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New study suggests integrated social media drives sales

14 June, 2011

Broadest Impact When Social Media Is Combined with Other Media Such as Out-of-Home, PR and TV

NEW YORK — According to preview results from a new study of quick service restaurant (QSR) consumers, individuals exposed to social media are significantly more likely to increase their spending and consumption than those who aren’t exposed. The impact was most pervasive when social media was combined with other types of media. The Integrated Social Media Sales Impact study is from Ogilvy and ChatThreads and was conducted between January and May 2011.

Compared to unexposed individuals, people exposed to the following brand media touchpoints were much more likely to have increased their spending or consumption than others:

- Social media only exposure: 7x greater likelihood of higher spend (observed for KFC)
- Social media PLUS billboard ads (out of home): Approximately 2x greater likelihood of higher spend or consumption (observed for the entire QSR category in aggregate)
- Social media PLUS TV ads: 2x greater likelihood of higher consumption (observed for Wendy’s)
- People exposed to social media PLUS news stories or editorials spent 17% more week-over-week (observed for the QSR category)

According to Irfan Kamal, SVP Digital/Social, Ogilvy, “Much of the work to date has looked at direct channel impacts; for example, do direct clicks from a social media site result in sales? This study attempts to understand the more complex factors that lead to consumer purchase changes. We’ve found that in the real world, social media exposure - by itself and more broadly when combined with other types of media exposure such as out-of-home, PR or TV ads - is linked with 2-7x higher likelihood of consumption and actual spend increases for some QSR brands.”

Dr. Walter Carl, ChatThreads Founder and Chief Research Officer, adds: “Because we captured detailed touchpoint data in the moment from the consumer’s point of view we were able to track day-to-day brand exposures and assess the complex interaction effects of the various media and marketing initiatives.”

The findings were previewed for the first time today at the Advertising Research Foundation’s Audience Measurement 6. Full results will be available in July 2011. A summary of the findings is at:  

The study recruited 404 individuals to use the ChatThreads BrandEncounter™ platform in reporting their real-time exposure to 21 different brand “touchpoints” across five QSR brands: KFC, McDonalds, Subway, Taco Bell and Wendy’s. The study ran in 2 segments between 1/20/11 and 5/6/11. A total of 5,623 touchpoints were reported by participating consumers. Participants were pre-screened for QSR favorability and social media activity within the past week.

About Ogilvy & Mather
Ogilvy & Mather is one of the largest marketing communications companies in the world. Through its specialty units, the company provides a comprehensive range of marketing services including: advertising; public relations and public affairs; branding and identity; shopper and retail marketing; healthcare communications; direct, digital, promotion and relationship marketing. Ogilvy & Mather services Fortune Global 500 companies as well as local businesses through its network of more than 450 offices in 120 countries. It is a WPP company (NASDAQ: WPPGY). For more information, visit  

About ChatThreads
ChatThreads tracks how, when and where consumers come into contact with brands in real-time, and analyzes how these encounters impact brand affinity and purchase behavior. ChatThreads believes the most important impressions are real impressions - what the consumer actually notices. These touchpoints are tracked using ChatThreads’ BrandEncounters™ Platform. ChatThreads clients include leading brands and their agency partners including Coke, Frito-Lay, Hamilton Beach, illy, Kraft, Microsoft, BzzAgent and House Party. For more information, visit our Web site at  

Rachel Ufer
+1 (312) 397-6050

Laurie Cohn
+1 (617) 209-4298

Acrobat Document ogilvy_pressrelease_social_jun11_guid70d70075f74c4.pdf

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