The two following researches by Dr. Koen Pauwels share some light on a couple of metrics (paid search, social engagement) most of us keep focusing on. The full article can be found here.
Research shows that paid search works best for lesser known brands with products of high ‘situational importance’, e.g. refrigerators and office furniture. Customers only need such products once in a while and do not keep track of changes when they are not in the market for the product. However, once in the market, customers need to efficiently search for lots of information, and search engines shine for this job. In contrast, paid search is often superfluous for well-known brands of products or services customers use often, such as eBay.
New social media followers acquisition
Research shows that the vast majority of people following your brand on social media are already customers. And usually they are a tiny component of your user base – well under 1/10 of one percent. Following a brand on social media is unlikely to improve purchases by the follower – the real benefit may come from her friends being exposed to the brand and the follower’s endorsement. Moreover, user-generated discussions – even mudslinging by your rival brand’s customers, increases the buzz for your brand and shows prospective customers how much your current customers care for you.