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Can We Talk for a Minute?

A recent study conducted by Engagement Labs in partnership with Northeastern University marketing professor Koen Pauwels has shown a connection between consumer conversation and sales. The research found that 19 percent of all consumer purchases are driven by conversation. Might not seem like a large percentage—but it actually equates to between $7 trillion and $10 trillion in annual US spending.

According to an AdWeek article covering the research, “The study used sophisticated market mix modeling based on weekly brand-level data for consumer conversation, ad spending and sales. It included 170 brands in the first stage of the project and ultimately built full mix models for 21 brands as diverse as Toshiba, Pepsi, Dove and Bud Light.”

But the study also found that paid advertising does a good job in the beginning of the buying cycle—awareness and consideration—and stimulates conversation but struggles to close the deal. The opportunity: one quarter of sales impact is attributable to conversation both online and offline, translating to $50 billion in value in the US.

So, what can you do to make your ads spark conversation? Here are a few ideas:

• Make starting conversations a goal of your next campaign: Regardless of whether you are working with an agency, a tech provider or both, marry your creative and media goals to focus on stimulating conversation. This can start with measuring to brand lift, through brand recall and favorability, not clicks. This will tell you if your ads prompted changes in how people interact with your brand. You can also measure for share of voice for certain keywords and topics on social media.

• Choose the formats that best evoke emotion: Branding ads, particularly through formats like video, have a great opportunity to emotionally connect based on your brand’s value prop, charity efforts, services and more. Brands often struggle with access to good video inventory and the cost of producing high-quality video, but there are partners who can help you access premium supply that gets your message across in an impactful way.

• Plan to amplify across other channels to key influencers: Social is one of your biggest tools for bringing conversations from other channels to a wider audience. With social’s natural complement to both mobile and video, you can easily create omnichannel campaigns and related assets that bring the story to a new level and encourage chatter via hashtags, RTs and comments among influencers.

Don’t make forgettable ads. Strive in your next campaign to start a dialogue that just might get you a sale. And speaking of talking, get in touch with us at so we can start a conversation about how to give you the service and performance you need in your next marketing campaign.

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