Although London performs the strongest for the volume of digital mentions, when population size is taken into account Liverpool comes out on top.
The UK’s Most Talked about Cities report provides an insight into the most visible cities on social media and online news.
Produced by comms consultancy ING Media, the research takes global city indices and reorders them by their share of online conversation.
The agency said the findings are designed to help city policymakers and promoters understand how online presence impacts a city’s brand.
It highlights the need to talk about the digital presence of cities, what controls these conversations, and how digital conversations are changing the role and nature of cities around the world.
Key findings reveal that London is responsible for more than half of all mentions of the top 20 cities.
Liverpool takes second spot, and has the second most mentions on Twitter, Facebook and forums, while Manchester is third, benefiting from media concentration, blogs and Tumblr.
However, when population is taken into account, Liverpool tops the list with more than 35 online mentions per person a year, more than double Edinburgh and London. Football (limited to 25 per cent of total mentions across small cities), The Beatles, and its band members feature prominently.
Leanne Tritton, managing director at ING Media, said: "UK cities are investing heavily into building brands that reflect their attractiveness as cultural, business and education centres. Measuring their digital visibility provides a clearer insight into how these cities and towns perform as brands compared to their peers."
Along with Liverpool and Oxford, Sheffield is also a strong performer, generating significantly more mentions on digital media relative to their positions on global city indices.
Meanwhile, Coventry, Nottingham, Belfast and Aberdeen are the cities that have the most potential to grow their digital profile.
"Our ranking shows which cities punch above their weight and which show the most potential for increasing their digital profiles – as well as which cities are talking the most about culture, technology, business, liveability and talent," said Peter Griffiths, city strategist at ING Media.