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TV advertising most effective in building word of mouth for brands: Thinkbox

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MUMBAI: Thinkbox, the marketing body for commercial TV in the UK, has released a study that shows that TV advertising creates 51 per cent of additional Word of mouth for brands. PR/Events/Brand news creates 19 per cent.

Online search, display and affiliate site advertising creates 12 per cent. While changes to brand products or services creates nine per cent, print advertising accounts for four per cent. Outdoor advertising creates two per cent, Direct Mail 1.5 per cent and Cinema one per cent. Radio advertising is the least effective at 0.5 per cent.

This means that, in total, paid-for advertising is responsible for almost three quarters (72 per cent) of the total additional WoM about brands offline (e.g. in person or over the ‘phone) or online.

We already 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 answer has been revealed by new research examining what creates word of mouth (WoM).

The ‘POETIC’ research – ‘Paid, Owned, Earned: TV’s Influence Calculated’ – by Data2Decisions, the marketing effectiveness consultancy, and Thinkbox looked at the intricate relationship between ‘paid media’ (advertising), ‘owned media’ (primarily brand websites), and ‘earned media’ (WoM). It econometrically analysed what brand activities create new, ‘earned’ WoM in addition to the heritage, market and seasonal factors which make up the ongoing ‘base’ level of brand conversation, some of which will have been influenced by previous brand activity.

The ‘Poetic’ study analysed over half a million data points for 36 brands across three marketing categories – retail, finance, and drink – including data from word of mouth specialists Keller Fay, YouGov’s social media monitor Brandwatch, and data directly from brands. Other key findings include:

The vast majority of WoM takes place offline

  • Data from Keller Fay suggests that an overwhelming majority of brand conversations (90 per cent) are conducted offline. Data2Decisions’ ‘Poetic’ study echoed this and found that over 95 per cent 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 generates WoM for longer than other communication channels. TV advertising drives word of mouth for a number of weeks after initial activity: 85 per cent of week one activity in the second week, and 72 per cent 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.

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 per cent); online advertising (9.5 per cent); PR (eight per cent); online WoM (six per cent); outdoor advertising (5.5 per cent); print advertising (three per cent); radio advertising (two per cent); Direct Mail (two per cent); brands’ owned Facebook pages (two per cent).

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 per cent of the positive impact on corporate reputation.
  • PR / Brand news / 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.

Thinkbox research and planning director Neil Mortensen, “Word of mouth can be marketing magic, but paid advertising’s causal effect is often overlooked with too much emphasis put on what is easily counted or highly visible – where the conversation happens rather than what drove it. This research has revealed for the first time what actually stimulates people’s brand conversations and it is clear that investment in advertising – and especially TV – is key to getting people to talk about your brand positively.”

Data2Decisions director Katherine Munford said, “While conversations naturally occur as consumers use products and services, brand communications generate significant word of mouth. Owned and earned online platforms amplify the effects of paid media by providing hubs for conversation, but delivering a long term impact is best achieved via paid media – with the audio-visual power of TV being especially powerful.”

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