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A new Ogilvy research study suggests that up to 80% of reach from marketing campaigns now comes from social media amplification through consumer influence and advocacy.

However, few are doing it well!

Positive advocacy mentions represented just 15% of all brand mentions, with the remainder being either neutral or negative mentions. However, when the company dove deeper into specific industries, they found huge opportunities. For example, in the US hotel category, they found less than 1 positive mention per 100 stays. With some of the studied hotels reporting guest satisfaction scores of 80% or more, there is clearly a large social advocacy gap: the vast majority of people satisfied with their experience aren’t advocating online.

Ogilvy analyzed 7 million brand social mentions across 4 countries (Brazil, China, UK, US) and 22 brands to find the key drivers of advocacy. These included:

  • Product features trump emotion in advocacy mentions
  • Advocacy can occur anywhere. No category is boring.
  • China boasts the highest level of consumer brand advocacy (by far)
  • For most brands, the majority of mentions were embedded in casual consumer conversations.

The study also included ways that brands are successfully enabling advocacy:

  • To drive passionate advocacy, brands have to know and focus on their fans’ true advocacy (not satisfaction) inspirations.
    For example, using tools that help identify “clusters” of discussion, Ogilvy noticed that Holiday Inn’s breakfast tends to drive more advocacy than its peers; in comparison, Kimpton’s bars are more often cited than those of other brands. This data can be useful as the inspiration point for creative/campaign messaging – more deeply, these insights can be used to inform changes in messaging and even products.
  • Identify and use the brand’s differentiated advocacy drivers.  Brands have different strengths like product features, value, and customer service.
  • Enable advocacy everywhere. To drive amplification, make it easy for consumers to share at any brand touchpoint. To stoke consumer passion, reward consumers who share the most. To improve reach, use a variety of touchpoints such as influencer marketing, paid ads, and social content.
  • Move beyond sentiment analysis. Create and monitor advocacy-based metrics and tie them to marketing tactics.   

It would appear that there is a huge opportunity for brands to encourage consumer buzz. Considering advocacy levels as a metric could be another interesting measurement on your social media dashboard. What are your thoughts on this research?

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