How Earned and Owned Social Media Impact Shareholder Value Through Consumer Mindset Metrics

Anatoli Colicev, Ashwin Malshe, Koen Pauwels, and Peter O’Connor, 2016, 16-115

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Although recent studies have shown strong effects of social media metrics on sales and business outcomes, it is unclear why and how these effects occur. In this study, Anatoli Colicev, Ashwin Malshe, Koen Pauwels, and Peter O’Connor propose and study a chain of effects from social media to shareholder value through consumer mindset metrics.

They test their proposed paths in a unique data set that captures information on daily earned and owned media from social networking websites, consumer mindset metrics (salience, purchase intent, and advocacy), and stock market returns for 45 brands in 11 industries. They merge these data with data on advertising, firm size, and announcements of new products, dividends, earnings, and M&A to derive a final dataset.


  • Owned social media (i.e., brand posts, tweets, replies to users, and retweets) drive brand salience and advocacy but not purchase intent.
  • Owned social media also drive earned social media brand community size and engagement (i.e., likes and “people talking about that,” user retweets, and YouTube video views), which both in turn drive salience and purchase intent.
  • Only purchase intent leads to higher stock returns.
  • Positive and negative comments on social media affect brand advocacy, and negative comments directly drive abnormal returns.
  • Finally, new product announcements, rather than advertising, have a substantial impact on positive social media comments and on brand advocacy.

These findings suggest that managers can use owned social media to positively shape conversations on earned social media. Quantifying the differential impacts of growing a brand’s community and improving social media engagement and valence should help managers to design more effective social media strategies.

The findings also highlight the role of owned and earned social media in predicting consumer mindset metrics. Managers can use changes in owned and earned social media, which are available in very short time intervals, as proxies for mindset metrics, which are often measured less frequently due to costly sampling requirements.

Finally, the study offers insights on the interdependence among social media, customer mindset, and firm performance metrics, and suggests how to elevate all three via the managerial levers of owned social media, new product announcements, and advertising.

Anatoli Colicev is a doctoral candidate, Information Systems, Decision Sciences, and Statistics, and Ashwin Malshe is Assistant Professor, Marketing, both at ESSEC Business School, Paris-Singapore. Koen Pauwels is Professor, Marketing, Özyeğin University, İstanbul. Peter O’Connor is Professor, Information Systems, Decision Sciences, and Statistics, ESSEC Business School, Paris-Singapore.

The authors thank seminar participants at 2015 Marketing Strategy Meets Wall Street Conference, Big Data Conference 2015, ESSEC Business School, Paul College (UNH), College of Business (UT San Antonio), and Özyeğin University for their comments and YouGov for providing BrandIndex data. Anatoli Colicev and Peter O’Connor acknowledge funding from ESSEC Research Center.


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