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    Social Media Can Increase Sales, Study Finds

     Popular websites are also said to be effective when used with other types of advertising.

    NEW YORK -- Consumers exposed to social media are much more likely to increase the amount of money they spend at quick-service restaurants (QSRs), according to a study conducted by Ogilvy and ChatThreads between January and May.

    The study compared those who view social media sites, as well as other forms of publicity for a brand, to people who have no exposure at all. The results, released today, show that consumers who viewed social media pages for Kentucky Fried Chicken were seven times more likely to spend more money at its stores.

    Consumers who observed social media plus outdoor billboards were approximately two times more likely to spend or consume more among the entire QSR group studied. People who viewed social media pages plus television advertisements were also two times more likely to consume more at a Wendy's restaurant. And those who were exposed to social media websites plus news stories or editorials were 17 percent more likely to spend more money week over week among all QSRs.

    "Much of the work to date has looked at direct channel impacts; for example, do direct clicks from a social media site result in sales?" said Irfan Kamal, senior vice president, Digital/Social, for Ogilvy. "This study attempts to understand the more complex factors that lead to consumer purchase changes. We've found that in the real world, social media exposure -- by itself and more broadly when combined with other types of media exposure such as out-of-home, PR or TV ads -- is linked with a two- to seven-time higher likelihood of consumption and actual spending increases for some QSR brands."

    Dr. Walter Carl, ChatThreads founder and chief research officer, added: "Because we captured detailed touchpoint data in the moment from the consumer's point of view, we were able to track day-to-day brand exposures and assess the complex interaction effects of the various media and marketing initiatives."

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