THE AGE OFSOCIAL INFLUENCEHOW MEDIA-EMPOWERED CONSUMERSARE HELPING TO DRIVE SALES
MethodologyThis project was part of Initiative’s ConsumerConnections global research program which nowspans in excess of 50 countries. Our study’s samplewas designed to identify those actively engaged insocial media. As a result we conducted 8014 onlineinterviews with consumers aged 18-54. Interlockingage/gender and regional quotas were set to reflect thenational population in each country, the only exceptionsbeing China where the focus was on Tier 1, Tier 2 andTier 3 cities and Canada where the Nunavut, NWT,Yukon regions were excluded. We used complexfactor analysis to identify drivers of social behavior. Thisenabled us to quantify consumers’ social influence andidentify those who are leveraging their superior socialconnections to influence purchase decisions.
the age of social influenceThe importance of social media has been discussed at lengthfor several years now. We know that in many markets time spentonline has surpassed that of TV and that daily social media usage iscontinuing to increase.We know that the once linear and transaction-centric purchase funnelis now multi-directional, random and heavily influenced by opinion andinformation gathered by consumers. And we know that because ofsocial media and technology, consumers can now enter the purchasecycle at various points, and spontaneously influence others as theytravel along the path the purchase.But do we really understand how marketers can unlock the real valueof all this? Do we know how social media works with other moreestablished media? And do we know how to harness the power ofsocial media for real commercial gain?In order to find answers to some of these crucial questions, Initiativeset out to explore the individual and combined strength of TV, socialand mobile, and how consumer interaction with each has altered thepath to purchase. Specifically, we wanted to investigate:• How do we produce greater synergy between our siloed media, social and mobile budgets and tactics that result in a greater return on investment?• What are the impact of social, TV and mobile on shopper decision-making?• What role does consumer influence play along the path to purchase? To do so, we conducted a global online study among 8014 web usersaged 16-54 across eight countries: Argentina, Australia, Canada,China, Germany, the Netherlands, the US and the UK. We also spokeone-on-one with a group of super influencers in the US and the UK togain a better understanding of social behavior.
Media synergy accelerates the purchase process For many years, forward-thinking marketers have called for greater integration between their online and offline touchpoints in the hope of creating a multiplier effect that drives greater reach and scale. However, our study found that while the integration of social, TV and mobile has indeed altered the way consumers make decisions about brands, it is not because of their ability to simply multiply brand messages. Increasingly, consumers are becoming the driving force powering what, when and where brand interactions occur. Based upon our findings, Initiative believes that by leveraging the consumer’s natural inclination to engage with media across multiple screens and social media, we can create a consumer-powered media synergy effect that is both non-linear and emotional - driving deeper engagement and trust. The result is an acceleration of the purchase process unobtainable by any of the three media independently. We have identified three strategies for marketers that use the combined power of social, mobile and TV to navigate through the complexity: Three strategies for marketers 1 TAPPING INTO 2 THE POWER SOURCE THE SOCIAL OPTIMIZING TOUCHPOINTS INFLUENCER TO PRODUCE SYNERGY 3 TRANSFORMING A ‘POINT OF INFLUENCE’ INTO A CALL TO ACTION
1 Tapping into the power source – the social influencerFirst, marketers must seed messages with consumer influencers whohave the ability to quickly and effortlessly amplify brand messagesacross their large social circles. While this is not a new idea, social mediahas changed the size of influencers in the population and the speedwith which messages can spread. Back in 1962, sociologist EverettRogers popularized the Diffusion of Innovation theory estimating thatonly 2.5% of a given population are innovators, being the first to adoptnew innovations and influence others to try them. We identified that10% of online users have a disproportionate share of influence - wefocused on this group and called them the “Top 10%”. These superinfluencers are defined by several key attributes and behaviors: havinghigher levels of media consumption, a social predisposition and widecategory shopping; being more likely to research products online andmake recommendations to others.These social extroverts have significantly larger social circles thanthose with lower influence and a higher proportion of their regularsocial contacts (every 1-2 weeks) are communicated with online.Focus your marketing on the most influential 21 TOP 10% 10% BOTTOM REGULAR FACE TO FACE CONTACT BUT NONE ONLINE 10 INFLUENCERS INFLUENCERS 38 REGULAR FACE TO FACE CONTACT PLUS ONLINE 7 46 REGULAR ONLINE CONTACT BUT NONE FACE TO FACE 9 Average number of people in my social circle Base: Web users aged 16-54 years of age
TOP BOTTOM 10% 10% INFLUENCERS INFLUENCERS DEVICES OWNED SMARTPHONE LAPTOP TABLET OTHER MOBILE 86% 30% 98% 97% 53% 5% 25% 46% SOCIAL ACTIVITIES ON AND OFFLINE 88% 25% Talk on a smartphone 84% 64% Send or receive email 84% 26% Text on a smartphone/mobile 77% 47% Access a social networking site/microsite 77% 9% Chat using instant messaging services 60% 14% Read an online forum/discussion 58% 2% Send an MMS/picture message on a mobile 58% 27% Socialise with others at home 52% 7% Contribute to an online forum/discussion 52% 12% Socialise with others outside the home 48% 9% Participate in online gaming 38% 2% Video conference 69% FREQUENCY OF RECOMMENDING A PRODUCT OR SERVICE ONLINE 30% 31% 25% 22% 9% 5% 2% 2% 1% 1% 1% 1% 1% More than Once More than Every Every Less often Never once a day a day once a week 1-2 weeks 3-4 weeksBase: Web users aged 16-54 years of age
The Top 10% are “Media Mavens” who skillfully navigate betweenthe offline and online media, from reading both printed and digitalmagazines and newspapers to accessing the mobile internet – which72% of them do once a day or more, compared to only 18% of theBottom 10%. When it comes to technology, the Top 10% are alsomore likely to own smartphones and tablet computers, as well asuse technology as a social tool. The frequency with which the Top10% use technology such as Skype, instant messenger (IM), mobileand social networking to supplement face to face conversations isalso higher across the board. Their influence comes from their aboveaverage use of social media, with 79% using it more than once a day(vs. 29% of the Bottom 10%) and spending on average three hours aweek engaged with it.But, most importantly to marketers, 99% of these influencers say thattheir friends ask their opinion before making an important purchase,compared to just 13% of the Bottom 10%. They are also extremelyactive during the zero moment of truth - more likely to research ortalk about their forthcoming purchase online using social media and Case study: Stimorolmobile before making their purchase decision. Compare this to the Stimorol in Denmark was planning to“Bottom 10%”– as many as 29% failed to research any products/ launch a new “senses” flavor gum: theservices online before purchasing versus just 1% of the Top 10%. “Mega Mystery Gum”, targeted at 18 –The Top 10% are more likely to discuss certain types of high 25 year olds. In order to target “socialengagement product categories such as mobile, travel, fashion, music influencers”, IUM Denmark decided to use Stimorol’s Facebook page as the platformand even beauty and personal care. Marketers should monitor these for the campaign. Leveraging Stimorol’sdiscussions and create platforms for positive sentiment to be used to association with music, IUM engagedinfluence other consumers in the consideration stage. the brand’s Facebook community with a contest where six Danish cities battled for the chance to win one of three MegaBy leveraging their influence, marketers can inject a trusted voice into Mystery club parties, featuring famousthe path to purchase with the ability to influence in real-time. club DJs. This would see social influencers on Facebook and other social platforms leading the activity to drive support for their Implications for marketers city’s bid to win a party. Supported with TV, radio and PR the campaign saw the Mega Mystery Gum become the best selling of all • Don’t ignore social influencers. They can become your Stimorol’s senses flavours and entered the biggest brand advocates, standing behind your brand top five gums across COOP supermarket with conviction. Show respect to influencers and they chain. will respect your brand. • Engage with social influencers early and often. They have the power to make or break campaigns. Test brand messages with them pre-launch and carefully monitor their feedback during the duration of the campaign. • nvest in social influence programs – earned media I comes at a cost.
Optimizing touchpoints to create synergy 2 Media synergy also demands that marketers re-evaluate how they perceive media and its role in the purchase process. Too often, media is relegated to driving awareness, consideration and buzz, but if planned properly media can make a much bigger impact. When selectively combined, TV, social and mobile create a dynamic path to purchase that speeds up the overall decision-making and purchase process, while making shoppers feel good about their choice. We discovered that each medium examined in our study was found to have core strengths (see right). We also found that certain countries had a greater affinity for social and mobile as a marketing vehicle. For instance, in Argentina, online users are more likely than other countries in our study to think social media “helps you share important info about a brand with others,” (70%), “find out more about a brand that you are interested in,” (57%) and “provides you with an unbiased andCase study: Carling trusted recommendation about a product/service or a brand,” (51%).Carling Black Label wanted to get On the other end of the spectrum, online users in the Netherlands hadconsumers to reappraise the brand. The the least favorable perceptions about social media’s role in marketing.beer brand signed a five-year sponsorshipdeal with South African soccer giants Kaizer Only 24% believe that social media provides unbiased and trustedChiefs and Orlando Pirates to leverage the brand recommendations and a little over a third (36%) think it is helpfulfanaticism around football and engage with for sharing brand information.nearly 90% of its target audience. With thecritical insight that “everybody wants to bea coach” Carling Black Label organised a When it comes to internet-enabled mobile, Chinese online usersmatch between the two Soweto giants have a greater affinity for mobile with 77% having personal use of aand let the fans choose the teams. Driving smartphone compared to 58% of total online users in our study. Theirboth awareness and participation would be mobile usage is also more varied as they use their smartphones in thecritical for the success of the campaign.Initiative Media used a combination of TV following ways more than once a week: 63% - wifi access, 61% - mp3and print to call for the “couch coaches” player, 57% - video camera, 41% - instant messaging, 40% - videoto choose players. Social media was then player.used to encourage interaction betweenthe fans, and mobile and online advertisingwas used to drive people to the brand’s It is no surprise that they also rate mobile more favorably as a vehicle forFacebook page. Over 10.5 million team interacting with brands. For them, mobile provides basic informationvotes were recorded and over 11 million about brands (41%), is a way to find out more about a brand that youbottle tops were redeemed. Carling Black are interested in (40%) and share important information about a brandLabel had the highest awareness ofpromotions advertising in the beer market with others (38%).during the campaign. Media planners and buyers are well versed in the role of media as a communication vehicle, but now must expand their expertise to include how different combinations of online and offline media perform as a point of influence.
Media synergy: How touchpoints work together TV AD Convincing consumers of their wants and desires 48% PROMPTING YOU TO TRY OR BUY A BRAND 43% GIVING YOU BASIC INFORMATION ABOUT A BRAND 56% MAKING YOU AWARE OF NEW BRANDS 50% HELPING YOU SHARE IMPORTANT INFORMATION ABOUT A BRAND WITH OTHERS 46% 37% 36% INCREASING THE APPEAL HELPING YOU FIND OUT MORE OF THE BRAND ABOUT A BRAND PROVIDING YOU WITH A TRUSTED RECOMMENDATION ABOUT A BRAND 32% HELPING YOU 33% FIND OUT MORE INCREASING YOUR ABOUT A BRAND LOYALTY TO A FAVORITE BRAND MOBILE Instantly connects consumers to in-depth SOCIAL product information Inﬂuences by leveraging peer and expert adviceQ: Thinking about the range of different resources - social media, internet enabled mobiles/smartphones, TV shows and TV ads - which of the tasks shown here are these things good at?Base: Web users aged 16-54 years of age
Social media’s sphere of influence RESEARCHED 40% OR TALKED ABOUT ONLINE BEFORE BUYING 30%Web users* 20% RESEARCHED USING SOCIAL MEDIA PURCHASED 10% THROUGH A SOCIAL MEDIA WEBSITE Mobile phones PC, laptops Travel, ﬂight Household Home Fashion, Beauty or & services or tablet or hotel appliances entertaining clothing & personal care computers equipment accessories productsQ: Which of these products/services have you ever...* Percentage of web users who have shopped for the listed categories in the last two years and used social touchpointsBase: Web users aged 16-54 years of age
3 Transforming a ‘point of influence’ into a call to actionConsumers are organically having conversations about brands priorto purchase, but marketers are not always using these conversationsas a distinct point of influence on the path to purchase. We also foundthat these points of influence occur across categories.Once marketers can establish where their points of influence are fortheir category and brands, we think there is an opportunity to createsocial environments that transform organic community conversationsinto product information portals. Once inside the portal, consumersseeking brand information should be given the option to obtain moreinformation, participate in a brand experience that underscores brandbenefits, request a sample or more personalized information or link tomake a purchase. Case study: KiaBy converting influence into action, marketers can use media more Optima, one of Kia’s core sales vehicleseffectively, and improve the consumer and shopper experience by was relaunching with an upgraded productproviding relevant information and expediting the shopping process. In offering. Optima now had innovative and futuristic brand attributes, but was morereturn, consumers are more likely to share positive experiences about positioned among mature drivers. Webrands with their communities and hopefully become brand loyal. needed to attract a younger audience and get people talking about Optima in a new way. The NBA, with its All-Star game, would be an ideal platform to engage our social Implications for marketers influencers. Kia came up with an idea that would get these key influencers talking • Build branded platforms and tools that help amplify the and drive the social conversation all the social curator’s voice. way to Kia’s website. We collaborated with basketball star Blake Griffin, who agreed to • Go far beyond the 30-second spot and create additional jump over a Kia Optima during the All Star game. The conversation on social platforms content, such as behind the scenes footage, historical caught fire, driven by our partnership timelines and cultural associations. These will drive athletes and celebrities who were all discussions and provide a link to brand discovery. tweeting about the jump. Search and social worked in tandem and there were overlays • nlist a team of brand and category relevant social E on YouTube with a clear “call to action” influencers to preview new products and campaigns, driving people to the Optima Explore page. And Kia’s audience certainly heeded the call stimulate dialogue and disseminate content along the – Kia saw a 24% increase in sales following path to purchase. the All-Star weekend.
How to create a media synergy effect for your brands Find your brand’s Top 10% In addition to the robust consumer segmentation studies conducted by many marketers to create clusters of consumers based upon purchasing behavior, we suggest completing a comprehensive analysis of social influence. This would be achieved by determining which consumers have the potential to influence the purchase decisions of others. Our Influencer Multiplier is a proprietary scoring method that quantifies the relationship between sociability, purchase behaviour, and media consumption. The Influence Multiplier can be used to optimize media plans by ensuring that the Top 10% are adequately represented within the consumer audience. Since they are an influential source of category and brand information, their inclusion allows brand messages to reach more people in less time. On a global basis, marketers can use the Influence Multiplier to help prioritize media budgets between markets based upon the strength of national scores. We have found that individual market scores vary due to the different media landscapes, stage of technological development and cultural drivers. Our analysis suggests that a marketing message is more likely to spread quickly in markets with a higher Influencer Multiplier score.
Create immersive multi-screenexperiencesMarketers can design personal brand experiences by creatingmedia synergy across multiple screens that provide a meaningfuland actionable brand experience. This can be achieved by carefullystudying the consumer’s media multitasking behavior, their path topurchase, and understanding their motivations and preferences (eg,unique content, access and experiences). By leveraging these insights,a message broadcast to the masses on television can directly createa personal, customizable, consumer-powered experience in search,mobile, and social media.These immersive brand stories are already being told by brands such Case study: F&Nas H&M, Century 21 and GE who are using TV to direct viewers to Soft drink brand F&N in Malaysia had beena richer online or mobile brand experience, as seen in campaigns synonymous with fun for many years, butexecuted during this year’s US Super Bowl. For example, brands that was under attack from Fanta which was encroaching on its space and growingmade the most of their Super Bowl advertising investment ($3.5m for market share. In order to regain its territory,a 30-second TV spot) led with TV with visible calls to action, such Initiative Malaysia tapped into the ‘danceas a URL or Twitter hashtags. Successful brands intuitively navigated reality’ phenomenon and created a massivetheir consumers to other paid media, such as search and mobile, ‘dance mob’ that saw TV and social working in combination across a full multi-complementary owned media and earned media touch points. Social screen experience. The F&N Custom Songwas then used to extend the experience and brand engagement with & Dance was introduced via Malaysia’s firstrelevant social response. (IPG Mediabrands Digital Marketing Report outdoor augmented reality screen (utilizing2012 Super Bowl™) the largest LED screen in the country). People learned the dance moves and saw themselves live with the virtual dancers. The experience then extended across TV – with Implications for marketers celebrity hosts picking up the dance moves – online through F&N’s Facebook page and then amplified with online coverage • Anticipate online/offline interactions across multiple by the leading online newspapers. With screens. Be ready for 24/7 connectivity, immediate 86% of the youth target engaged via search-and-find, and on-demand delivery. the campaign, F&N saw a massive 18% increase in spontaneous brand awareness • Set aside an emerging technology exploration budget and maintained its market-leading position. to become comfortable with the unknown. Keeping your finger on the pulse is the only way to stay ahead of social influencers. • Forget waiting to discuss must-see TV around the water cooler, activate Social + TV to give viewers the opportunity to join in real time discussion and connections.
Integrate everythingMedia synergy is not business as usual, it requires new beliefs,practices and organizational structure. While many have adoptedintegrated marketing in theory, nearly 20 years after its conception,most organizations function in separate silos. To create a mediasynergy effect, marketing departments such as brand management,advertising, media and digital, as well as their accompanying budgetswill need to be integrated. If physical integration of a company’smarketing departments is not feasible, then an integrated planningapproach with frequent communication among cross-disciplinaryteams is a must.Integration is also required outside of an advertiser’s marketingdepartment. Marketing will need to work more closely with otherdepartments such as customer service or retail/trade to activate,monitor and respond to conversations occurring at the points ofinfluence. Additionally, marketers will need to seek new methodsof collaboration among groups of agency, media and technologypartners that may have once seemed unimaginable. Those who arenimble enough to adapt to new work styles or have the capability todeploy technology solutions that facilitate integration will win. Implications for marketers • Train team members to become “T-shaped” – being specialized has its limitations. Marketing organizations need talent with broader communications expertise and that ability to creatively solve problems. • Bring the team together to create team respect that drives collaboration. Encourage an agency exchange program across partners. Designate time for specialists in media, advertising, design, digital and public relations to gain respect for aspects of building connections. Learn how ideas are originated, cultivated, executed and optimized.
FIVE ESSENTIAL TAKEOUTSFOR MARKETERS1 Target the power source. Target the top 10% of influencers in order to accelerate marketing effectiveness.2 Engage with social influencers early and often. They have the power to make or break campaigns. Test brand messages with them pre-launch and carefully monitor their feedback during the duration of the campaign.3 Go far beyond the 30-second spot and create additional content, such as behind the scenes footage, historical timelines and cultural associations to drive discussion and provide a link to brand discovery.4 Enlist a team of brand and category relevant social influencers to preview new products and campaigns, stimulate dialogue and disseminate content along the path to purchase.5 Integrate everything. Encourage an agency exchange program across partners. Designate time for specialists in all agencies to gain respect for aspects of building connections.
About InitiativeInitiative is a performance-led media communications company.Initiative believes that all marketing should be performance-driven. Data, analytics, insight and innovation arecentral to all our services, and we hold ourselves fully accountable to client business goals. This commitment toperformance is at the heart of Initiative’s unique process and culture.Owned by the Interpublic Group, Initiative is part of media management group Mediabrands and a partner of Magna,IPG’s centralized media negotiation entity. Initiative employs more than 2500 talented professionals, working in 89offices across 71 markets, worldwide.Initiative’s comprehensive range of performance-led communications services include: research and insight, mediaplanning and buying, digital communications solutions, content creation, and evaluation and accountability services.Consumer ConnectionsThrough our Consumer Connections program of research, we are connected to 230,000+ consumers across morethan 50 markets. We interact with these consumers to understand purchase patterns and media behaviors acrosscontinents to bring fresh insight into their lives and the role of the brands they use. The powerful single source datawe gather as part of this programme also informs planning decisions delivering enhanced ROI for our clients.www.initiative.com