The latest results from a new Ogilvy-ChatThreads study seems very promising for social media. The study found that social content can significantly increase spending and consumption among consumers.
• Social content increases the likelihood of spending and consumption by two to seven times.
• Social content is more pervasive when combined with public relations, television, or out of home.
• Social content is most effective in shifting brand perception during a short seven-day period.
"Much of the work to date has looked at direct channel impacts; for example, do direct clicks from a social media site result in sales?" says Irfan Kamal, senior vice president of digital/social, Ogilvy. "We found that in the real world, social content exposure by itself, and more broadly when combined with other types of media exposure, is linked with two to seven times higher likelihood of consumption and actual spending increases."
The study captured detailed touch point data in the moment from the consumer's point of view. They also were able to track day-to-day brand exposures and assess the complex interaction with various media and marketing efforts. The study was primarily conducted using restaurant consumers.
Not all of the study findings were especially positive for social media.
The data revealed that only 24 percent of the study group reported exposure to social content. The study group reported a 69 percent exposure rate for television. The discrepancy is easy enough to understand.
Social content is an extremely active and nonlinear space, with most people flipping content at a expedient pace. While television is evolving, it is still a relatively singular and passive activity that demands more attention. People are willing to become lost in a show. They are less likely to be lost in one activity online.
Ogilvy is headed in the right direction with integrated communication.
I've long held that social media does not exist in a vacuum. When shaping brand perception and making purchasing decisions, they might consciously and subconsciously consider multiple exposures — a recent advertisement, a recent article or news story, word-of-mouth from friends offline, social media, etc.
Ideally, the best marketing strategies create multiple exposure points (advertising, speaking engagements, etc.) that directly or indirectly prompt consumers to look for more information online. And when they look online, they find a well-maintained, engaging (but not sales driven) presence on the social network of their choice.
And if they don't? Then your television commercial might have made them think about ordering a pizza — but the order will be placed with your competitor. So maybe it's time to quit thinking in terms of milk or cookies when most people agree milk and cookies is more effective.