Product placements in television programming have net positive impact for online conversions

For brands, product placement in television programming could have a net positive effect on social media discussion and web-based conversions, according to new research in Marketing Science.

As part of a recent study, co-authored by Beth Fossen and David Schweidel, researchers looked into the data of 2,806 product placements associated with 99 brands. The data contained placements airing in the fall television season of 2015.

During their analysis of the data, online word-of-mouth mentions and volume of web traffic to a brand’s page, both forms of actionable metrics, were measured as manifestations of online behavior.

Upon arriving at their conclusion, researchers decided that product placement in television programming was associated with increased actionable metrics. Additionally, prominent placements were linked to a wider increase in online conversations on social media and web traffic, according to the findings.

Moreover, the findings also implied that verbal placements could be more efficacious than visual ones, due to the way they are processed.

Fossen, one of the study’s co-authors, stated: “Using data on nearly 3,000 product placements for 99 brands from the fall 2015 television season, the authors find that prominent product placement activities—especially verbal placements—are associated with increases in both online conversations and web traffic for the brand, with some evidence of decreasing returns at high levels of prominence.”

“The research suggests that verbal product placements may be more prominent than visual ones because they require higher plot integration with the actor saying a brand’s name versus the brand appearing in the background,” Fossen added.

“Overall, our results support the notion that product placements can help marketers reach consumers who have become adept at avoiding traditional advertising exposure.”