Koen Pauwels, Ph.D. (Northeastern University), Ed Keller (Engagement Labs)
Social/online listening is just the tip of the iceberg where conversations are considered. Offline conversations make up the bulk of the iceberg below the surface. A finding from previous work showed that there is no correlation between online and offline conversations; they are two different channels of communication. An example – a Lay’s promotion, where similar online and offline conversations were seen up to a point; after that, offline persisted while online plummeted. If only online was measured, that offline impact would have been totally missed and not leveraged.
Engagement Labs looked at 21 brands using marketing mix models to explore trends over three years, and how well TotalSocial predicted next week’s sales.
Six key findings:
- Conversations explained 19% of sales – 10% offline, and 9% online. This relatively equal impact was seen across all the categories.
- In terms of driving sales, volume is the most important factor for offline conversations, and sentiment was most important for online.
- Conversation impact starts ~8 weeks before sales and accelerates closer to purchase. It’s a leading KPI.
Media buys can drive conversation, especially online.
- Marketing effects are cross-channel. Both online and offline conversations are driven by TV, online video, and online display. Surprisingly, radio is effective for both.
- Media stimulates conversations which in turn stimulates sales, compounding the conversation effects.