Social Media


Social Media has become the most common Internet based activity and has fundamentally changed the way in which we interact with and consume media. At the core of Social Media is a connected based on sharing by personal referral; sharing of information, photos, opinions, entertainment and news. For marketers, such sharing provides an unparalleled opportunity to disseminate information to vast communities, to now spread a message to literally hundreds of thousands of potential brand buyers in a matter of days, without the traditional mass media costs.

Key Findings

  • Facebook fan base gives a brand poor access to its many lighter buyers.
  • High arousal emotional responses most stimulate sharing, in particular hilarity and anger. So it is content that makes us laugh or cry, not just merely smile or frown, that triggers sharing.
  • Positive emotions on average do better than negative emotions at stimulating sharing. While anger is an exception (in that it is a negative emotion associated with high rates of sharing) it appears very difficult to create content that elicits this emotion.
  • Other negative emotional responses such as shock and disgust appear far less likely to stimulate sharing. By far the most commonly elicited emotional responses were amusement and boredom – but these videos really don’t get shared.
  • For marketers with brand growth (or even maintenance) objectives, the quality of social media’s reach is disappointing.
  • The Facebook fan base is different to traditional media audiences because it misses out on light and non-buyers.
  • Even with an increasing popularity and ease of liking in recent years, brands’ Facebook pages continue to attract mostly heavy buyers of the brand.

Best Practice

  • Marketers should be careful not to over-invest in small groups of heavy buyers and must be careful of overinvestments in ‘earned media’.
  • Media that skews towards heavy buyers is of lower value and should command lower Cost Per Thousand (CPMs)
  • To increase chances of viral sharing aim for content that causes a marked physiological response (i.e. it makes people laugh or perhaps cry) – don’t simply amuse (or worse, at all costs don’t bore) them.