"A Coca-Cola Co. study finds online buzz has no measurable impact on short-term sales, but online display ads work about as well as TV, said a company executive in a presentation at the Advertising Research Foundation's Re:think 2013 conference in New York today.
It's a stunning admission for a company who's flagship brand has 61.5 million fans, more than any other brand on Facebook. But Eric Schmidt, senior manager-marketing strategy and insights at Coca-Cola, isn't giving up on buzz just yet. And he cautioned against reading too much into the research, noting that it covers only buzz, not sharing, video views or other aspects of social media.
But when Coca-Cola put buzz sentiment data into the same analytical framework it uses to evaluate other digital media, Mr. Schmidt said, "We didn't see any statistically significant relationship between our buzz and our short-term sales."
Now Mr. Schmidt said Coke is looking to refine how it measures buzz, for example by getting a better idea of how many people buzz actually reaches rather than just counting the raw publicly available comments from such sources as Facebook, Twitter, blogs and YouTube.
Coke research was far more favorable for digital display advertising, which it found on average to be 90% as effective as TV at generating sales on a per-impression basis, Mr. Schmidt said. Search was 50% as effective as TV – about the same as out-of-home – with radio coming in between TV and search and print scoring slightly more effective than TV."