Why USA Today’s Ad Meter will get the Super Bowl wrong — again

Marketing Dive  

The system is an outlier in a comparison of different Super Bowl advertiser performance metrics that also highlights the need to assess offline buzz.

 

AUTHOR: Ed Keller | PUBLISHED: Jan. 8, 2020

The following is a guest post from Ed Keller, CEO of Engagement Labs. Opinions are the author’s own. Super Bowl LIV is a month away and Fox announced that all ad inventory has been sold out for more than a month at prices “north of $5 million to as much as $5.6 million.” How will advertisers know if they’ve achieved ROI on this significant investment? USA Today has measured the popularity of Super Bowl commercials for more than three decades with its Ad Meter system. It has become the most widely used indicator of advertising success in the big game — but it doesn’t work, and it is destined to fail again next month. Ad Meter invites thousands of football fans to evaluate the quality of each ad on a scale of one to 10 and publishes the results. In the current issue of the peer-reviewed Journal of Advertising Research, two colleagues and I compared five metrics of Super Bowl advertiser performance and discovered that Ad Meter is a clear outlier. It is the one metric totally unrelated to the others. In last year’s game, Bud Light launched a memorable series of ads thematically tied into the imminent finale series of “Game of Thrones,” showing medieval characters at a jousting match and discussing which beer brands contain corn syrup. Ad Meter proclaimed three spots for Bud Light to be ranked 16th, 17th, and 43rd among 58 measured. And yet among 23 Super Bowl advertiser brands, Bud Light generated the single biggest increase in Google Search activity and the fifth largest increase in YouTube views, according to an evaluation by Engagement Labs. Bud Light also performed well on two other metrics we measured — online and offline conversations. It saw the biggest increase in social media mentions and the fourth biggest increase in offline conversations. By all indications, Bud Light won Super Bowl 2019, but its success was completely missed by Ad Meter.     Read the full Marketing Dive article, here.
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Word-of-Mouth Predicted Bloomberg’s Rise in Polls

bloomberg-35 Two new polls from Morning Consult and Harvard Harris have Michael Bloomberg statistically tied with Pete Buttigieg for fourth place in the fight for the Democratic Nomination nationwide. We saw this coming, when three weeks ago a TotalSocial Politics word-of-mouth study from Engagement Labs had Bloomberg in fourth place in the conversations of Democratic voters. His word-of-mouth was well ahead of his polls numbers at the time. Morning Consult has Bloomberg at 7% versus 8% for former South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg, while Harvard Harris have them both at 7%. In mid-December, an Engagement Labs word-of-mouth study estimated that 15.5% of Democratic voters were talking about the newly announced candidate, New York billionaire Michael Bloomberg, ahead of the 12.7% who were talking about Buttigieg. Both candidates then trailed the word-of-mouth levels of Joseph Biden (34.2%), Bernie Sanders (27.0%), and Elizabeth Warren (21.5%). At the time of the December word-of-mouth study, Bloomberg’s word-of-mouth number was 10.6 points ahead of his polling average of 4.9%, the biggest gap for any candidate, suggesting a potential to rise in subsequent polling. “We’ve always believed that word-of-mouth is a leading indicator of preference, and we’re seeing that in the 2020 Democratic primary. Michael Bloomberg’s announcement and advertising campaign have put himself into a conversation, and that’s leading to support. This is a pattern we also saw in the late stages of the 2016 presidential campaign, leading the Donald Trump’s victory,” said Ed Keller, CEO of Engagement Labs.

A New Year’s Resolution for Better and More Authentic Influencer Marketing

2020 Influencer-Marketing-01 Just before Christmas, marketing guru Seth Godin took aim at the “scam” of influencer marketing via Instagram and other social media platforms in a short but widely read blog post that resonated with me as someone who has spent many years advocating for the power of influencers, dating back to my 2003 book, The Influentials. Seth focused on the statistics involved with going viral: “part of the scam is that the pyramid scheme of attention will somehow pay off for a lot of people. It won’t. It can’t. The math doesn’t hold up. Someone is going to win a lottery, but it probably won’t be us.”  I agree, because influencer marketing has morphed from a focus on the influencer “next door” to a paid Instagram celebrity. Let’s not lose sight of what influencer marketing can and should be. As the calendar turns on a new year—and a new decade—I’d like to suggest marketers adopt the following New Year’s resolution for influencer marketing:
“From this day forward, I resolve to focus on connecting with everyday influencers, rather than celebrity influencers, as they are the surest pathway to achieving word-of-mouth impact at scale.”
By “everyday” influencers, I mean the 1 in 10 consumers with large real-world social networks and an affinity for making product recommendations to friends and family. They were the subject of my 2003 book, and their power is as great if not greater today. I’ve continued to describe the opportunity of reaching everyday influencers including a 2019 world advertising industry journal article, and in tools my firm, Engagement Labs, has created for reaching these valuable consumers. Everyday influencers have 131 brand-related conversations every week versus the national average of 73. By reaching these influencers, marketers enjoy almost twice the word-of-mouth reach than average consumers provide, and the impact of their recommendations is four times as great due to their credibility and perceived expertise. Weekly Consumer Conversations in the U.S. But don’t just take my word.  Leading academics have evaluated a variety of influencer marketing methods and settled on everyday influencers as highly valuable. Focusing on the impact of influencers on new production introductions, they find the power of influencers comes in two forms: 1) by expanding the market reached by a new product and 2) by accelerating the pace of product adoption, which confers major competitive advantages over rival products. None of these effects rely on social media for success, although social platforms are among the communications tools used by everyday influencers.  Increasingly, we’re learning that social media conversations are not representative of real life. In the decade ahead, I join with Seth Godin in recommending markers avoid the pyramid scheme of celebrating social media influencers in favor of the authentic and scalable power of everyday influencers.

Holiday Shopping Conversations Favor Big Mass Merchants Over Specialty Stores

BJ’s, Lush, Reebok, and Wayfair Are Key New Players in Holiday Season Talk

xmasshopping Walmart and Amazon continue to dominate the holiday season conversations both online and offline, according to Engagement Labs’ TotalSocial® data and analytics platform. Among more than 75 measured retail brands, several—including BJ’s, Lush, Reebok, and Wayfair—are rising fast in holiday season consumer conversations, while specialty stores—including Hot Topic, Michael Kors, and Pier 1 Imports—are declining rapidly. The new holiday consumer conversation analysis is based on conversations the first two weeks of the holiday season, beginning with Thanksgiving week, in contrast to our recent report covering a full year and a wider set of metrics. Walmart and Amazon remain nearly tied at the very top of the list for offline conversation, while Amazon stands almost alone at the top of social media conversations, with Walmart in a solid second place. After Walmart and Amazon, the offline runners-up are Nike and Home Depot, retailers that continue to get large volumes of conversations during the holidays.  In terms of online conversation, the runners-up are Nike, eBay, and Adidas.

GREATEST VOLUME OF OFFLINE CONVERSATION

019-12 EL06 HOLIDAY RANKS_Plain  

GREATEST VOLUME OF ONLINE CONVERSATION

019-12 EL06 HOLIDAY RANKS_Plain copy Ranking high on the TotalSocial list is important for brands because analytics have shown that 19% of all consumer purchases can be attributed to online and offline conversations.  Brands that are rising in terms of volume, sentiment, and other metrics are likely to see sales performance rise. Besides being among the fastest rising retail brands in terms of conversation volume, Lush cosmetics also scores among the most positive, with a net sentiment score of 91.5 on a scale of 0 to 100.  Three rising brands—BJ’s, Wayfair, and Footlocker—all get fairly average net sentiment scores, while Reebok is well below average at 19.7.

LARGEST INCREASE IN OFFLINE CONVERSATION

019-12 EL06 HOLIDAY RANKS_Plain copy 2 Among the five fastest declining brands for conversation volume, three also have poor net sentiment scores below 20, including Pier 1 Imports (16.5), Michael Kors (13.6) and Sears (2.9).  K-mart is at 31.7 and Hot Topics has strong net sentiment score of 65.6, despite the sharp decline in conversation volume.

LARGEST DECLINE IN OFFLINE CONVERSATION

019-12 EL06 HOLIDAY RANKS_Plain copy 3 “The top performing brands, and rising brands, are likely to be pleased with this year’s holiday season performance,” said Ed Keller of Engagement Labs. “It’s vital to engage consumers in conversations about your brands, because these lead to recommendations that will drive purchases.” Talkworthy advertising is one approach that is proven to drive conversation.  A newly released article in the Journal of Advertising Research finds that measuring ad campaigns that drive consumer conversations are more likely to be successful.

Democratic Voters Are Taking a Serious Look at Bloomberg – He Leads Buttigieg in Word of Mouth Ranking

Fully 15.5% of Democrats Talked About Bloomberg Last Week, versus 4.9% Who Say they Will Vote for Him

Bloomberg’s Word of Mouth Engagement Exceeds His Share of Polling Preference by the Biggest Margin of Any Candidate

  NEW YORK, NY (December 18, 2019) – More than half of Democrats (54%) are talking weekly about the candidates seeking their votes in the 2020 primaries, according to a new study released today. The new study, by Engagement Labs, reveals that Michael Bloomberg is getting a serious look by Democratic voters just three weeks after entering the race based on the fact that his word of mouth engagement exceeds his share of polling preference by the biggest margin of any candidate. Fully 15.5% of Democratic voters talked about Bloomberg last week, versus 4.9% who say they will vote for him according to the national polls.   The 10.6-point difference is the largest for any Democratic candidate, and Bloomberg’s word of mouth engagement exceeds that of Pete Buttigieg, putting him in the top four.  

WEEKLY CONVERSATION TOPICS AMONG REGISTERED DEMOCRATS

Word of Mouth Among Democrats vs. Polling

  “These results reveal that Bloomberg has quickly earned his way into the top consideration set as reflected by his #4 ranking ahead of Mayor Pete,” according to Ed Keller, CEO of Engagement Labs which conducted the study and one of the nation’s leading experts on word of mouth. “We have built many predictive analytics models that demonstrate word of mouth is a powerful and leading indicator of future decisions,” Mr. Keller added.   The study also found that 41% of Bloomberg’s conversation sentiment is mostly positive, and 37% is a mixture of some positive and some negative. “We often see that media is a driver of consumer word of mouth, and media awareness often drives more positive sentiment for brands,” says Keller. “The next month will be pivotal to see whether Bloomberg’s media-based strategy is successful in converting chatter into positive advocacy for his candidacy.”   This Democratic Nomination Word-of-Mouth study was conducted online among 1,956 registered Democrats between December 13 and 16, 2019 by Engagement Labs, using sample and data collection technology provided by Dynata, the world’s largest first-party data and insights platform. Respondents reported on candidate conversations they participated in during the past seven days.  A more detailed analysis is available here.   ###   About Engagement Labs   Engagement Labs (TSXV: EL) is an industry-leading data and analytics firm that provides social intelligence for Fortune 500 brands and companies. The Company’s TotalSocial® platform focuses on the entire social ecosystem by combining powerful online (social media) and offline (word of mouth) data with predictive analytics. Engagement Labs has a proprietary ten-year database of unique brand, industry and competitive intelligence, matched with its cutting-edge predictive analytics that use machine learning and artificial intelligence to reveal the social metrics that increase marketing ROI and top line revenue for its diverse group of clients.   To learn more visit www.engagementlabs.com / www.totalsocial.com.   For media inquiries please contact: Vanessa Lontoc, VP of Marketing Engagement Labs 732-846-6800 vanessa.lontoc@engagementlabs.com  

Democrats Taking Serious Look at Bloomberg: He Leads Buttigieg in Word of Mouth Ranking

Fully 15.5% of Democrats Talked About Bloomberg Last Week, versus 4.9% Who Say they Will Vote for Him

Bloomberg’s Word of Mouth Engagement Exceeds His Share of Polling Preference by the Biggest Margin of Any Candidate

Booker Among Seven Most Talked about, Despite Missing Debate

  bloomberg-raw-img More than half of Democrats (54%) are talking weekly about the candidates seeking their votes in the 2020 primaries, according to a new study released today, with former Vice President Joe Biden and Senators Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren leading the way, as they are in the national polls. Importantly, however, the new study, by Engagement Labs, reveals that Michael Bloomberg is getting a serious look by Democratic voters just three weeks after entering the race based on the fact that his word of mouth engagement exceeds his share of polling preference by the biggest margin of any candidate. Fully 15.5% of Democratic voters talked about Bloomberg last week, versus 4.9% who say they will vote for him according to the Real Clear Politics Polling Average. The 10.6-point difference is the largest for any Democratic candidate, and his word of mouth engagement exceeds that of Pete Buttigieg, putting him in the top four. “These results reveal that Bloomberg has quickly earned his way into the top consideration set as reflected by his #4 ranking ahead of Mayor Pete,” according to Ed Keller, CEO of Engagement Labs which conducted the study and one of the nation’s leading experts on word of mouth. “We have built many predictive analytics models that demonstrate word of mouth is a powerful and leading indicator of future decisions,” Mr. Keller added.  

WEEKLY CONVERSATION TOPICS AMONG REGISTERED DEMOCRATS

WEEKLY CONVERSATION TOPICS AMONG REGISTERED DEMOCRATS - Word of Mouth Among Democrats vs. Polling

Biden Is the Most Talked About Candidate

The study finds that a third of Democrats nationally talked with others in the past week about Biden, making him the most talked about Democratic candidate, followed by Bernie Sanders at 27% and Elizabeth Warren at 21%. This rank order is in line with national polls of Democrats’ preferences. Bloomberg (15%) and Buttigieg (13%) round out the top five most talked about candidates. Remaining candidates are being talked about by fewer than 10% of Democrats, although Booker’s word-of-mouth rank exceeds his polling rank and is in the word-of-mouth top seven, talked about by 6.8%, ahead of Amy Klobuchar at 4.7%, who qualified for the December 18th Democratic debate.  

Conversation Sentiment Favors Sanders, Klobuchar, Buttigieg

When conversation sentiment is factored in, a more nuanced picture emerges. Rarely is conversation about any of the candidates negative, but for some it is strongly positive while for others the outright positive talk turns to a mix of positive and negative. More than two-thirds of conversations about Sanders are positive, the highest for any candidate. He is followed closely by Klobuchar (66% mostly positive) and Buttegieg (65%). When conversations containing both positive and negative aspects are included, these candidates’ conversations are 80-89% either purely or partly positive. This is followed by a group of candidates with positive sentiment at close to 60%, including Warren (60%), Yang (56%), and Biden (55%). For Bloomberg, only 41% of the talk is positive, while almost as much as 37% is a mixture of positive and negative. “We often see that media is a driver of consumer word of mouth, and media awareness also drives more positive sentiment for brands,” says Keller. “The next month will be pivotal to see whether Bloomberg’s media-based strategy is successful in converting chatter into positive advocacy for his candidacy.”  

WHO DEMOCRATS TALK ABOUT POSITIVELY

WHO DEMOCRATS TALK ABOUT POSITIVELY Added Keller, “Corey Booker’s talk level also exceeds his polling rank. Understanding who Democrats are talking about is an important indicator of their deliberative process, and is a sign to the DNC that maybe a different way of determining who’s on the debate stage is in order.” This Democratic Nomination Word-of-Mouth study was conducted online among 1,956 registered Democrats between December 13 and 16, 2019 by Engagement Labs, using sample and data collection technology provided by Dynata, the world’s largest first-party data and insights platform. Respondents reported on candidate conversations they participated in during the past seven days.

Why There Should Be An Investigation of Bias at the FBI

    Washington Monthly     by Nancy LeTourneau December 12, 2019 … I was concerned that there appeared to be in the media a number of stories that might have been based on communications reporters or nonreporters like Rudy Giuliani were having with people in the New York field office. In particular, in I want to say mid October, maybe a little bit later, Mr. Giuliani was making statements that appeared to be based on his knowledge of workings inside the FBI New York. And then my recollection is there were other stories that were in the same ballpark that gave me a general concern that we may have a leak problem — unauthorized disclosure problem out of New York, and so I asked that it be investigated. The rogue agents in the FBI’s New York field office were leaking information to Giuliani (and Devin Nunes as well), so Comey’s announcement was an effort to get out ahead of that story. Engagement Labs documented the impact of that on the election. Most decisively, there was a sudden change in the net sentiment results that followed immediately after FBI Director James Comey released his Oct. 28 letter to Congress about a renewed investigation of Clinton emails. Immediately afterwards, there was a 17-point drop in net sentiment for Clinton, and an 11-point rise for Trump, enough for the two candidates to switch places in the rankings, with Clinton in more negative territory than Trump. At a time when opinion polling showed perhaps a 2-point decline in the margin for Clinton, this conversation data suggests a 28-point change in the word of mouth “standings.” The change in word of mouth favorability metric was stunning, and much greater than the traditional opinion polling revealed. If we had an attorney general who was actually concerned about how the FBI acted in “bad faith” to influence the outcome of the 2016 election, this is what he would be investigating. He would also be concerned that Giuliani is at it again as we head into the 2020 election—this time with corrupt Ukrainians in place of rogue FBI agents. Instead, the man who currently holds the office is chasing conspiracy theories in defense of Trump. That’s simply another reason why Eric Holder is right: William Barr is unfit to serve as attorney general.     Read the full Washington Monthly article, here.
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About TotalSocial® Want a better understanding of the online and offline conversations around your brand? Are you a journalist who wants to use real data to measure the brands you’re reporting on? Are you a company who wants to gain further insights into your brand’s marketing strategies to develop effective campaigns to reach your audiences?    

Social influence leadership ignites buzz for retailers—which brands are capitalizing?

Agility PR   by Richard Carufel | Dec 11, 2019 | Public Relations Retailers are having huge success with social and influencer marketing—in large part because retail is a highly social category, with many brands performing above average in driving online and offline consumer conversations—and a handful taking their social influence to great heights.   Engagement Labs, a data and analytics firm that provides social intelligence for Fortune 500 companies, has released its TotalSocial® ranking of the top retail brands in the U.S. based on social influence—examining what these brands are doing to excel in the social age.   The continued dominance of Amazon and Nike in the U.S. marketplace is certainly impressive. Amazon retains the first place spot with a score of 67.1, while Nike remains in second place at 65, despite a turbulent year that saw sharp drops in the brand’s “net sentiment” in social media, as a result of two controversies related to former NFL player Colin Kaepernick.   Amazon dominates consumer conversations and is the focus of more consumer talk than any other retail brand. Amazon has consistently performed better than average both online and offline, earning the “Conversation Commander” status. In a landmark study, Engagement Labs proved that conversations about brands, on average, drive 19 percent of U.S. consumer purchases.   Meanwhile, Kohl’s has moved up to fourth place from seventh, at 60.8, and Costco and Old Navy have joined the list at ninth and 10th, respectively. Victoria’s Secret had the most precipitous drop, falling to 12th from fifth just one year ago, consistent with widespread reports of business difficulties, as we and others have reported recently.   Read the full Agility PR – Bulldog Reporter article, here.
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For more information on TotalSocial®  or to request a demo, visit www.engagementlabs.com For sales contact us at: sales@engagementlabs.com For media inquires contact us at: media@engagementlabs.com
About TotalSocial® Want a better understanding of the online and offline conversations around your brand? Are you a journalist who wants to use real data to measure the brands you’re reporting on? Are you a company who wants to gain further insights into your brand’s marketing strategies to develop effective campaigns to reach your audiences?    

How Measuring Consumer Conversations Can Reveal Advertising Performance

          Brad Fay, Ed Keller, Rick Larkin DOI: 10.2501/JAR-2019-043 Published 1 December 2019   ABSTRACT Generating “buzz” is a marketing objective for many Super Bowl advertisers, but “buzz” as a campaign objective should not be limited to big tent-pole events like the Super Bowl. It should be a key objective for all advertising. Fifteen years ago, researchers estimated word-of-mouth (WOM) could triple the value of advertising through a “ripple effect” (Hogan, Lemon, and Libai, 2004). The current study confirms the theory that there is a close and valuable relationship between WOM and advertising success, and it further examines that relationship as a reason to make it a campaign objective and a key part of the measurement of advertisement performance.
  • Received September 5, 2019.
  • Received (in revised form) October 2, 2019.
  • Accepted October 10, 2019.
  • Copyright© 2019 ARF. All rights reserved.
  Read the full Journal of Advertising Research article, here.
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For more information on TotalSocial®  or to request a demo, visit www.engagementlabs.com For sales contact us at: sales@engagementlabs.com For media inquires contact us at: media@engagementlabs.com
About TotalSocial® Want a better understanding of the online and offline conversations around your brand? Are you a journalist who wants to use real data to measure the brands you’re reporting on? Are you a company who wants to gain further insights into your brand’s marketing strategies to develop effective campaigns to reach your audiences?