Prominent product placement has positive impact on a brand’s web traffic

According to a new study published in the INFORMS journal Marketing Science, prominent product placement in television programming has a net positive impact on the volume of social media activity and website traffic for the featured brand.

Although product placement is a popular form of marketing, there has not been much research on its impact.

Researchers from Indiana University and Emory University used data on almost 3,000 product placements for 99 brands from the fall 2015 television season to measure the impact of product placement with brand related social media conversation and web traffic. 

According to the abstract of the study, the authors found 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 study, titled “Measuring the Impact of Product Placement with Brand-Related Social Media Conversations and Website Traffic,” was conducted by Beth Fossen of Indiana University, and David Schweidel of Emory University.

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

“Further, 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.”

“One thing that producers should be careful about is overt inclusion of brands into scenes or content,” said Schweidel. “If the product placement does not fit and it interferes with the plot of the program, it could distract, irritate or spur a negative experience for the viewer.”

Journal Citation

“Measuring the Impact of Product Placement with Brand-Related Social Media Conversations and Website Traffic”
Beth L. Fossen , David A. Schweidel
Marketing Science
Published Online:15 May 2019