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Publicis Media & Twitter study reveals social brand conversation is ‘the new review’

Publicis Media and Twitter recently collaborated on a research study – #LetsTalkShop – to understand how brand conversations on social impact consumer decision making and sales. This study surveyed 9,600 consumers on six platforms across the US, UK, India and Mexico.

Coming out of that research, a number of findings were uncovered that point to the power of social brand conversation.

Social brand conversation is “the new review”

  • 92% of people surveyed actively seek out comments about brands, products, or services on social media. 
  • 68% said their impression of a brand was changed as a result of experiencing brand conversation. 
  • More than half of shoppers consider brand conversation on social more or as impactful as traditional reviews. 

In a blog, ‘#LetsTalkShop: How brand conversation powers shopping’, Twitter's Taylor Evans and Mike Yagi noted that shopping has always been a social experience. From hitting the mall with friends as a teen to asking officemates for recommendations — we all seek validation of our choices. And who hasn’t texted their bestie a photo from a store asking, “Should I get it?”

So, it’s no surprise community building and shopping were some of the first behaviors on the nascent internet. And today, online brand conversation is a trusted, everyday part of the shopping process.

In the new Publicis + Twitter study “#LetsTalkShop,” 92% of people surveyed actively seek out comments about brands, products, or services on social. More importantly, 68% said their impression of a brand was changed as a result of experiencing brand conversation.

Trust plays a major role. People surveyed consider 3 in 4 brand conversations to be authentic. In fact, for the majority of shoppers, these spontaneous conversations are as — if not more — impactful on purchase decisions as traditional reviews. So yes, talk matters.

Notably, of brand conversations recalled, 81% involved brands or people shoppers don’t know personally. Which means they’re thinking outside their bubbles and broadening their spheres of influence. So there’s always an opportunity for your business to participate. Be active, not absent, and reap the benefits.

Get them talking (and listening) early and often

  • 71% of people surveyed felt they are more likely to consider brand conversations before a purchase journey begins.
  • While the data shows the influence of brand conversation is high before or early in a purchase journey, it decays over time - meaning always-on engagement is key and can even kick-start buying decisions. 

The study also found conversation is most impactful early in the purchase journey, which suggests people may be more impressionable well before they’ve even figured out their consideration set.

Still, the research goes on to explain that brand conversation — whether brand or shopper initiated — can significantly impact purchase consideration at any point in the purchase journey. This isn’t surprising given how people shop today, gathering new inputs right up to the moment they buy.

There’s a catch though. While the data shows the influence of conversation is immediate, the impact on brand impression and consideration decays over time, particularly after the first week. So it pays to show up — in your actions and advertising — in ways that help you stay talked about.

An always-on strategy can help brands engage customers regardless of where they are in their purchase journey and can even kick start buying decisions.

Content and sentiment matter

  • 86% of “very positive” conversations are considered memorable by respondents, whereas only 49% of “very negative” conversations are considered memorable. 
  • 3 in 4 brand conversations result in more positive brand sentiment. 

Brand conversation on Twitter drives people to buy

  • 60% of purchasers who recalled a conversation on Twitter said it made them much more likely to consider the product they bought.

Tanmay Mohanty, CEO, Publicis Media Services India, said, “In a world where interaction, opinion and communication are vital, this is the reason social media platforms are still seeing growth and are able to influence and shape consumer views and decisions. This groundbreaking study with Twitter illuminates how consumers actively seek opinion on brands on social platforms, and how social chatter can influence decision-making and purchase and build trust and popularity for brands.”

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