It has always been presumed by marketers that consumers respond more favourably to shared content than to paid advertisements. This line of thinking is quite natural, as we intuitively know that content endorsed by one’s peers or communities will have greater impact on a person’s perceptions of a brand, but no empirical evidence of this has been seen previously.
General Electric has conducted a study to measure this difference and gain insights from the results. They used the website Buzzfeed to distribute ‘The GE Show‘ video both by paid placements and by sharing. The testing was done by digital-advertising measurement firm Vizu, and the objective was to define how attitudes changed depending on the mode by which someone was exposed to the campaign.
The results clearly showed that people who came across the campaign via sharing had a significantly bigger lift in positive attitudes toward GE than people who came across it via paid placements.
- The testing was done by means of an online survey, wherein consumers were asked to answer the question ‘What comes to mind when you think of General Electric (GE)?’
- The responses to the survey were filtered according to whether they had been exposed to the content via sharing, via paid advertisements, or had not been exposed at all.
- Overall, 42% of the responses about GE by people who had not seen the campaign were positive, as compared to 55% by people who had seen paid advertisements and 77% by people who had been exposed to it via sharing.
Paul Marcum, director of global digital marketing and programming at GE, was interested in quantifying the difference in attitudes towards the brand, and said that for GE, the study was a lesson on “the value of advocacy, and that absolutely will inform marketing decisions.”
He acknowledged that it’s hard to get exposure via sharing without having sponsored advertisements in the first place and said that marketers need to increase that, and hope that peer-sharing goes up along with it.
Different sharing platforms thus have their own advantages and disadvantages here, depending on the user-base, and the methods and extent of sharing that happens.
Tell us – what methods of sharing content with consumers have worked best for you?