Brands have a social media “window of opportunity” in PR disasters

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socialnetworking_revvs_small.jpgADOTAS — Time. It’s the one thing that most social media experts don’t talk about when it comes to dealing with brand public relation problems like Domino’s Pizza had recently.

But brands do have a window, according to research done by Lotame, a company that provides solutions within social media. Lotame had run ads for a major jar peanut butter brand targeted exclusively to users on its network who had been exposed to content about a salmonella outbreak, either through conversations, articles, or other user-generated content. Over that period, February 20 to March 11,  custom surveys were served to this target audience measuring purchase intent to determine the effectiveness of the campaign’s ads at raising user intent to purchase for the brand of peanut butter.

Based on the results of the campaign and the analysis conducted on users who saw ads and responded to the purchase intent survey, Lotame determined that the campaign was able to effectively drive increased intent to purchase for the brand peanut butter among users aware of the salmonella outbreak. Lotame also learned that the window of opportunity for doing so effectively is roughly the six weeks immediately following the initial outbreak.

“After a certain period of time, people stopped caring about the situation,” said Robert Jones, one of the authors of the study. “The overall strategy worked, trying to reach users quickly after the initial storm of press around the salmonella outbreak. I think the message that the advertiser was using in this case was a very quick ‘to all of our customers our brand is safe’ message. And I think targeting users exposed to those conversations was the right way to go.”

Jones did note that a different or stronger message might have been needed with bloggers, because according to the Lotame data, while users with blog interests were among the most likely to click on ads for the campaign, clicking on ads had little to no effect on user purchase intent. Users with blog interests just may not have responded well to the particular message presented by brand peanut butter, despite having a great interest in reading it, according to Lotame.

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