#LetsTalkShop: How brand conversation powers shopping

A new Publicis + Twitter study asks the big question: Does talk sell?

Shopping is a hot topic in the social space, with over 56 billion impressions1 on Twitter alone last year. But how much does talking about brands and products actually impact sales? And how do businesses tap into this power? To find out, we teamed with Publicis to study 9,600 consumers on six leading social platforms2 across the US, the UK, India, and Mexico. So, what’d we learn? Let’s talk shop.

Social brand conversation is “the new review”

Shopping has always been a social experience. From hitting the mall with friends as a teen to asking officemates for recommendations — we all seek validation of our choices. And who hasn’t texted their bestie a pic from a store asking, “Should I get it?”

So, it’s no surprise community building and shopping were some of the first behaviors on the nascent internet. And today, online brand conversation is a trusted, everyday part of the shopping process.

In the new Publicis + Twitter study “#LetsTalkShop,” 92% of people surveyed actively seek out comments about brands, products, or services on social. More importantly, 68% said their impression of a brand was changed as a result of experiencing brand conversation.

Trust plays a major role. People surveyed consider 3 in 4 brand conversations to be authentic. In fact, for the majority of shoppers, these spontaneous conversations are as — if not more — impactful on purchase decisions as traditional reviews. So yes, talk matters.

Notably, of brand conversations recalled, 81% involved brands or people shoppers don’t know personally. Which means they’re thinking outside their bubbles and broadening their spheres of influence. So there’s always an opportunity for your business to participate. Be active, not absent, and reap the benefits.

Get them talking (and listening) early and often

The study also found conversation is most impactful early in the purchase journey, which suggests people may be more impressionable well before they’ve even figured out their consideration set.

Still, the research goes on to explain that brand conversation — whether brand or shopper initiated — can significantly impact purchase consideration at any point in the purchase journey. This isn’t surprising given how people shop today, gathering new inputs right up to the moment they buy.

There’s a catch though. While the data shows the influence of conversation is immediate, the impact on brand impression and consideration decays over time, particularly after the first week. So it pays to show up — in your actions and advertising — in ways that help you stay talked about.

An always-on strategy can help brands engage customers regardless of where they are in their purchase journey and can even kick start buying decisions.

Content and sentiment matter

Of course, not all brand talk is the same. The study found positive conversation is remembered far more than negative. And conversations about social issues and cultural events are also powerful drivers of consideration. So there’s big upside for companies to find their voice and take action when appropriate for their brand.

Even more encouraging: While content and sentiment of brand conversation clearly influence purchase decisions, the data shows these shifts are almost always in the brand’s favor, with 3 in 4 brand conversations resulting in more positive brand sentiment.

This all supports advice we’ve long upheld: Businesses who establish and communicate their mission, values, and points of view are well-positioned to leverage conversation. Authenticity counts. Trustworthiness counts. Who you are — and how you show up — is every bit as important as what you sell.

Social brand conversation has quickly become an established part of the shopping experience, giving brands the opportunity to shift decisions within the purchase journey.”  Rose Ahn, VP, global partnerships, Publicis Media.

Brand conversation on Twitter drives people to buy

The #LetsTalkShop study provides powerful insights into how brands benefit from social conversation today, while revealing opportunities to make it work even harder for them moving forward.

Fortunately, there are many ways you can tap into the power of conversation on Twitter:

Be active, not absent
Authentically contribute to and support conversation within your   customers’ communities. Tweet content that gets people talking.

Control the narrative
You have a say in how you’re perceived. Shift sentiment by sparking positive conversation among people who care about your brand.

Cultivate “the new review”
Connect in a way that makes your brand feel more human. Drop new products on Twitter. Host Live Events and Twitter Spaces to share what you’re doing.

To learn more about the shopping conversation on Twitter and how we can help you leverage the talk to drive people to buy, check out these resources:

The Conversation: Talking shop on Twitter
Twitter Product Drops
Twitter Live Shopping
Twitter Amplify Video

Bovitz “Brand Conversation Research," commissioned by Twitter in partnership with Publicis, US/UK/IN/MX, 2022.
1. “56 billion impressions on shopping related Tweets in 2021.” Twitter Internal Data (Big Query, Semantic Core). January 1, 2021 - January 1, 2022. Global. English only.
2. Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, TikTok, YouTube and Reddit

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