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Originally published in MediaPost

Social media created a lot of buzz and controversy in the past several years. But the main question remains: “Does it have an impact on sales?” And what effect does it have of marketing?


Two studies that were done this year aim to answer this question.


According to Ogilvy’s recent study “Does investing in social media create business value?” social media does indeed has a strong impact on sales as well as brand perception.

Main points of the study:


–          Social media exposure is directly linked with increases in sales. Integrated social media (social content + one or more channels) exposure is linked with significant increases in spend and consumption – for example, social media + PR exposure was associated with a 17% spend increase compared to the prior time period without these.

  • People who were exposed to social media + PR increased their spending by 17% over the previous time period
  • People who were exposed to social media + TV were twice as likely to buy
  • People who were exposed to social media were 7 times more likely to spend more
  • Social media + OOH exposure was linked to 1.5X higher likelihood of increase in spend
  • Exposure to multiple channels was most often associated with sales impact

–          Integration matters. Exposure to social content was most consistently effective when it was combined with exposure to other types of media channels.

–          Social media is the top driver of impact. Out of 20 channels analyzed, social media was number 1 or number 2 in magnitude of impact on spend and consumption.

–          Social media exposure is directly linked with changes in brand perception. Social media by itself is particularly effective and appears strongest at rapidly impacting brand perception.


As marketers we consistently ask ourselves what value social media brings to us internally. According to eMarketer, recent study by CMO Council and social CRM firm Lithium aimed to answer those questions.

The study found that in addition to building loyalty among customers, social media outreach has influenced marketing operations. Of those marketers surveyed, 55% said social media improved customer listening, engagement and conversations, and another 55% said it opened new avenues to gather and further market insights. 5% said it helped lower the cost of customer service.


I believe that social media done right does have a big positive impact on business value as well as help marketers build meaningful approach to relationship-building with their customers.


There are two sides to the ROI. The hard numbers in one.  And if you measure it right you will see increase in sales through social media like Dell saw on their @DellOutlet account or reduction in cost like multiple brands are seeing as they introduce blogs and communities that help answer questions with higher accuracy than your customer service every could. But there is also the soft side to it. And even though that is where the value is very hard to measure this is the most important, the most emotional, the most lasting attachment you as a marketer can help build for your brand.


Operationally I believe that social brings enormous amount of value to us marketers. Besides the reasons listed above, it also helps change our sometimes ‘drive-by’ thinking and allows us to focus on building long-term relationships. At the same time it urges us to shift to agile, real-time marketing. In the new social economy the best marketers are those who are not spending more than 3-4 weeks to build a campaign and are savvy enough to take advantage of hot trends and opportunistic approaches. In this day and age successful marketers are also those who are not afraid to reach into the wisdom of the crowd and co-create their brands together with their customers.


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10 Responses to “Social Media Impact on Business Value and Marketing Operations [Studies]”

  1. Gina says:

    Excellent post, Ekaterina and I’m so thankful for you pulling together these studies that support the case for an ROI from social media efforts. Too many brands have jumped into social media efforts not expecting a direct impact on sales and therefore not measuring their efforts beyond fan, friend or follower counts. There indeed is a direct correlation and it’s critical that marketers use the tools available to them to evaluate and analyze the results of their efforts.

  2. Poppy says:

    Nice post although my experiances would have me challenge this quite aggressivly. There are too many general studies in this area and every niche behaves in a different way. Someone selling womans shoes might see an upturn of 20% on sales if they can get exposure on a social media channel but if you are selling boring workplace products then the upturn is probably going to be non-existant!
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  3. Helen says:

    I have just finished reading a study called 99% of Facebook fans are useless!

    I think that all the studies done in this area are usually done by people who have already taken a side and want to prove their point rather than by someone who is really interested in finding out how effective something is, this makes the research questionable I think. always look at who funded it and who carried it out, also when you look at the people who responded would it make them look silly if they responded in a way that was not as they did?
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  4. Audrey says:

    I do agree that social media contributed a huge thing for making the world of marketing more interesting and productive, and I expect some more from it…
    Audrey recently posted..Huile de bronzage banana boat – J’adoreMy Profile

  5. Liz says:

    Social media has a huge impact in business. Doing marketing using social media is fast and easy. Now a days, people used this in making money and exploring.
    Liz recently posted..Hcg diet reviewsMy Profile

  6. lariane says:

    Social media strategy is one of the effective in marketing. This blog is perfect for a newly business woman like me. Thanks that you’ve shared.
    lariane recently posted..How to Make a Solar PanelMy Profile

  7. Florence18Moore says:

    Social media bring it on the possible things in the field of marketing, it provides a huge help to gather fresh ideas to have a well productive stuff…
    Florence18Moore recently posted..HostGator SEO Hosting – What Are The Benefits?My Profile

  8. Rita Kunnan says:

    Hey Ekaterina,
    Good post, great stats. Social Media can actually play a huge role in creating brand awareness among the masses. It really helps to engage customers and thus presents great opportunity to build a good base of loyal customers in the long run.
    Rita Kunnan recently posted..Bluehost 3.95My Profile

  9. Wendy says:

    Use both, and find out where you get the best responses from.
    I have heard that twitter is the way to go, but I enjoy reading facebook better – it is easier for me to follow.
    Wendy recently posted..inquiryMy Profile

  10. STEVE says:

    It surprises me that there is still so much ‘push back’ about Social Media. It’s almost as if if the marketing you are doing isn’t getting immediate results, it isn’t worth doing. there is no idea of setting up a relationship in order to have them follow and trust you.
    STEVE recently posted..Sustainable MovingMy Profile

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