Do larger advertising budgets buy brands goodwill and more mentions on Twitter? An empirical study from search marketing agency Covario scheduled for release this week aims to answer that question through a software reporting platform called Social Media Insight.
Covario built out the platform last summer to help Sony Pictures Entertainment. Now, it's working overtime monitoring buzz, not only around theatrical releases, but other product launches, too.
The social study analyzes the top global advertisers by total media and digital spend.
Keywords, the terms typically used in search-marketing campaigns, feed into the platform to provide a starting point. Covario analyzes the sentiment of brand terms across social-media sites, both positive or negative, to create a score, according to Covario CMO Craig Macdonald.
Mining the data from the Social Media Insight platform, Macdonald conducted a statistical analysis to determine how expenditure levels correlate to buzz. He found a direct correlation to the amount that companies spent on digital advertising and the amount they are discussed on Twitter, but not related to the total amount they spend on advertising. This means people don't react to increases in the amount brands spend on TV or radio or billboard advertising, but in terms of social media.
"It's interesting that this analysis shows you really can't buy sentiment in traditional advertising, you have to build and create it through other factors, such as social media and creative pieces that resonate with consumers," Macdonald says. "I'm speculating that the creative pieces created sentiment. I don't have any specific data to back that up."
Most major advertisers monitor buzz about their brands consistently. Covario ranked the top advertisers on the buzz about their brands, as measured by consumer tweets during the first seven weeks of 2011. The findings suggest "everyone hates the phone company."
Telecommunications companies that Covario analyzed scored the lowest on average when it came to overall industry sentiment. The beverage industry experienced the highest buzz of the verticals markets evaluated.
Among the best-loved brands on Twitter that Covario supports: Kohl's Department Store, followed by Berkshire Hathaway, Coca-Cola, Hershey's Chocolate, Qwest, and The Walt Disney Co., Campbell Soup, Lowe's, General Mills, Nissan, Mattel, Mitsubishi, Sears, Unilever, Macy's and American Express.
The study finds "zero statistical correlation between media expenditures, either total or digital, and brand sentiment." The creative-feel and message-look drives positive buzz around a brand, along with how companies spend ad budgets. Apparently, "money doesn't buy love," Macdonald says. "It takes creativity and relevance."