Finding the “Missing Link”: Advertising’s Impact on Word of Mouth, Web Searches and Site Visits

For decades, marketers have trumpeted the importance of word of mouth in influencing purchase choice, but have still spent billions on brand advertising—without any proof of the link between the two.

Finding the "Missing Link": Advertising's Impact on Word of Mouth, Web Searches and Site Visits

Jeffrey GrahamThe New York TimesWilliam HavlenaDynamic Logic


In a landmark study of voting decisions during the 1940 U.S. presidential election, Paul Lazarsfeld and his colleagues introduced the "two-step flow" theory of communication. Instead of media exposure having direct influence on voters, they showed that "ideas often flow from radio and print to the opinion leaders and from them to less active sections of the population" (Lazarsfeld, Berelson, and Gaudet, 1944, p. 151). This...

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