What the Changing Role of Social-Media Influence Means for Brands


CivicScience posed a question “Which of these (TV ads, social media ads, and Internet ads) do you believe has the most influence on what you buy, where you eat, or the movies or TV shows you watch?” to over 170,000 U.S. adults over a 24-month period, via polls running on hundreds on publisher websites. The result of this survey showed two main trends:

  1. TV’s influence on consumer behavior is shrinking
  2. Social media chatter shows strong influence

Moreover, the demographic characteristics of the group who are most influenced by TV advertisers are more “traditional”: they tend to be over age 45, watch more than 4 hours of TV daily, prefer traditional communication methods (phone calls), and do their majority of shopping in stores.

In contrast, the segment which says they’re influenced the most by social media comments has a slight female skew; they are more likely to be 18- to 29-years old; say they’re addicted to digital devices; and favor watching TV via DVRs. This is the group that advertisers need to focus on because these consumers pay close attention to peer recommendations, and sharing is only a click away.

However, this trend doesn’t lead to proclamations of an inevitable demise of TV advertising or doom for Internet advertising. Instead, as marketers, we have to better understand the segments which think they are influenced by TV and Internet ads the most, and develop appropriate strategies for these groups respectively. We cannot rely on social media solely, although it shows a very strong influence, we have to combine different media vehicles.

Here are two questions to consider:

  1. The influence of Internet ads increased slightly, but still very low. Why is it? In your opinion, what are the advantages and disadvantages of Internet ads?
  2. What are the characteristics of the products which you think should advise on social media?

Links to the articles:



Hansen Yang


3 thoughts on “What the Changing Role of Social-Media Influence Means for Brands

  1. I think people are still getting used to Internet ads. TV commercials have been around a long time so people are used to them. Internet ads are still relatively new. Over the next 5 years, as people expect to see Internet ads everywhere, I think their influence will increase.

    I also think every product should have some social media presence. The future of advertising will mainly consist of social media. Companies should not wait to join social media because they will risk being far behind its competitors.

    • Hi! Thank you for your reply! I agree with you that the influence of Internet ads will increase. Although sometimes people may feel annoying about the ads when they surfing the Internet, we have to say that Internet ads are getting more and more precise and useful now because of data. But I also think Internet ads have a long way to go because people concern about their personal data now and currently the “intelligence” of Internet ads is relatively low.

  2. In spite of statistics that may indicate that individuals are consuming video content more on their mobile devices than their televisions, TV’s are a mainstay in most American homes. Arguably, most Americans watch television while on a laptop, or mobile device. It is for this reason that television advertising spending must remain at historical levels if not increase. Internet advertisement, for the most part, are very easy to bypass, unlike television ads. Even if you were to watch a particular show using your DVR, there is still a minimal amount of ads that you have to watch, that cannot be fast forwarded.

    Characteristics of products that should be advertised through social media channels are any that offer something unique. I don’t believe that common household goods would be best served by investing all of their marketing budget to social media. However, specialty products that may appeal to a certain community, might be a better choice. An example of this is perhaps a particular type of children’s toy that doubles as a learning device. The community to target with this product are young mothers who might share this advertisement with one another.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s