CBS Research: TV Drives WOM In Digital World

Much has been made about TV driving online social media interaction. But what about the traditional tell-your-neighbor stuff? In industry argot, it’s word of mouth (WOM), and new CBS research shows TV and paid advertising in other media -– in a world where fewer people seemingly talk to each other offline –- still generate significant conversation.   

Offering perhaps the same conclusion he would have 50 years ago, Brad Fay, COO of the Keller Fay Group -- which conducted the research for CBS -- said: “Word of mouth and advertising actually go hand-in-hand together. They work together fabulously well.”

The research showed that in 20% of word-of-mouth conversations about specific brands, a person refers to paid advertising. Furthermore, among media trendsetters, which is one of six population segments CBS has identified, 45% mention paid advertising across multiple media when discussing brands, and TV ads 27% of the time.



A media trendsetter is identified as an “urban, multicultural social diffuser.”

The Keller Fay research was generated from 7,000 consumer interviews and looked at other population segments, such as “program passionate” (younger, upscale women, prone to time-shifted viewing) and sports enthusiasts, as well as brands in specific categories.

Fay, who with partner Ed Keller has a new book coming out about traditional WOM in a digital world, spoke at a presentation at the Advertising Research Foundation Monday.

He was followed by CBS Chief Research Officer David Poltrack, who provided an update on a project CBS has been undertaking with Nielsen Catalina Solutions. The groups have developed a tool (volumetrics) to gauge links between media exposure and product purchasing. 

Poltrack has been urging the industry to move away from using age and gender as “surrogates” for targeting and to rely more on consumer behavior to “enable advertisers to use (TV) more effectively, thereby enhancing the value of the medium for them.”

Volumetrics can allow marketers to identify shows with higher concentrations of potential purchasers -- and, when adding in the price of an ad, increase efficiency more.   

Nielsen Catalina recently tested whether a non-alcoholic beverage advertiser achieved more effectiveness with ads in CBS drama “The Good Wife” compared with overall results for the campaign. Results found the “Good Wife” ads brought a sales lift that was almost three times the average. 

The researchers determined that the CBS show benefited from reaching a significant number of upscale females who tend to be loyal purchasers of premium products and usually  pay full price versus searching for deals.

CBS, Poltrack said, will be underwriting volumetrics research in 20 consumer packaged goods categories over the next few months that it hopes to make available to potential clients in the coming upfront market.   

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