For more than a year, The Motherhood has worked with the University of Pittsburgh Institute for Entrepreneurial Excellence and the University of Pittsburgh Joseph M. Katz Graduate School of Business to research and analyze what works and what doesn’t work for brands looking to reach, engage and activate moms online.
In the study, we extensively examined more than 1,025 blog posts created by 956 bloggers in our network on behalf of 19 brand campaigns for such clients as AT&T, Clorox, Hershey’s, LISTERINE, Seventh Generation, Banner Alzheimer’s Institute, McCormick Spices, and others.
Some of the questions we asked in the research were:
- Does it matter if our bloggers are exceptionally creative in developing their blog posts on behalf of brands?
- If a blog post includes photos or product giveaways, do those affect engagement or reach?
- Does blogger audience size (i.e., the number of unique monthly visitors to the blog, combined with the blogger’s number of Facebook and Twitter followers) affect engagement?
The preliminary findings of our research are being released today in New York at the Corporate Social Media Summit.
Below is a slideshare of the preliminary results of the research:
Among the findings are key factors for:
- Blog posts that garner the highest impressions: the bloggers’ creativity in developing their posts; and the inclusion of photos
- Blog posts with the highest number of comments: offering readers a product giveaway; launching a new product; and the number of Twitter followers of the blog post author
- Increasing Twitter coverage of blog posts: the authenticity of the blogger’s voice; inclusion of personal photos; coverage of an existing product (versus introducing a new product)
- Increasing Facebook coverage of blog posts: including a meet-up; coverage of an existing product; inclusion of photos (either personal photos or stock photos)
Among the important takeaways from the research:
- Creative expression and authentic conversation drive engagement, and conversely, tightly controlling the message by the brand hurts engagement and reach.
- It’s all about choosing the right bloggers, and not necessarily the big-name bloggers.
- Re-posts by bloggers of duplicate information do not improve engagement or product trials.
- Campaigns with strategic targeting of social media platforms are more successful.
Leading the research team at the University of Pittsburgh are: Robert Stein, Interim Director, University of Pittsburgh Institute for Entrepreneurial Excellence; and Vanitha Swaminathan, Associate Professor of Marketing and Robert W. Murphy Faculty Fellow in Marketing, University of Pittsburgh Joseph M. Katz Graduate School of Business. Thank you, Bob and Vanitha, for your dedication and innovative thinking in conducting this in-depth study with The Motherhood!