Press Releases

Center for Measurable Marketing Studies the Impact of Social Media on Store Traffic

NYU Stern’s Center for Measurable Marketing Proves that Social Media Drives More Retail Store Traffic than Traditional Media

We discovered the direct effects of word-of-mouth communication via social media were higher than direct effects of the brand’s paid media.

New York University Stern School of Business’ Center for Measurable Marketing (CMM) together with Crimson Hexagon, a provider of social media monitoring and analysis for brand insights and market research professionals, today revealed important data that demonstrates the ROI of social media for a major retail brand. This study, which utilized the Crimson Hexagon ForSight™ platform, will be presented by E. Craig Stacey, director of research at CMM and founding partner of The Marketing Productivity Group, during his discussion, “Beyond Fans and Tweets: Measuring the Impact of Social Media,” at the Marketing Communication in a Digital World conference in Berkeley, California.

The CMM study revealed a direct correlation between word-of-mouth communication via social media, and increases in store traffic. Additional findings include:

  • Word-of-mouth communication via social media led to higher levels of in-store foot traffic than the brand’s paid media efforts
  • Total effects of paid media are under-estimated if one does not consider indirect effects of paid media driving social media, which in turn drives store traffic
  • Visits to the store have a feedback effect on social media by driving more conversations about the brand
In the CMM study, Stacey and Koen Pauwels, professor of marketing at Ozyegin University and chief academic advisor for The Marketing Productivity Group, worked to identify the impact that both paid media and social media had on store traffic for a popular retail brand. Using the Crimson Hexagon ForSight platform, the research team was able to delve into millions of conversations happening throughout social media to identify and analyze those that reflected important sentiment around the brand’s marketing efforts. These conversations included consumer reaction to the brand’s paid media (TV and radio advertisements), earned media (word-of-mouth promoting) and feelings about in-store interactions.

“There has been evidence from survey and experimental research for over 50 years to demonstrate the power of word-of-mouth communication,” said Stacey. “This is the first empirical evidence linking social media through specific consumer conversations to in-market behavior, in this case, store traffic. Crimson Hexagon’s technology allowed us to analyze specific conversations at a great volume to understand sentiment around the brand’s marketing efforts which were a driving factor in the increase of store traffic,” added Stacey. “We discovered the direct effects of word-of-mouth communication via social media were higher than direct effects of the brand’s paid media. This research is groundbreaking and will be invaluable as the brand considers where to exert their marketing efforts in the future.”

Crimson Hexagon, recently named by Fast Company as one of the Top 10 Most Innovative Companies on the Web, provides social intelligence software and services to some of the world’s largest and most respected companies. Powered by patent-pending technology originally developed at Harvard University’s Institute for Quantitative Social Science, the Crimson Hexagon ForSight™ platform surpasses the capabilities of traditional social media monitoring and expands the capacity of market research.

“NYU Stern’s Center for Measurable Marketing is quickly becoming a world-class leader in developing ways that businesses can quantify their marketing efforts,” said Crimson Hexagon CEO Patricia Gottesman. “We are thrilled that CMM has chosen our platform to distill key insights from online public opinion. These insights have proven to be an invaluable resource to marketing professionals looking to create more meaningful strategies that deliver real ROI.”

About Crimson Hexagon, Inc.
Crimson Hexagon, founded in 2007, is the leading provider of real-time social media monitoring and analysis to brands, agencies, media firms and their partners. Powered by patent-pending technology developed at Harvard University's Institute for Quantitative Social Science, the Crimson Hexagon ForSight™ platform overcomes the limits of traditional market research by delivering a real-time view of how engaged online consumers truly think and feel about a brand or issue. For more information go to: or read the Crimson Hexagon Social Media Monitoring and Analysis blog:

About NYU Stern’s Center for Measurable Marketing
NYU Stern’s Center for Measurable Marketing (CMM) conducts academic and practitioner-relevant research to promote the development, understanding and application of marketing measurement methodologies that will result in the ability to quantify marketing’s impact on business. The Center supports curriculum innovation and faculty development in the area of measurable marketing at NYU Stern, and leads the exchange of ideas and best practices in the field among industry professionals.


Crimson Hexagon
Wayne St. Amand, 617-733-7784

Matter Communications
Traci Simpson, 978-499-9250 x234

NYU Stern Public Affairs
Carolyn Ritter, 212-998-0624

NYU Stern Center for Measurable Marketing
E. Craig Stacey, 212-998-0002