Social Media Gets the Nod for Product Launches

fivebyfive-top-product-launch-communication-channels-dec2016Senior marketers in the US, UK and Australia prioritize social media more than any other communications channels for product launches, according to a study [download page] from Five by Five. Indeed, social media figured among the top 5 channels (of more than a dozen listed) for about three-quarters of the survey’s respondents.

Social media’s role seems particularly prized by US marketers, almost 8 in 10 of whom placed it in within their top 5 channels. On an industry basis, both retail and healthcare marketers (80% each) were the most likely to point to social as a top communications channel for product launches.

Asked about social’s main benefit, the largest proportion (46%) of marketers said that it is in generating awareness prior to the launch. About half as many (24%) said that social’s primary benefit is encouraging conversation about the new product or service after launch.

Social media’s popularity with marketers may not be too surprising given it’s rise as a channel for product awareness. A global consumer survey by Nielsen released last year found, for example, that social posts were the fastest-rising method by which consumers find out about new products. And while social posts trailed other channels in that survey, more recent research from Fluent suggests that almost two-thirds of US online shoppers (including 85% of Gen Z respondents) turn to social channels to learn about new products.

Interestingly, TV is further down the mix, per the Five by Five survey. It ranked 6th among channels, behind social, sales promotions, email, press and PR. TV is more valued by US respondents, though, ranking 4th – ahead of press and PR. Considering that TV ranks as the top paid medium for product awareness globally and is the top paid channel for purchase influence among US consumers, it’s curious that it ranks lower. That may be due to cost perceptions, with TV generally a more expensive medium than digital channels (and house email lists), and therefore seeing more limited adoption.

In other results from the Five by Five report:

  • 81% of respondents believe that the process from idea to launch has become faster over the last five years, with this an encouraging sign for those who felt that slow processes were one of their top barriers;
  • Almost two-thirds of marketers surveyed use social listening to support new product development, a finding that aligns with the growing trend for using customer dialogue in the innovation process;
  • More than 7 in 10 believe that creative ideas are “braver” than they were 5 years ago; and
  • Almost 9 in 10 marketers feel that launch campaigns are more measurable now than they were five years ago (perhaps due to an increasing reliance on digital channels, which are considered more measurable).

About the Data: The data is based on a survey of 738 senior marketers (314 from the UK, 321 from the USA and 103 from Australia) from a variety of industries.