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New Study Shows Digital Advertising Significantly Drives More Brand Word Of Mouth And Conversation Than Social Advertising On Facebook

First of Its Kind Study By Engagement Labs Examines Digital Versus Social Ad Performance of Ten Leading Consumer Brands

Engagement Labs released the findings of a study on digital advertising compared to social advertising on Facebook. The study, commissioned by G/O Media, showed that digital display ads contribute significantly more than Facebook to both offline and online volume of conversations for marketers. The study went deep into specific marketers in two big spending categories and for every tech and beverage brand in the study the results were clear. The technology and beverage industries were chosen based on their two distinct consumer purchasing mindsets and digital/social advertising spend.

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G/O Media specifically sought to understand the role of paid social vs. digital display advertising and ascertain which has the greater ability to drive people to share online and talk offline. The overall project goal was to determine the impact of advertiser investment in digital paid media (display, online video, mobile app, mobile web video) vs paid Facebook advertising in driving offline conversations and online mentions. The analysis was undertaken for ten leading brands, five each in the tech and beverage categories.

The surprising findings found that the contribution from digital advertising to the average tech brand’s offline conversations is 15.8% vs 3.3% for paid social on Facebook. Online, the average tech brand has an 8.3% contribution from digital and 1.9% from paid social. In the beverage category, the average brand has a 9.6% contribution from digital advertising on offline conversation vs 2.4% from paid social. Online, the average beverage brand has an 8.3% contribution from digital and 1.7% from paid social.

The study also found that digital display media is highly effective at both online and offline performance for brands. This means the digital advertising that consumers engage with isn’t siloed to the online space – it also impacts face-to-face and other offline conversations.

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The third key finding from the study is the superior ROI from digital display vs. paid social on Facebook in terms of ability to drive offline and online conversations. The study looked at what is the value of an additional dollar of digital advertising vs paid social media on Facebook on increased offline and online conversations and finds that digital ads have a higher estimated ROI than paid social for both offline and online. This was true for both categories.

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“There are a lot of assumptions made when it comes to social influence and what sparks it, but too often those assumptions lack empirical evidence. One of them is understanding what drives people to talk about brands, both online and offline. We are pleased to have partnered with G/O Media to bring this first of its kind analytical insight to the advertising community,” said Ed Keller, CEO of Engagement Labs. “Knowing where to invest to drive social influence can make a big difference and a much-needed competitive edge for brands to prosper in a marketplace that is increasingly driven by consumer conversation and recommendations.”

“Word of mouth is essential to any successful marketing effort. For several years the perception balance has been tipped in favor of platforms where scale is massive but attention is limited,” said David Spiegel, Chief Revenue Officer of G/O Media. “Combining user attention with contextual relevance has always been a strong driver of ad effectiveness and that is what publishers offer marketers. This study confirms the enduring value proposition of digital display advertising in driving both brand conversation and positive business outcomes.”PREDICTIONS-SERIES-2022

The analysis is based on syndicated online and offline consumer conversation tracking from Engagement Labs over the period from January 2018 – May 2021, with media expenditure data that Engagement Labs procured from Kantar Media. Analytical modeling was conducted by Engagement Labs.

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