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SpectrumInsight questions Thinkbox research claiming we'd be talking about ads "all the time" if the results were correct

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By Gillian West | Social media manager

March 22, 2013 | 2 min read

Social insight specialist SpectrumInsight has questioned research released by Thinkbox earlier in the week that revealed TV advertising was the single biggest driver of word of mouth claiming that if the results were correct “we’d all be having conversations about advertising pretty much all of the time”.

SpectrumInsight director Mark Westaby said of the ‘Paid, Owned, Earned: TV's Influence Calculated’ (POETIC) results: “The Thinkbox sample might look impressive but it’s tiny in the context of word of mouth.”

Westaby’s comments are based on “sample-based trackers” used by SpectrumInsight to “analyse millions of Twitter conversations”.

He adds: “We know from our findings that Twitter has become a good proxy for consumers' views and opinions, which clearly reflect offline word of mouth; and there's absolutely no way that advertising represents anything close to the volumes Thinkbox is implying. I've no doubt the research was thorough and the findings represent the sources on which they're based but the implication that this reflects overall word of mouth is very misleading.”

SpectrumInsight has asked Thinkbox to clarify its findings by reviewing what in the research is referred to as a ‘base level of heritage, market and seasonal factors’, Westaby says this is “absolutely crucial to determining the real impact of TV advertising on word of mouth”. Furthering SpectrumInsight knows from its own work that “this base level is a massive figure; and much, much higher than would appear to be the case in the Thinkbox study.

“As a result the overall percentage of word of mouth driven by TV advertising will actually be very much smaller than Thinkbox is suggesting.”

Updated: A response by Thinkbox outlining the purpose and thinking behind the research can be viewed in the comment section below.

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