LONDON: Consumers act as brand 'transmitters' by talking to each other about the products and services they buy, but very few do so on social media, according to new research.

inTV, a cooperative group of independent TV channels comprising BBC World News, France 24, ESPN Classic, euronews, EuroSport, National Geographic, Sky News, CNBC and TV5 Monde, used research agency InSites Consulting to poll 1,600 TV-viewing adults in five European countries – UK, France, Germany, Italy and Spain – asking about the frequency of category and brand conversations, their tone of voice, plus their impact and influence on others.

It found that 90% of conversations about products and services feature at least one brand, but just 4% of such conversations are carried out with social media contacts.

The great majority, 83%, happen offline with family and friends, some 28% are with work colleagues and 10% with business contacts.

"Social media is undoubtedly an important channel for creating brand buzz," commented Belinda Barker, Chairperson at inTV, "but our research shows that these conversations only equate to a small proportion of brand conversations."

She argued that this "validates our [inTV] view that advertising should be the start of a conversation – a positive conversation about brands and products that creates positive advocacy, drives purchase intention and increases lifetime value."

InSites also identified a group who are particularly persuasive, being 90% more likely to convince others to choose a certain brand. It titled them 'Champions' and found that 17% of consumers are a Champion in at least one of the six product categories studied and can have a major impact on the purchase funnel.

Barker noted that inTV viewers were significantly more likely to be Champions than non-inTV viewers, adding that "This shows that advertising on inTV channels will improve Return on Investment by creating a much higher level of earned media than other TV channels."

In terms of sectors, Banking/Finance was the most talked about with 42% of respondents discussing it weekly and very likely in a negative way. Santander was the brand most discussed here (30%), followed by Barclays (21%) and Allianz (17%).

The most talked-about brands overall came from the Smartphones/Tablets sector, with Apple (70%) and Samsung (53%) standing out.

Data sourced from inTV; additional content by Warc staff