Trying to get beyond the notion that “paid media” (advertising) is naturally reinforced by “earned media” (news articles, Facebook likes, and Twitter re-tweets), WPP Group looked at how these two sources lift brand awareness, image and purchase intent.
Looking at what information influences consumers when buying a car, men want information from an independent third party (i.e. earned) while women look to both paid and earned media. By itself, earned media lifted men’s brand awareness 32%; paid media alone only led to an 18% lift. When exposed to both formats (earned and paid), brand lift did not increase among men.
Hence it looks like social media will become a stronger force over time in driving men’s awareness and purchase of brands.