles greatly exceeded their ‘global ranking’ based from 24 different global city rankings. 

Liverpool’s online visibility ranking, 196 places higher than its global city ranking, was achieved even though the survey limited mentions for sport to 25% of total mentions per city.

Sofia, Kuwait City, Guangzhou, Vilnius, Ljubljana, Bucharest, Bratislava, Manama, Ho Chi Minh City, Auckland and Muscat were identified as cities showing the most potential for raising their profile through social media and online engagement, with each having an average global city ranking that greatly exceeded their digital visibility. 

“In a globally competitive world, visibility matters to cities today more than ever before. Yet beyond a handful of key cities we know little about their brand potential. Measuring their digital visibility provides a clearer insight into how cities and major towns perform as brands compared to their regional and global peers,” said Leanne Tritton, managing director at ING Media. 

The report by ING Media follows studies of Europethe UK and the US’s Most Talked About Cities and includes digital mentions for English, Chinese, Spanish, Arabic, Portuguese, Japanese, Russian, German, French, Malaysian, Indonesian, and the city’s local language.