Emotions triggered by social media sharing ‘is marketing utopia’ new research claims


Dr Peter Steidl

Marketers should be targeting consumers the moment they share social content as that is when they are at their most receptive to advertising, a study has claimed.

Research released this morning suggests social sharing releases a natural “drug” called dopamine which stimulates a “heightened state of desire” normally associated with sex, food and exercise.

The study, conducted by neuroscientist Dr Peter Steidl in partnership with marketing firm RadiumOne, concluded that adverts served during social sharing will deliver improved results for marketers.

The paper, ‘Drugs, Data and Tech; has marketing utopia arrived?”, picked up the best use of neuroscience award at last week’s MSiX award.



Kerry McCabe, RadiumOne managing director Asia Pacific said: “For too long our industry has had an over-reliance on great creative as the means to tap into consumer emotion.

“We wanted to come at the challenge from the opposite direction; tapping into the ‘right now’ emotional state of consumers as the catalyst for marketing activity, rather than the goal”.

He said the study revealed that social sharing not only indicates a level of interest, but is the consumer’s “ultimate moment of openness” that is ripe for marketers to exploit.

“Once we’ve found consumer’s real-time passion points through their sharing and interacting with content, technology allows us to act on these in real time,” McCabe continued.

“Exceptional and relevant creative will always be important for brands. This work looks at the role of social data and technology in placing consumer behaviour at the forefront of the strategy.”

The study looked at two campaigns which delivered ads to social media users who shared relevant links with friends.

One, for budget airline Tigerair, found that 34 per cent of all sales across the campaign took place within 20 minutes of the link being shared and advertising served. In addition, the research concluded that such marketing “unlocks a valuable new prospecting channel” with more than six out of 10 bookings from customers who had not flown with the airline.

one direction tourThe second campaign focused on ticket sales for the Australian tour of boy band One Direction. The research claimed that when ads were served during “social conversations” conversions were three times above the average.

Dr Steildl, a brand strategist at marketing consultancy Neurothinking, said: “Social sharing activates the rewards system of the brain, providing the same dopamine release that we receive from pleasure seeking activities such as sex, food and exercise.

“Building social sharing data insights and triggers into marketing strategy is a valuable step in getting consumers across the line. It requires aligning the timing of messages with the mood of consumers, based on what their actions are telling us about how the feel, in the moment.”

The report said neuromarketing research is “proving” that  emotions are the most powerful drivers of consumer decision-making.

The report acknowledged that traditional media planning aligns “advertising content and channels to some degree”, but said it remains “very diffcult to achieve mood congruence because of the random nature of advertising placements”.

“An advertisement shown before a brand’s commercial may alter the mood that was created by the television program,” the report states.

“Through activating real-time social data signals, we can now determine and act on what consumers are doing and feeling when they are exposed to advertising messages.

“This is a game-changing moment in realising the mood congruence marketing opportunity.”

Steve Jones


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