Amplifying Brand Buzz: How Radio Redefines Conversations and Influence

Harness Radio’s Unique Ability to Fuel Purchase Intent and More

preparing the news broadcast Article contributed to RAB’s Radio Matters Blog.  In the ever-evolving landscape of media impact, radio emerges as a potent catalyst for brand conversations. The study “Radio Drives Brand Conversations,” commissioned by RAB in partnership with Engagement Labs, dives deep into radio’s role in driving brand discussions and explores its profound influence on purchase intent, societal discourse and the bottom line. In this blog, we dissect key findings and offer actionable recommendations for brands and advertisers looking to harness the untapped potential of radio conversations.

Radio’s Commanding Presence in Brand Conversations

At the heart of this study lies the revelation of radio’s unparalleled capacity to ignite brand conversations. Heavy radio listeners engage in a staggering 4.7 billion weekly brand conversations, surpassing heavy users of TV, social media, magazines and newspapers. What’s even more compelling is that 25% of media’s impact is driven through these conversations, further underlining their significance. For advertisers, this means conversations matter, and they can significantly influence brand success. Weekly Brand Conversations - Source: Engagement Labs TotalSocial, August 2022 – July 2023
Watch the webinar recording where we delved into the study’s details and present real-world case studies.

Diverse Industry Leadership

Radio doesn’t just lead the conversation; it dominates it across 15 diverse industries and sectors. From sports to financial services, beauty & personal care to technology, radio emerges as the bridge connecting brands with their target audiences. This industry-spanning dominance positions radio as a dynamic platform for reaching diverse consumer segments.

Magnifying Everyday Influencers

Heavy radio listeners aren’t just passive consumers; they are influential everyday consumers. These influencers have a unique power: the ability to enhance both the quantity and quality of brand conversations. Recognizing these influencers and nurturing their impact can significantly bolster your bottom line.

RadioPurchaseIntentTransforming Conversations into Purchase Intent

Radio doesn’t stop at sparking conversations; it transforms them into tangible results. A remarkable 51% of brand conversations among heavy radio listeners result in an intent to purchase, surpassing the national average of 49%. This remarkable impact underscores radio’s proficiency in translating discussions into actual business outcomes.  

Cultivating Enlightened Societal Dialogue

Beyond the commercial realm, radio plays a crucial role in fostering informed societal conversations. Heavy radio listeners engage passionately in discussions about a wide array of topics, from personal financial concerns to pressing political issues. This positions radio as a platform for meaningful, informed dialogue.

Advocating for the Influence of Radio Conversations

In conclusion, “Radio Drives Brand Conversations” highlights radio’s transformative potential in the media landscape. Conversations, their conversion to sales and the importance of nurturing them are the key takeaways. With radio’s unique ability to amplify conversations, engage everyday influencers, fuel purchase intent and incubate dialogue on crucial issues, it’s an indispensable tool for advertisers.

Maximizing Radio’s Potential: A Brand’s Action Plan

  • Embrace radio as a strategic platform for your brand.
  • Invest in conversation-driven strategies and recognize the significant impact they can have on your brand’s growth.
  • Recognize conversations as tangible assets that can be measured and optimized.
  • Tailor your radio advertising strategies to align with specific industry nuances.
  • Identify and engage with everyday influencers among your audience. Leverage their potential to amplify your brand’s message and reach.
  • Craft radio campaigns that not only engage but also drive purchase intent.
  • Align your brand with societal issues that resonate with your audience.
  • Recognize radio’s potential to be a platform for discussions that matter.
For the complete findings and in-depth insights, we invite you to download the full white paper  here and watch the webinar recording.

Competing with Amazon: Unveiling the Top 10 TotalSocial Retail Champions

Competing with Amazon: Unveiling the Top 10 TotalSocial Retail Champions

Shopping online and offline As July comes to an end, retailers and e-commerce continue to push through and find themselves amidst a fervent battleground, seizing every opportunity to vie for consumer attention and market share. In this context, this article will introduce the top 10 retail rankers overall TotalSocial, offline and online lists. With the pinnacle of the month being Amazon’s Prime Day held on July 11-12, big-box retailers orchestrated a symphony of parallel promotions, endeavoring to captivate customers in a time when discretionary spending faces restraint. Beyond Prime Day, July boasts a tapestry of significant retail events, including 4th of July sales, Christmas in July, Black Friday in July, and the Nordstrom Anniversary Sales. With the advent of back-to-school shopping, all of which signal retailers to devise ingenious strategies to outshine the competition. In this relentless pursuit of consumer engagement, Engagement Labs evangelizes the importance of fostering dynamic consumer conversations. Understanding that such offline and online act as catalysts for sales and brand success, retailers are called upon to harness the power of consumer interactions and inspire buzz that resonates across both online and offline channels.  

Amazon Reigns Supreme

Back in spring 2018, we released the white paper, “5 Ways to Beat Amazon, The Retailers Guide to Harnessing The Power Of Social Influence To Drive Sales.” Five years later, Amazon continues to be a Conversation Commander, which is defined as a brand that performs above-average both offline and online, and at number 1 spot for all categories (Overall TotalSocial, Offline and Online), but tied with Nike for the number 1 spot offline. Conversation Commander - Amazon Crushes Competition | Engagement Labs One key factor in Amazon’s success is the extent to which it dominates consumer conversations. Measured against the industry landscape as a whole, the well-known American brand crushes it on every measure. Consumers talk about Amazon more than any other retail brand – and by a significant margin, both online and offline. In fact, Amazon’s TotalSocial performance is the #1 versus all other brands in America. Much of the conversation about the brand is very positive. Not only does Amazon get talked about a lot, it also inspires sharing of its content, and it is a favorite of the most influential consumers. Amazon’s strong performance in driving consumer conversations about its brand matters because consumer talk drives sales. According to Engagement Labs analytics, 19 percent of sales, on average, are driven by consumer conversations. On the surface, this should be troublesome to Amazon’s competitors. Yet, with an analysis of consumer conversations data indicates many opportunities to improve. Yes, Amazon is the clear winner across many categories and its strengths are significant, but to think it can’t be beat is dead wrong. Data from Engagement Labs reveals that a few retailers are leveraging consumer conversations in a way that enables them to compete effectively with Amazon in the battle for social influence. With greater attention to the power of online and offline data, these retailers have a legitimate shot at grabbing back consumer engagement—and business. And the rest of the retail community can learn from them.

Top 10 TotalSocial Retail Category Rankings

The rankings analysis is unique in that the TotalSocial combines offline and online consumer conversations and is based on Engagement Labs’ patented, proprietary TotalSocial data and analytics, which continuously measures the most important drivers of brand performance in both face-to-face (offline) and social media (online) conversations. The brands in the top 10 have earned the highest TotalSocial scores in the category for the 12 months ending July 16, 2023. In the Overall TotalSocial ranking, Amazon, Costco, and Nike lead the pack, excelling in engaging consumer conversations both online and offline. Amazon and Nike tie for first place in the Offline TotalSocial category, while Ulta emerges as a strong contender in the top three. In the Online TotalSocial sphere, Amazon remains the frontrunner, accompanied by Costco and eBay in the top three, showcasing their expertise in fostering online consumer engagement. These rankings provide valuable guidance for retailers, shedding light on brands that have effectively leveraged TotalSocial power and offering insights for those seeking to challenge Amazon in the competitive retail landscape. A notable discovery from the rankings is that Adidas secures a spot in the top 10 Offline, but lags behind in the online sphere, granting Nike a competitive edge. While both brands exhibit robust offline performance, Adidas must focus on bolstering its online presence to avoid falling further behind Nike’s dominant position in the digital arena. Top 10 Overall TotalSocial Retail Brands | Engagement Labs Top 10 Offline TotalSocial Retail Brands | Engagement LabsTop 10 Online TotalSocial Retail Brands | Engagement Labs

5 Recommendations for Retailers to Beat Competition

In the current landscape of 2023, brands with strong word-of-mouth (WOM) momentum should seize the opportunity to further amplify their buzz, while those lagging behind must put in extra efforts to improve their trajectory. As a marketer planning to optimize your Holiday 2023 outcomes, competing with Amazon and other conversation commanders requires a well-crafted strategy supported by data that acknowledges the evolving landscape of consumer engagement. Here are recommendations on how to effectively compete with other e-commerce sites and retailers: number1Cultivate Engaging Campaigns and Newsworthy Content Retailers must craft campaigns and content that capture consumers’ attention and ignite conversations about their brand. Embrace innovation by introducing compelling product lines, employing humor in advertising, and seeking strategic celebrity partnerships. These activities have the potential to spark discussions, both online and offline, and enhance brand visibility. number2Harness the Power of Both Online and Offline Channels Recognize that success in today’s retail market hinges on optimizing both online and offline consumer touchpoints. Tailor distinct strategies for each realm and create synergy between them. For instance, design “friends and family” coupons to incentivize group shopping experiences and employ social media-driven discounts for in-store purchases. By fostering dialogue in both spheres, retailers can maximize consumer engagement and drive sales. Walmart presents an intriguing case, ranking impressively high in the online realm but lagging behind at 23rd place offline and #15 overall. This disparity is attributed to lower brand sharing, influence, and sentiment scores, which indicates a potential marketing opportunity for the brand. By focusing on enhancing the positivity of their conversations and targeting more influential consumers, Walmart can leverage this opportunity to strengthen its overall performance and bridge the gap between its online and offline standings. number3Leverage the In-Store Experience as a Unique Advantage Retailers possess an intrinsic advantage over Amazon through their physical stores. Capitalize on this by enhancing the in-store experience to encourage customer interaction and online sharing. Whether it’s selfie stations and other interactive elements that prompt customers to capture moments and share them on social media. Such offline conversations wield substantial influence over sales and brand perception. number4Target Everyday Influencers and Influencers with Expansive Social Networks Identifying and engaging with influencers who boast significant social networks can significantly impact a retailer’s reach. Develop tailored programs for passionate brand advocates, many of whom are repeat visitors to your websites. By nurturing relationships with influencers, retailers can tap into their vast audiences and stimulate conversations around the brand. number5Foster Shareable Marketing across Channels To optimize conversations, retailers should design marketing initiatives that are inherently shareable across various channels. Implement integrated campaigns that leverage captivating OTT and TV advertising to prompt social media engagement. Seamlessly integrating both spheres of conversation allow retailers to amplify their messaging and increase the likelihood of consumers sharing content with their networks. By embracing these strategies, retailers can navigate the competitive landscape with Amazon, effectively commanding consumer conversations and securing a thriving position in the market.

Bud Light’s Battle with Offline Sentiment and Its Ripple Effect

Demographics Unmasked: How Male Consumers Shape Bud Light’s Narrative

Top view of businessman looking at question mark on floor In the realm of marketing and advertising, data-driven insights are paramount to success. When it comes to maximizing sales, brands, advertisers, and media need to tap into the power of consumer conversations. In this article, we delve into Bud Light’s TotalSocial data, exploring how offline and online conversation sentiment affects sales. By examining the controversy involving transgender influencer Dylan Mulvaney and its subsequent impact on sentiment, we shed light on the predictive power of offline conversations when sentiment takes a plunge. There is no question, Bud Light’s business is suffering. FOX Business recently reported on losses not only affecting the Bud Light brand, but Anheuser-Busch’s brand sales overall. “For the week ending May 27, NielsenIQ data that Bump Williams Consulting provided to FOX Business showed that Bud Light posted a 23.9% decrease in sales on a dollar basis compared to a year ago. The Anheuser-Busch-owned brand’s sales have fallen 24.5% in the past four weeks ending with that one, according to the data.” So how can keeping a finger on the pulse of Americans’ conversations have helped Anheuser-Busch better understand the fallout of the issue?

The Dylan Mulvaney Controversy

Bud Light is no stranger to embracing Pride Month, and up to this point enjoyed largely positive conversation sentiment, offline and online. In fact, Bud Light’s commitment to the movement earned the brand a top LGBTQ+ rating from the Human Rights Campaign Foundation last year. However, all that changed in April. On April 1, Dylan Mulvaney, a prominent transgender influencer, posted a video on her Instagram, showcasing a Bud Light as a brand partner. This act, part of a series of corporate freebies she shares with her millions of followers, generated significant attention and backlash. Then, in a misstep by Anheuser-Busch, the company mishandled their response. Their response led to the company being stripped of the top LGBTQ+ rating given by the Human Rights Campaign Foundation. The crux of the situation is that Bud Light managed to anger customers while also not supporting Dylan Mulvaney, thus  also managing to upset the consumers they were trying to target.  

Conversation Sentiment Eroded 

The consequence was immediate. Americans’ conversations about Bud Light erupted, not only on social media, but offline as well as measured by Engagement Labs TotalSocial. And unfortunately for Bud Light, it was not a spike in Americans saying good things about the brand.  Instead social media became a hub for expressing concerns and criticism. Meanwhile, consumers’ everyday conversations about Bud Light – those conversations happening face-to-face in stores, backyards, homes turned largely negative following the incident as well.  

Volume of Bud Light’s Offline and Online Conversations

Volume of Bud Light’s Offline and Online Conversations  

Bud Light Offline and Online Net Sentiment (Positive Less Negative) Impact

Bud Light Offline and Online Net Sentiment (Positive Less Negative) Impact   

What Does This Mean for Bud Light? 

We have seen with other brand crises, that while brands will experience a dramatic lift in negative social buzz, offline conversations happening in-person and in the real world remain somewhat stable or unaffected. This happened in the case of Dick’s Sporting Goods following the announcement that they would stop selling assault rifles in response to the Parkland tragedy. Social media buzz immediately grew negative in tonality, while offline remained relatively stable.  However, one year following the announcement, Dick’s Sporting Goods showed steady performance on business KPIs, which is much more in line with the steady sentiment seen among offline conversations. Unfortunately, when there is a stark decline in both online and offline sentiment, as is the case with Bud Light, a different picture emerges with far greater implications for sales. Offline net sentiment, or positive less negative/mixed conversations, acts as a barometer for consumer sentiment. In the case of Bud Light, offline sentiment witnessed a sharp decline, which was largely driven by male consumers, the brand’s most active contributors to Bud Light’s word-of-mouth (WOM). This erosion in real life conversation sentiment served as a predictor of Bud Light’s loss in sales. By contrasting Bud Light’s story with a brand like Dick’s Sporting Goods – which experienced a drop in online sentiment while offline sentiment remained stable – we uncover the pivotal role played by offline conversations.  

Lessons for Brands in Crisis

During crises such as this, it is more important than ever for brands to keep a finger on the pulse of what consumers are saying in the real world. Looking at offline conversation data will help brands not only better predict the impact on business KPIs, but also help find ways to get out ahead of the crises. If Bud Light was able to fully understand the impact the incident was having on their core market early on, perhaps the company would have engaged with their  audience differently — addressing their concerns, and finding ways to regain their trust. During a brand crisis, it is important to:
  1. Keep a finger on the pulse of what consumers are saying about your brand, especially offline or in the real world. By understanding what people are saying at BBQs, in stores, at a friend’s house, and so on, marketers can better predict how sales will be impacted. Monitoring social buzz alone only gives marketers a small piece of the puzzle. Our research shows that when real-world conversations are tainted, this signals a much bigger problem for brands.
  2. Understand who is driving any changes in conversation. Once you know more about who is driving the negative change, it is important for marketers to find ways to engage those audiences.
  3. Monitor real-time social media buzz. While offline sentiment remains more representative and authentic, online sentiment experiences periodic fluctuations may signal something that requires your attention. Brands must invest in social listening to effectively monitor online conversations. Proactively addressing potential reputation risks can lead to a reduction in such risks.
By leveraging the data-driven insights such as those derived from TotalSocial, stakeholders can identify sentiment patterns, understand the demographic segments driving conversations, and implement targeted strategies to foster positive sentiment. This proactive approach helps mitigate potential declines in sales and ensures the brand remains in tune with consumer sentiment both offline and online.  

Unlocking the Power of the Asian Market: Data and Strategies for Effective Engagement

Understanding the Data, Celebrating AAPI Month, and Advancing DE&I Efforts

pexels-ketut-subiyanto-4350214 In the spirit of AAPI (Asian American and Pacific Islander) month, brands and media companies have a unique opportunity to tap into the vast potential of the Asian and Asian American market. According to Pew Research, Asian Americans are the fastest-growing racial or ethnic group in the United States, with their population projected to reach 35 million by 2060. Asian American buying power experienced a remarkable surge of 314% between 2000 and 2019, surpassing the growth in purchasing power observed across all other racial and ethnic categories during the same timeframe, as reported by a Nielsen study. This dynamic consumer segment represents a significant force in brand conversations and possesses considerable purchasing power. By understanding their preferences, embracing diversity, equity, and inclusion (DE&I), and crafting targeted marketing strategies, businesses can not only drive revenue growth but also foster a more inclusive industry. In this article, we delve into the data, statistics, strategies and best practices for effectively engaging with the Asian segment.  

Unlocking the Asian and Asian American Market Insights

Engagement Labs’ latest findings provide valuable insights into the Asian and Asian American consumer segment in the United States. During the period of 12 months ending April 2023, 1,469 Asian respondents ages 13 to 69 participated in a study of consumers’ daily conversations, alongside a total public sample size of 39,865 individuals.

Data-Driven Discoveries

Amplified Brand Conversations

Asian and Asian American consumers talk a lot about brands!  These consumers engage in over 500 million brand conversations each week. Added to this, Asian consumers’ rate of conversation is higher than the general population. On average, an Asian consumer discusses approximately 90 brands per week, representing a 16% increase compared to the general population. In particular, Asians are also more likely to talk about travel, technology, personal care/beauty, sports, and retail. These staggering figures underline the importance of recognizing and tapping into this highly engaged consumer base. Average Conversations per Week (per person) by Asians - Engagement Labs Average weekly conversations by category Asian Segment - Engagement Labs

Most Talked-About Brands

Coca-Cola, Amazon, McDonald’s, Walmart, and Apple emerge as the most talked-about brands among Asians. However, certain brands enjoy a significantly higher presence within the Asian segment compared to the general population. Amazon, Home Depot, T-Mobile, YouTube, Bank of America, Starbucks, and Adidas are prominent examples of brands that have successfully resonated in daily conversations among Asian American consumers. Understanding these preferences can provide valuable insights for marketers aiming to strengthen their presence within this segment. It’s crucial to leverage marketing efforts to enhance talkability, as consumer conversations influence roughly 19% of purchases, which includes discussions initiated by paid advertising. Our research indicates that a significant 25% of the impact of advertising on sales is driven by the brand’s ability to prompt consumers to talk about it. Top20Brands Most Talked About by Asians * Brands highlighted in blue have a much bigger presence among Asian Americans vs General Population.

Conversation Topics

Beyond brand conversations, hot topics and issues also surface as important conversation fodder among Asian Americans. In particular, school/education, traveling, and international news are key topics discussed — at rates even higher than the general population. However, financial concerns and politics are less likely to be discussed compared to the general population. Recognizing these conversation patterns is crucial for crafting targeted marketing messages that align with the interests and values of Asian American consumers.

Digital marketing is a key way to generate brand conversation

Digital marketing is a key driver of brand conversations among Asians, with 30% of these conversations containing references to something seen online. Social media, brand websites, and internet ads emerge as the leading sources of media touchpoint. This highlights the need for brands and media companies to invest in digital strategies that resonate with the Asian American segment, leveraging social media platforms and targeted internet advertising.

Strategies for Successful Engagement

To tap into the Asian American market and drive DE&I efforts, brands and media companies can adopt the following strategies:
  1. Data-driven Insights Leverage reliable data sources, such as Engagement Labs, to gain a comprehensive understanding of the Asian market. Analyze their preferences, brand interactions, and conversation patterns to inform marketing strategies.
  2. Cultural Sensitivity and Authenticity Acknowledge and respect the diversity within the Asian and Asian American community. According to Pew Research, only 16% call themselves Asian American as most prefer to use their specific ethnicities. Tailor marketing efforts to authentically represent their cultures, values, and experiences. Avoid stereotypes and tokenism, and instead celebrate the rich cultural diversity within this segment.
  3. Language Localization Consider language preferences and cultural nuances within the Asian and Asian American market. Implement multilingual campaigns, culturally relevant content, and translation services to enhance engagement and establish a stronger connection with the target audience.
  4. Strategic Partnerships and Influencer Collaborations Forge partnerships with Asian organizations, influencers, and community leaders to gain cultural insights, build trust, and co-create content. Collaborating with individuals who possess a deep understanding of the community will enable marketers to deliver more authentic and impactful campaigns.
  5. Representation and Inclusivity Prioritize diversity within the organization by actively recruiting and promoting Asian talent. Embrace a variety of perspectives and experiences, which will drive more effective engagement strategies and contribute to a more inclusive industry ecosystem.
  6. Personalization and Targeted Marketing Utilize data insights to personalize marketing efforts and create targeted campaigns for the Asian consumer segment. Leverage technology and analytics to understand consumer behavior, preferences, and purchase patterns. By tailoring messages and offerings to the specific needs and desires of Asian and Asian American consumers, companies can enhance their marketing effectiveness and drive engagement.

The Future of Asian Market Engagement

The Asian market presents immense opportunities for brands and media companies. By leveraging the data and insights provided by Engagement Labs, businesses can unlock the power of the Asian consumer segment. Understanding the volume of brand conversations, the most talked-about brands, issues they talk about, media touchpoints, and the preferred modes of communication among Asians is key to developing effective marketing strategies. Engaging with the Asian market not only drives revenue growth but also advances diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts within the industry. By tailoring campaigns to the specific needs, preferences, and values of Asian and Asian American consumers, companies can foster a more inclusive environment and give voice to underrepresented communities. As the Asian and Asian American population continues to grow and exert influence, it is crucial for brands and media companies to stay ahead of the curve. By investing in data, analytics, and strategic marketing efforts, businesses can forge strong connections with the Asian audience and position themselves for long-term success. The Asian market offers vast potential for brands and media companies. By tapping into this segment, businesses can drive revenue growth, foster inclusivity, and demonstrate their commitment to diversity and equity. Through data-driven insights, cultural sensitivity, and strategic partnerships, companies can create meaningful connections with Asian American consumers and contribute to a more inclusive and representative industry landscape. As we celebrate AAPI month, let us embrace the opportunities presented by the Asian and Asian American market and work towards a future of diverse and equitable engagement.

The Power of Influencers: Maximize Your Marketing Mileage

Part 1 – Targeting Travel Influencers Segment: Habits, Interests, and Conversation

Travel website image With summer just around the corner, Americans are ready and planning their summer vacations. According to a survey conducted by Forbes Advisory, an astounding 49% of Americans plan to travel more in 2023. Now is a prime time for travel marketers to find ways to engage consumers and get their brands and destinations to the forefront of their minds. According to research from the International Trade Administration, the U.S. travel and tourism industry generated $1.9 trillion in economic output. As travel restrictions ease, consumers are increasingly embracing the chance to reconnect with distant family and friends by ramping up their travel plans. This begs the question: how do you get the most mileage out of your marketing? For one, reaching the right audience is key. According to Engagement Labs research, the average adult engages in 3 travel-oriented brand conversations each week. This figure grows 50% higher when you isolate affluent adults – a common targeting criteria for travel marketers. What if we go a step further and isolate those everyday influencers who are fully engaged in the travel industry and sought out by others for their advice? These everyday travel influencers report engaging in 9 travel brand-related conversations each week – triple the average adult! Slide1-May-04-2023-07-33-35-6820-PM Due to our partnership with Dstillery, marketers can directly target these travel influencers and many other influencer/advocate segments. But we can offer more than just targeting these segments, there is a lot more to explore about these powerful audiences. Leveraging the latest TotalSocial Profiler data, we can start to build out an image of travel influencers. While they generally align with the general population in terms of age and gender, they are more educated. Travel influencers are also extremely heavy media users.  For instance, travel influencers are avid audiobook/podcast listeners with Audible usage being 2.8x higher than the average adult. This segment also frequents music platforms such as Apple Music (2.2x), Sirius XM (1.9x), Amazon Music (1.8x), and iHeart Radio (1.7x). Marketers understand that access to audience segments with data about issues, demographic and behavior that matter most to travel influencers can help their campaign goals. Exploration of the most impactful conversations among travel influencers show us that in addition to travel/vacations, the economy and inflation are also at the forefront in their daily lives. Our data reveals that travel influencers are 64% more likely than the average adult to engage in daily conversations about the overall state of the economy. This is important to keep in mind when designing messaging to reach travel influencers.

Most Impactful Daily Conversation Among Travel Influencers

Slide2-May-04-2023-07-35-44-3207-PM   Marketers can leverage Dstillery, our digital activation partner, to reach powerful audience segments and make media buying more efficient and impactful. Additionally, Engagement Labs offers influencer segments, including Travel Influencers, that can be accessed through Dstillery and major platforms such as LiveRamp and Adobe Audience Manager.

Tips for Travel Marketing Success 

Here are five tips to help you elevate your travel marketing game and make your brand stand out in a crowded space.
  1. Target travel influencers: Identifying and targeting travel influencers, who engage in 9 travel brand-related conversations each week, can help travel marketers reach an influential audience and increase brand awareness.
  2. Consider media consumption habits: Travel influencers are heavy media users, with podcast and music streaming services being popular among them. Travel marketers can create more effective campaigns by considering these media consumption habits.
  3. Focus on economic topics: In addition to travel and vacations, the economy and inflation are important topics for travel influencers. Travel marketers should consider these topics when designing messaging to reach this influential audience.
  4. Tap into digital word-of-mouth audiences at scale: Digital activation data segments such as the TotalSocial Profiler data, can help travel marketers directly target influential travel segments, including travel influencers. This can make media buying more efficient and impactful.
  5. Leverage influencer and brand advocate segments: Engagement Labs offers a variety of influencer and brand advocate segments that travel marketers can leverage to increase brand awareness and engagement.
In conclusion, targeting travel influencers can be a powerful strategy for travel marketers looking to increase brand awareness and engagement. By leveraging data on their habits, interests, and conversations, marketers can design more effective campaigns that resonate with this influential audience. With the help of digital activation partners like Dstillery and influencer segments from Engagement Labs, travel marketers can reach these powerful audience segments and make their media buying more efficient and impactful. We invite you to contact Engagement Labs to learn more about our many influencer and brand advocate segments as well as our partnership with Dstillery. 

Maximizing Marketing ROI with Social Influence Data

How Social Data Can Drive Business Outcomes and Optimize Marketing Strategies

Maximizing Marketing ROI with Social Influence Data The advertising industry has evolved significantly over the years, with the emergence of new technologies and trends. While social influence and word-of-mouth marketing continue to play a significant role in the industry, influencing consumer decision-making and driving sales. AdAge reported that the US ad industry grew by 7.5% in 2021, with total ad spending reaching $259 billion. The report also notes that digital ad spending now accounts for more than half of all ad spending in the US. To keep up with ever changing landscape, brands and agencies continually look to improve the accuracy of advertising models by incorporating data such as social data to further understand, attribute and correlate consumer conversations to predict business results by leveraging analytics and machine learning to derive actionable insights. Incorporating social influence data into these models can be crucial, especially as we know social conversations can directly and indirectly impact consumer purchases.

What is Social Influence?

Social influence is unique in two ways: the data sets available to us and our experience in incorporating social data into marketing models. Engagement Labs has the most extensive ongoing measures of word-of-mouth (WOM) about brands dating back more than a decade. Our offline data is a key component of our TotalSocial data and analytics platform, which is crucial for modelers. We have developed a data transformation and scoring method that applies to our WOM data and to social listening data from social media, blogs, forums, and other sources. These methods allow brands to distill wide-ranging data into eight distinct metrics that are highly predictive of brand outcomes. Social data can directly drive consumer purchases, but it can also work indirectly in combination with other marketing activities. Understanding this two-step process is vital to successfully incorporating social influence data into models. We have learned that a substantial part of the impact of paid media is a result of WOM.  

The Current State of Social Influence

According to McKinsey, consumer conversations about brands have a significant impact on the purchase decisions of other consumers. McKinsey estimates that word-of-mouth is the primary factor behind 20% to 50% of all purchasing decisions. This shows the immense power of social influence in driving sales and improving marketing ROI. IDC, on the other hand, predicts that by 2025, worldwide spending on AI systems will reach $97.9 billion, up from $37.5 billion in 2019. This shows the increasing adoption of AI technologies in various industries, including advertising.  

Impact of Social Influence on Consumer Decision Making

Extensive research shows that both real-life and social media conversations are critical pathways for consumers in their purchase journey. Our research, as we have reported in the MIT Sloan Management Review, reveals that conversations on average drive about 20% of sales. Social influence, both offline and online, is very substantial and should not be overlooked by brands. While this is the average, our research shows that each brand has its social DNA. The way social influence works for one brand can be quite different from the way it works for another, even for brands in the same category. Understanding what drives a brand and how big the opportunity to drive incremental sales is key to maximize performance. Doing so can potentially unlock and demonstrate tens of millions of dollars in incremental sales. How to Incorporate Social Influence Data into Predictive Modeling

How to Incorporate Social Influence Data into Predictive Modeling

Discovering and obtaining streams of quality data and know-how for incorporating social data into both new and pre-existing models is key. Experience to integrate it with brand and/or media data that reflects and best represents the most important KPIs to reveal the metrics that drive business outcomes. Then, for brands who have their analytics programs, Engagement Labs can work alongside their modeling team to help them incorporate social influence data (online and offline) to strengthen the predictive power of their models. Here are a few recommendations for brands and businesses on how social influence data can impact their marketing and sales strategies: Integrate word-of-mouth to predict sales.Integrate word-of-mouth to predict sales. Social influence is a crucial component to test when constructing forecasting models. By incorporating offline and online conversations about brands into predictive models, businesses can gain insights into how social influence impacts their sales. Gain insight into the mechanisms driving sales improvement.Gain insight into the mechanisms driving sales improvement. Quantifying marketing’s amplification via social influence is essential for calculating marketing’s full ROI. Businesses can identify the marketing activities that drive the most word-of-mouth conversations and optimize their marketing strategies accordingly. Pinpoint the consumers most likely to talk about and recommend your brand.Pinpoint the consumers most likely to talk about and recommend your brand. By identifying the groups most prone to talk about and recommend a brand, businesses can prioritize target market and audience segments to optimize their marketing strategies. Gain new insights into competitors.Gain new insights into competitors. TotalSocial reveals the extent to which positive or negative conversations about other brands in the marketplace impact your brand sales. Businesses can gain valuable insights into their competitors and optimize their marketing strategies to stay ahead of the competition.   Social influence and word-of-mouth marketing continue to play a significant role in the marketing and advertising industries. By leveraging emerging technologies like generative AI and combining it with Engagement Labs’ TotalSocial data and analytics platform, brands and businesses can gain a better understanding of social influence and how it impacts their marketing and sales strategies. This, in turn, can help businesses optimize their marketing strategies, improve marketing ROI, and drive business outcomes.

Consumer Conversations and Social Influence for Brand Success

The potency of consumer conversations and word of mouth in shaping product performance has been a long-recognized fact by marketers. In the current digital age and managing through a downturn, marketers and business leaders face new challenges due to the constantly evolving landscape. The emergence of new tools such as ChatGPT and alike that utilizes artificial intelligence to engage in natural language conversations, and the increasing significance of digital advertising make it crucial to comprehend the power of consumer conversations. Engagement Labs recently conducted a study on the Most Loved Brands in America, which underlines the importance of engaging with customers and providing a positive brand experience. To succeed in today’s cutthroat environment, brands need to prioritize establishing strong relationships with their customers and consistently delivering positive experiences. This entails investing in unique marketing strategies that cater to both social media and real-world conversations.  

The Most Loved Brands in America

One example of the power of consumer conversations is the success of the most loved brand in America. Engagement Labs most recent study found that Trader Joe’s and American Family Insurance are the most loved brands in America in offline and online respectively. These brands have consistently shown their ability to engage with their audience and deliver a positive brand experience. They have successfully managed to cultivate loyal customer bases that continue to support them through their purchases and recommendations. Happy customers are more likely to recommend the brand to their friends and family, which can lead to more sales through word of mouth. Engagement Labs TotalSocial Most Loved Brands 2023 - Offline and Online Winners Our findings have profound implications for marketing strategy. Consumer conversations, both in social media and in real life, drive nearly one-fifth of all sales. Even more importantly, offline and online word-of-mouth leads sales by up to 4 weeks. Social performance is a reliable predictor of sales, and a critical data point for marketers as they plan how to stage their marketing for product launches and promotions. Engagement Labs emphasizes the importance of understanding and leveraging these conversations to drive business growth, “Brands that can deliver a consistently positive experience and build deep relationships with their customers will succeed in today’s competitive landscape.” The Most Loved Brand Award is given to brands with the highest net sentiment scores online and offline. Offline data collected and analyzed from more than 37,000 surveyed and demographically balanced to US Census for ages 13 to 69 through the use of sample quotas and weighting for age, gender, educational attainment, race, ethnicity, and geography. While online conversations are measured using social listening.  

Real-Life Conversations vs. Social Media Conversations

Graph_Iceberg 5-01Marketers devote ever larger portions of their efforts in social media, but real-life conversations matter as much as and often more than those on social media. Face-to-face and voice-to-voice drive half of the impact consumer conversations have on consumer purchases. Social media influences the other half. However, social media and real-life conversations are very different, and one is a poor predictor of the other. Social media conversations are the visible tip of an iceberg of total conversation but provide almost no indication of the size and shape of the often hidden offline conversation that exists below the surface. It’s also important to note that social media conversations are often just the visible tip of an iceberg of total conversation. Offline conversations, which can be more difficult to track, can have a significant impact on consumer behavior. Therefore, while it’s tempting to think a strong marketing performance on social media will create similar results with real-world conversations, marketers must invest in and plan unique marketing strategies for each.  

The Amplifying Effect of Word of Mouth

Consumer conversations are a key factor in the success of advertising. A quarter of the impact of advertising on sales “passes through” word of mouth, both online and offline. In other words, advertising prompts or reminds people to talk about brands, and those conversations often lead to purchase. Word-of-mouth does the tough work of persuasion in a way that a paid message cannot. As expected, our data show the main driver of consumer talk, both offline and online, is TV. But radio is also a surprisingly strong driver of conversations. And while media drive both offline and online conversations, online is more responsive to media efforts. To get more out of their marketing budgets, advertisers must plan for the amplification of advertising through WOM.  

The Risk of Ignoring Word of Mouth and Under-Valuing Social Influence

Ignoring the impact of word of mouth can have adverse consequences for brands. Underestimating or overlooking the impact of social influence can negatively impact a brand’s bottom line. Marketers need to understand that all marketing should be designed to encourage conversations and recommendations, as a way to amplify the impact of marketing expenditures and drive purchases. Consumers are making purchasing decisions while talking with other consumers, whether that’s at the water cooler, at social events, or while chatting with friends on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, and Snapchat. Brands that prioritize customer service and experience are more likely to see positive word of mouth, which can lead to increased sales and brand loyalty. It’s important for marketers to encourage and incentivize happy customers to share their positive experiences with friends and family.  

Consumer Conversations: A Powerful Tool for Brand Success

Every day, consumers are faced with countless choices when it comes to purchasing products and services. With so many options available, how can a brand stand out and gain the attention and loyalty of consumers? One answer lies in the power of consumer conversations. According to Engagement Labs’ data and analytics, these consumer conversations drive 19% of all purchases. This has been evidenced in Engagement Labs articles published in the Journal of Advertising Research and the MIT Sloan Management Review written with Dr. Koen Pauwels. So, what does this mean for marketers and businesses? It means that word of mouth should not be ignored in the marketing mix – it should be a key component of any marketing strategy. In conclusion, word of mouth is a powerful tool for brand success. By focusing on customer service and experience, advertising, and encouraging positive conversations, brands can harness the power of consumer conversations to drive sales and gain.

Maximizing Positive Brand Sentiment: 4 Data-Driven Tips for Marketers

heart-ss-1920 In today’s fast-paced and highly competitive business environment, making data-driven decisions is essential for marketers and business leaders. The current economy is highly dynamic, with rapid technological advancements and changes in consumer behavior, making it increasingly challenging to predict market trends accurately. With data-driven insights, marketers and leaders can make informed decisions that drive growth, increase profitability, and stay ahead of the competition. Engagement Labs research and data have debunked a common myth that a brand’s online popularity among fans correlates with positive real-life conversations. Across a list of nearly 600 brands we measure continuously in the US, we find that net sentiment—positive conversations minus negative ones—are barely correlated to each other on a week-to-week basis. The trend correlation is about zero, on average, as we have reported in the MIT Sloan Management Review.  At the same time, these two data streams both matter, because together they drive 19% of consumer purchases, on average. With this in mind, brands need to invest in data and strategies that drive positive sentiment in both spheres. Data-driven decision-making is not only important for managing risk and staying ahead of the competition but also for driving positive sentiment towards a brand. Here are four tips for using data-driven insights to drive positive sentiment:

number1Think TotalSocial®

Brands need to focus on both real-life and social media conversations to capture the whole marketing picture. Real-life conversations or offline WOM drives 10% of sales while online social media drives 9% – ignoring either one is a missed opportunity. Listening to both spheres helps identify brewing issues and signals that indicate a shift in strategies.

number2Aim High

Brands need to deliver an exceptional brand experience to motivate consumers to talk positively. Upwards of 25% of all offline conversations now include people talking about what they see in digital media, and a brand’s website is the number one digital driver of conversation. Just as consumers move seamlessly between their offline and online worlds, brands must do so as well.

number3Pay attention to key audiences

Brands should focus on their two most important audiences: customers and employees. Hiring employees who embody the brand’s values and engage with them leads to dedicated and committed employees, who, in turn, provide exceptional service. “Brands need to understand the value that connecting with consumers have. It’s not just a one-off conversation. When building a relationship with people and consumers, you want to hear what they have to say, because what they have to say will impact how they feel about your brand, which will impact whether they’re engaging and sing your brand,” PepsiCo’s Kevin Moeller has said it best in Kantar’s Future Proof podcast.

number4Learn from competitors’ crises

Brands can learn from their competitors’ mistakes and take steps to avoid similar outcomes. Take steps to avoid negative outcomes and conversations. As a marketer and business leader, avoid over-relying on popular social media listening tools for verdicts on marketing campaigns and public relations crises. While these tools can enable important two-way dialogs between brands and consumers, they don’t necessarily reflect mainstream opinion. Track and check your online and offline sentiment and holistically other key metrics and performance indicators such as volume, brand sharing and influence that can indicate the need for investing in strategies that generate positive consumer conversations in both spheres.   Marketers have a significant influence over consumer sentiment by listening to both real-life and social media conversations and developing strategies that spark positive talk about their brands. Engagement Labs’ TotalSocial platform combines four types of metrics to calculate brand success in both online and offline conversations. Those metrics are the volume of conversation, the net sentiment (positive versus negative direction), the extent to which the brand is being talked about by the most socially connected people, and whether the brand’s advertising, marketing and social content is being shared and discussed. That’s why we recommend a holistic measurement approach that is available in TotalSocial. In closing, data-driven decision-making is critical for driving positive sentiment towards a brand. By thinking TotalSocial®, aiming high, paying attention to key audiences, and learning from competitors’ crises, brands can use data-driven insights to create positive consumer conversations and build a sustainable business for the future.

Top Super Bowl 2023 Advertisers That Dominated the Buzz: Who Made the Cut?

SuperBowlLVII Super Bowl LVII was the third most watched television program in history with 113 million viewers, according to Nielsen. Advertisers all want to score a touchdown, but many will just settle for field goals. In other words, these advertisers may enjoy a surge in buzz on social media or a bump in YouTube views, but they will not be able to reach a level of performance that outweighs the cost of their investment.  So, the question is: How do advertisers score a touchdown? In marketing, brands must drive multiple metrics to be successful. Research shows that online and offline conversation, together, drive about 19% of purchases. Online conversations alone drive less than half of those purchases, essentially a field goal. This means that offline conversations are key to scoring a touchdown. Which brands enjoyed not only a surge in online buzz, but also a lift in offline conversation? One of the biggest winners in 2023 was E-Trade with +350% lift in both offline and online conversations.  E-Trade’s advertisement featured the return of the iconic talking babies as adult investors, which drove discussion of this humorous content both in person and on social media. WHICH SUPER BOWL ADVERTISERS SCORED A TOUCHDOWN - ENGAGEMENT LABS Pepsi Zero Sugar had huge success generating conversation, especially online.  Pepsi Zero Sugar’s advertisements featured Steve Martin and Ben Stiller and asked consumers to engage with Pepsi and determine if the actors were “real or acting.”  This clear call to action led to Pepsi Zero Sugar’s online social buzz lifting +3,000%, coupled with an equally impressive offline lift of 300%. Another big winner was Heineken with around a 300% lift both offline and online conversation.  The importance of this win is two-fold — Heineken made its mark airing the first national commercial in the Super Bowl for a non alcoholic beer, plus 2023 marks the first time in decades that Anheuser-Busch competitors could advertise nationally during the Super Bowl. Avocados From Mexico, Coors Light, Intuit’s TurboTax, Michelob Ultra, NFL, Planters and Tubi round out the top 10 list of brands making their mark in offline and online conversation. While we just explored brands winning in both the offline and online sense, there are other brands that were highly successful at driving online buzz through their Super Bowl ad, with a lower level of performance offline.  These advertisers include Crown Royal, Bud Light, Doritos, Rakuten, T-Mobile, Dunkin’ and WeatherTech.  For these Super Bowl advertisers who excelled at creating buzz online, there is an opportunity to evaluate marketing to give the brand a better chance at earning additional offline conversation. Our research shows that there are levers marketers can pull to improve performance across both channels. These include ensuring the advertising is strongly branded and includes a ‘buzzworthy’ message that is easy to remember and talk about and has a call to action. WHICH SUPER BOWL ADVERTISERS SCORED A FIELD GOAL - ENGAGEMENT LABS Contact us to learn more on how other Super Bowl advertisers performed and about Engagement Labs’ TotalSocial data, insights and how it can help you evaluate the full value of your sports sponsorship and marketing ROI. SIGN ME UP Super Bowl Report & Briefing  

Sports Fans Spotlight: FIFA Men’s World Cup Viewers Talk Far More About Advertisers and Sponsors

shutterstock_2187078117 With the FIFA Men’s World Cup finals coming up this Sunday, MediaPost recently reported that “through the quarterfinals round of the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar, an estimated $213.6 million in national TV advertising was placed on the Fox TV networks and NBCUniversal’s Telemundo channels” that resulted in a collective 8.4 billion impressions. As we’ve seen and evidenced, leveraging advertising and marketing to drive talkability is important because conversations among consumers drive about 19 percent of purchases, including conversations that are triggered by paid advertising—we find that one-quarter of the impact of advertising on sales occurs by causing consumers to talk about the brand. Engagement Labs data are shedding light on the importance of a special group of consumers: World Cup viewers. Around one-third of American consumers ages 13 to 69 reported watching any of the FIFA World Cup games through Sunday, December 4th. While over half of viewers report following the USA closely, around one-in-five Americans are closely following Argentina and Brazil, while just shy of 15% are behind England and Mexico. Slide1-Dec-15-2022-08-42-19-3680-PM As seen in our analysis prior to the World Cup, soccer fans are a lucrative group of consumers for brand marketers. So, it isn’t surprising that World Cup viewers:
  • Engage in 95 category conversations each week (33% more than non-viewers), with the biggest gaps seen in travel, sports, children’s products, technology, household products and personal care and beauty
  • Are 2.7x more likely to be everyday consumer influencers versus non-viewers
During the past couple weeks, these more prolific viewers have been exposed to World Cup advertisers and sponsors. In turn, we are seeing 40% of World Cup viewers engaging in conversation about at least one advertiser – a big +36% lift from non-viewers. World Cup sponsors also get a boost with 26% of viewers talking about a sponsor which is 25% higher than non-viewers. Slide2-Dec-15-2022-08-42-43-6870-PM Which advertisers and sponsors are the biggest winners in terms of conversation? There are a number of ways Engagement Labs can explore this. For one, we ask World Cup viewers to tell us which brands they recall seeing advertised during the World Cup. During the past couple weeks, Coke, Qatar Airways, Nike, McDonald’s, and Adidas top the list. Slide3-4 Another way to explore which brands are benefitting from the World Cup is to uncover which brands have the most conversation lift among viewers. During the first two weeks of the World Cup, New Balance,, Google Pixel, Gillette, Puma, Nike, Adidas and Doritos are seeing 50% or higher percentage difference between those watching as compared to the general public. Verizon, McDonald’s and Coke also have a strong increase, especially considering just how big these brands are in terms of conversation. Slide4-Dec-15-2022-08-43-52-6354-PM As the World Cup progresses during the next couple weeks, it will be interesting to see the shift in teams being followed and supported, as well as sponsors/advertisers discussed.  

Insights for Brands and Media: Sports Sponsorships, Super Bowl, NBA

As a marketer looking to grow and maximize your 2023, Engagement Labs has the data and insights to help you drive advocacy that will amplify your messages and accelerate sales. With sports top of mind, understanding the impact of consumer conversations on brands and advertising, here are some meaningful data and insights on sports sponsorships, sports fans and viewers and leagues. Each year, Engagement Labs studies the social media buzz and word of mouth lift associated with the Super Bowl. As we declared in Marketing Dive, that USA Today’s Ad Meter — the most widely used indicator of advertising success in the big game — “doesn’t work, and it is destined to fail again.” We based this on an extensive analysis of Super Bowl ad study published in the peer reviewed Journal of Advertising Research. In 2023, we foresee Super Bowl ads that drive the most offline and online social engagement – engagement that leads to proven business outcomes – are not the ones highly rated on the popularity charts. And similarly, the most popular ads measured by USA Today are often not achieving the highly important goal of creating the buzz that drives consumer behavior. For media and entertainment executives looking for insights and data sets to demonstrate the value of their audience and ads, Engagement Labs is able to analyze and provide data valuable for ad sales stories and influencer marketing across a range of advertiser categories. In 2018, AdAge featured Turner Sports collaboration with Engagement Labs to measure the value of out-of-home audiences for advertisers during NBA on TNT’s coverage. Out-of-home viewership produces an extra “social” value to advertisers. Some of our findings include:
  • Out-of-home NBA viewers delivered a 100% lift in purchase consideration of 9 sponsor brands over non-NBA viewers, compared to an 85% lift for in-home NBA viewers.
  • There was an increase of +125% in word-of-mouth volume about those same nine advertisers by out-of-home NBA viewers, compared to a 75% volume lift by in-home viewers over non-viewers.
  • In addition, NBA out-of-home viewers exhibited a 51% lift in ad recall over non-viewers, similar to the 49% lift achieved by in-home viewers.
  • According to Nielsen’s National Out-of-Home Reporting Service, during the 2018 NBA on TNT Western Conference Finals, out-of-home audiences delivered a +10.9% lift in adult 18-49 viewership (above and beyond in-home viewership), while adults 25-54 achieved a 10.1% lift. By measuring out-of-home viewing, advertisers are provided valuable incremental audiences beyond standard in-home viewing.
  If you’re in sports leagues, media measurement, ad sales, brand advertiser/sponsor, partner or executing campaigns around major sporting and tentpole events such as the Super Bowl, March Madness, NBA Playoffs, etc., Engagement Labs can provide unique data, influencer marketing and/or ad performance measurement. If you wish to learn more about your brand’s advertising and sponsorship investments are having on your brand consumer conversations or explore more about sports fans or other audience segments, we invite you to reach out to us.