Consumer Social Media Engagement with Brands Leads to Increased Sales, Study Reveals


Share on LinkedIn

Research from LoyaltyOne, Northwestern and Ivey Business School Demonstrates
Up to 30% Increase in Purchase Behavior from Social Media Participants

CINCINNATI (October 25, 2012) – Research released today by LoyaltyOne and
two leading North American academic institutions provides empirical proof
that social media interaction between a customer and a brand drives
immediate and long-term sales increases.

The research constitutes a social media marketing breakthrough because it
establishes the accountability link long sought by brands that have showered
dollars on social media outlets while attempting to prove the return on
investment to C-suite skeptics.

Transaction-based proof that social media participation increases purchases
is the outcome of a research effort undertaken as the 2012 LoyaltyOne
Social Media Transaction Impact Study.

LoyaltyOne, a global provider of coalition loyalty, customer analytics and
loyalty services conducted the first-of-its-kind analysis with the Medill
IMC Spiegel Digital and Database Research Initiative at Northwestern
University and The University of Western Ontario’s Ivey School of Business.

The research findings are based on a two-year analysis of brand-customer
social media engagement and actual transaction data with Canada’s more than
10-million member AIR MILES Reward Program. Consumers who participate in
LoyaltyOne’s AIR MILES loyalty program earn reward miles by making purchases
from its affiliated business partners (sponsors) and services across Canada.
Collectors of the program redeem reward miles for a wide range of travel,
entertainment and merchandise rewards.

The breakthrough results show that AIR MILES Collectors who participated in
social media events and promotions increased their purchases from AIR MILES
program partners by 15-30% over non-participants.

In this case, the engagement involved monitoring participation in online
events and contests from February 2009 to May of 2011. Researchers were then
able to use AIR MILES program collector data to obtain concrete evidence of
the impact of social media engagement on purchasing behavior.

“The good news is this research delivers the evidence that investment in
social media has the potential to return benefits in the form of
transactions, profits and ROI if done well,” LoyaltyOne Executive Vice
President and CMO Neil Everett said. “The even better news is this study
demonstrates that the data obtained through loyalty programs generates a
reliable method of measuring this connection.”

Other highlights from the study include the following:

. The mere act of writing a short public statement on a social media
site spurs significant lifts in transaction activity;
. However, longer, more elaborate posts dealing with redemption
experiences (travel, entertainment) created higher lift than shorter,
product-based posts;
. The higher the level of participation in a social media event, the
greater the impact on a consumer’s purchasing activity;
. Brands can use social media as a tool to raise the value of
lower-volume, high-potential consumers who have more room to increase their
spend; and
. Events that encourage participants to recreate the core benefits of
a brand have higher lift effects than more generic posts – resembling a
“co-creation effect.”

Complete findings from the 2012 LoyaltyOne Social Media Transaction Impact
Study can be found in a white paper titled The Social Media Payoff –
Establishing the Missing Link Between Social Media and ROI. The paper is
available for download free of charge at

About LoyaltyOne

LoyaltyOne is a global leader in the design and implementation of coalition
loyalty programs, customer analytics and loyalty services for Fortune 1000
clients around the world. LoyaltyOne’s unparalleled track record delivering
sustained business performance improvement for clients stems from its unique
combination of hands-on practitioner experience and continuous thought
leadership. LoyaltyOne has over 20 years history leveraging data-driven
insights to develop and operate some of the world’s most effective loyalty
programs and customer-centric solutions. These include the AIR MILES Reward
Program, North America’s premier coalition loyalty program and a working
partnership with Latin America’s leading coalition program, dotz. LoyaltyOne
is also the equity partner of Direxions, a loyalty pioneer headquartered in
India and the owner of COLLOQUY, a group dedicated to research, publishing
and education for the global loyalty industry. LoyaltyOne is an Alliance
Data company. For more information, visit

About Medill
Medill was founded in 1921 and offers programs in journalism and integrated
marketing communications. It teaches new techniques essential in today’s
digital world. Medill is leading the way in training a new generation of
multimedia journalists and integrated marketing communications
professionals. The Medill School of Journalism, Media, Integrated Marketing
Communications at Northwestern University is named after Joseph Medill, a
newspaper man and former Mayor of Chicago.

About the Ivey Business School, Western University, Canada
The Ivey Business School ( at The Western University is Canada’s
leading provider of relevant, innovative and comprehensive business
education. Drawing on extensive research and business experience, Ivey
faculty provide the best classroom experience, equipping graduates with the
skills and capabilities they need to tackle the leadership challenges in
today’s complex business world. Ivey offers world-renowned undergraduate and
graduate degree programs as well as Executive Development at campuses in
London (Ontario), Toronto and Hong Kong.

News Editor
CustomerThink offers a free news posting service for press releases relevant to our community. To submit your press release to our news editor, send an email to [email protected] with the press release headline and main content in the email subject line and body, respectively. That's it! Approved press releases will appear in our news category within one business day of submission.


Please use comments to add value to the discussion. Maximum one link to an educational blog post or article. We will NOT PUBLISH brief comments like "good post," comments that mainly promote links, or comments with links to companies, products, or services.

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here