IAB Social Media Effectiveness Research

04/07/2013

The IAB investigated the impact of brand-initated social media activity upon consumer attitudes and behaviour.  The research, conducted on behalf of the IAB’s Social Media Council and carried out by Marketing Sciences, measures the impact of social media at various stages in the purchase funnel. More than 4,500 quantitative survey responses were collected by Marketing Sciences, part of Creston Insight, via the brands’ social media pages over an eight week period, and supplemented with a further 800 research panel interviews. 

Three FMCG brands took part in the research: Heinz, Kettle and Twinings, who all had different objectives behind their social media campaigns. All three brands experienced an uplift in sentiment after implementing their social media campaigns, Heinz 22%, Kettle 17% and Twinings 19%. The study also showed that social media is particularly effective in positively shifting likelihood to recommend, propensity to trial new products and brand loyalty. Four out of five consumers said they would be more inclined to buy a brand more often in the future after being exposed to a brand’s social media presence, while 83% of consumers exposed to social media would trial a brand’s product.

One of the challenges of social media effectiveness research is to establish cause and effect in terms of social media engagement and product purchase. Therefore, the study also compared the difference between buyers who followed the brand on social media and buyers who did not follow the brands. Taking this into account, we see that exposure to social media still produced a significant uplift between these groups of buyers.

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