Brands want to be talked about; they want to become household names. But what does word of mouth do and, crucially, where does it come from? This econometric study by Data2Decisions, analysed the intricate paid, owned and earned relationship for the first time to reveal the drivers of brand word of mouth.
We know that people’s conversations about brands directly affect sales and marketing effectiveness. But what makes people talk or tweet about a brand? What makes brands into shared topics of conversation? And where do those conversations take place?
The answers lie in the results of this econometric study which reveals the brand activities that create new, 'earned' WoM in addition to the ‘base’ level of brand conversation. To do this Data2Decisions examined over half a million data points for 36 brands across three marketing categories - retail, finance, and drink. It included data from word of mouth specialists Keller Fay, YouGov's social media monitor Brandwatch, and brand data.
- 72% of incremental brand conversations are driven by paid-for advertising
- At least 90% of brand conversations take place offline
- TV advertising creates 51% of additional WoM
- TV advertising drives word of mouth for a number of weeks after initial activity: 85% of week one activity in the second week, and 72% in the third week
- TV advertising is the most significant driver of additional brand website traffic: 47% of extra visits are generated by TV advertising
TV advertising is crucial to generating brand conversations
The research revealed the factors that create additional WoM for brands. They are, in order of influence: TV advertising, which creates half (51%) of additional WoM; PR / events / brand news (19%); online search, display and affiliate site advertising (12%); changes to brand products or services (9%); print advertising (4%); outdoor advertising (2%); direct mail (1.5%); cinema advertising (1%); and radio advertising (0.5%). In total, 72% incremental brand conversations are driven by paid-for advertising.
The vast majority of WoM takes place offline
- Data from Keller Fay suggests that an overwhelming majority of brand conversations (90%) are conducted offline. 'POETIC' echoed this, finding that over 95% of brand conversations in its sample took place offline.
- YouGov's Brandwatch data, which tracks social media comments, validates this finding and suggests that the number of online conversations is significantly smaller in comparison to offline.
- TV advertising drives word of mouth for a number of weeks after initial activity: 85% of week one activity in the second week, and 72% in the third week.
- This carry over effect suggests the impact of TV on WoM can last for several months.
- The study found that running TV advertising every 3-6 months will help maintain levels of brand discussion.
TV advertising generates WoM for longer than other communication channels
Paid media drive web traffic
- TV advertising is the most significant driver of additional brand website traffic: 47% of extra visits are generated by TV advertising.
- TV advertising's significant effect on off- and online WoM also has an indirect effect on increasing website traffic, as does other advertising.
- Other key drivers of additional traffic to brand websites are: offline WoM (12%); online advertising (9.5%); PR (8%); online WoM (6%); outdoor advertising (5.5%); print advertising (3%); radio advertising (2%); direct mail (2%); brands' owned Facebook pages (2%).
TV is the key driver of corporate reputation
- Of all the influences on corporate reputation (as measured by YouGov's BrandIndex, which tracks public perception of brands), TV advertising is fundamental, driving 52% of the positive impact on corporate reputation.
- PR I Brand news I Events are the second most powerful enhancer of corporate reputation, responsible for 24%.
- Direct Mail and online advertising (including search, display and affiliate comparison sites) have shorter lived effects on corporate reputation where marketing is used to communicate news or direct consumers to purchase.