4 Studies on Social Media and Branding

Empirical, statistical, reliable, causal, there many phrases to attach to  research that is done for industry and scholarship. I’m attaching definitive, questionable, advertising, digital, pay-per-click, SEO, and social media to the list gathered below. I wanted to share, and dissect a little, of the studies I found in the past week or two.

Study #1 – Branding Forward Project with Fast Company and Mechanica

Study #2 – Think Insights with Google

Study #3 – UMass Dartmouth’s 2011 Fortune 500 Social Media Adoption

Study #4 – State of Digital Marketing Report  by Webmarketing 1 | 2 | 3

The Branding Forward Project

An on-going research project formed through the partnership of Fast Company and Mechanica, the Branding Forward Project aims to unravel the mystery behind the emerging field social media and it’s impact on the advertising, public relations, and related industries. The project is designed to investigate “…the challenges and opportunities faced by those on today’s branding frontlines, and the tools and approaches being considered and leveraged. The study reveals a branding world that is undergoing a very real, and often polarizing, transition.”

Chart 4
The Branding Forward Project takes a look at the revolutionary impact of social media on brands, ad agencies, and business in general.

The branding forward project is about creating a set of standard benchmarks to gauge new marketing efforts against. It’s an interactive project allowing users to comment, download, and share the material found. Most of what the branding forward project offer is likely best applied by ad agencies and branding boutiques that serve medium to large sized businesses. Albeit, the concept is an interesting one and one that not only remind us of the impact that social media has had on businesses of all sizes, it too offers a framework not unlike the next research project below.

Think Insights with Google

Certainly one of the more interactive and interesting (to me) studies is that of Google’s Think Insights with Google. Listed on the Official Google Blog as ‘out of beta’ Think Insights provides areas of Research Library, Planning Tools, and Facts and Stats to name a few.

The Real-time Insights Finder, in the planning tools section, allows one to access the deep pools of data available to Google by performing (surprise) searches for things like “How are people searching?”, “What are people looking for?”, and “Where are people clicking?”.

Overall  this project – today – feels big on wow, but a little thin on targeted, meaningful data. There are links to various studies, along with tools to find targeted data, and that is a good start. Insight’s needs to continue to grow. It does feel like a ‘project’ in the sense that it could (and likely will) grow. Adding more data, more links to search will make Think Insights with Google more of a useful tool and less of a showy whirly-do.

2011 Fortune 500 Social Media Adoption

I found this study via Twitter with the question, Has Social Media Adoption Hit a Plateau? Linking to a Marketing Pilgrim post the Dartmouth study, entitled Study: Fortune 500 Usage Leveling Off, presents some interesting information. Conducted with the rigor of a peer-reviewed journal, the U-Mass Dartmouth 2011 Fortune 500 Social Media Adoption tracks the pick up of corporate blogs, twitter accounts, and Facebook pages among the world’s biggest corporations (some of which, interestingly enough, represent economies larger than some nations).

Fortune 500 2011
Datmuth's study reveals a leveling off of social media adoption among F500 companies.

In their words, the author’s conclude:

The adoption of blogs, Twitter and Facebook in the 2011 F500 appears to have leveled off with no significant change in the past year. Twenty-three percent (114) of the 2011 F500 have corporate public-facing blogs. There has been a slight increase in both Twitter use (60% in 2010, 62% in 2011) and use of Facebook (56% in 2010, 58% in 2011).

2011 State of Digital Marketing Report from Webmarketing 1 | 2 | 3

Found in Search Engine Land this study boasts of big things, but should be read with some reserve.

In short, 500 plus marketing departments (2/3s B2B; and 1/3 B2C) were polled on (1) where their money is being spent, and (2) what they are having the most impact with among PPC, SEO, and Social Media Marketing. Oddly, the connection between money spent and impact felt is never discussed.

Moreover, accessing the 2011 State of Digital Marketing Report requires sign up via landing page and information capture system. This whole things smacks of the standard ‘business practice’ of hiring a firm to conduct a – valid – research projecct, then using it as a vehicle for gaining leads. All-in-all Webmarketing’s 2011 State of Digital Marketing Report isn’t a bad study. Much of the data and the means for gathering it are quite believable and timely. The, albeit a little over the top, telling or should I say selling of the report is my only beef with it. Otherwise, the information is compelling, presented well, and an interesting cross-section of important Internet industries.

I am interested to know what you think of these studies. If you have comments, or would like to share other studies that you have found, please use the comment box below. …. And, thanks for reading!

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