By Chris Lee
Recent Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) research has found that nine out of every ten (90 per cent) of consumers would recommend a brand to other people after interacting with them on social networks.
The study, which focussed on fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) brands Heinz, Kettle and Twinings, found that for every £1 brands spend on social media marketing they could potentially generate £3.34 in return on investment. The IAB also found that 83 per cent of social media users would be happy to trial a product after a social media experience with a brand.
Quoted in The Drum, IAB’s Kristin Brewe said: “The IAB study shows that, when trying to create deeper emotional connections with consumers, social media is an essential channel for brands. This isn’t surprising since social media is the only channel where it’s possible for brands and consumers to have meaningful two-way conversations, making the strength of connections that much stronger.”
Researchers added that social media has the “potential to turn brand customers into brand fans”, if brands provide clear, timely and relevant content to develop a conversation.
The three brands involved in the study all experienced a similar increase in “brand sentiment” among their social media community, with Heinz up 22 per cent, Kettle 17 per cent and Twinings 19 per cent.
What do these findings mean for marketers?
While the impressive headline implies that social media interactions improve sales for consumer facing brands, one Internet marketer expressed concern to New Media Knowledge that the limited field of brands involved in the study and its focus on the FMCG market could mislead some marketers into expecting the same level of success from their own social media campaigns, particularly business-to-business (B2B) firms.
“For all the great work the IAB does, this research appears flawed and thus the results misleading – the activity focused on just three FMCG brands (and no B2B), which limits the veracity of the data from the start, and more worryingly failed to take into account the customer service / complaints procedures, which seems a huge oversight,” argued Chris Owen of UK PR specialists, Octopus Comms.
Owen believes the scope of the research is limited as it only focused on one aspect of how consumers are engaging with brands.
Owen concluded: “These results typify those which are regularly pumped out without being robust enough to provide genuine advice or strategic steer and the result is that those who are sceptical about the opportunity social platforms offer have confusing messages about effectiveness, and more ammunition to push back with in order to avoid adoption.”
While IAB’s findings may have found social media has potential benefits for consumer sales, NMK recently covered the flip side: an increase in consumer complaints over social media.