Integrated social media drives sales : Study

New York : According to preview results from a new study of quick service restaurant (QSR) consumers, individuals exposed to social media are significantly more likely to increase their spending and consumption than those who aren’t exposed. The impact was most pervasive when social media was combined with other types of media. The Integrated Social Media Sales Impact study is from Ogilvy and ChatThreads and was conducted between January and May 2011.

Compared to unexposed individuals, people exposed to the following brand media touchpoints were much more likely to have increased their spending or consumption than others: Social media only exposure: 7x greater likelihood of higher spend (observed for KFC) , Social media PLUS billboard ads (out of home): Approximately 2x greater likelihood of higher spend or consumption (observed for the entire QSR category in aggregate) , Social media PLUS TV ads: 2x greater likelihood of higher consumption (observed for Wendy’s) and People exposed to social media PLUS news stories or editorials spent 17% more week-over-week (observed for the QSR category) .

According to Irfan Kamal, SVP Digital/Social, Ogilvy, “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? This study attempts to understand the more complex factors that lead to consumer purchase changes. We’ve found that in the real world, social media exposure – by itself and more broadly when combined with other types of media exposure such as out-of-home, PR or TV ads – is linked with 2-7x higher likelihood of consumption and actual spend increases for some QSR brands.”

Dr. Walter Carl, ChatThreads Founder and Chief Research Officer, adds: “Because we captured detailed touchpoint data in the moment from the consumer’s point of view we were able to track day-to-day brand exposures and assess the complex interaction effects of the various media and marketing initiatives.”

Methodology : The study recruited 404 individuals to use the ChatThreads BrandEncounter™ platform in reporting their real-time exposure to 21 different brand “touchpoints” across five QSR brands: KFC, McDonalds, Subway, Taco Bell and Wendy’s. The study ran in 2 segments between 1/20/11 and 5/6/11. A total of 5,623 touchpoints were reported by participating consumers. Participants were pre-screened for QSR favorability and social media activity within the past week.

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