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When Pizza Hut announced its partnership with Xbox 360 in April, video gamers considered the game-console ordering move a “brilliant marketing scheme.” Instead of leaving their comfy gaming seat, picking up the phone or ordering online, Xbox gamers could use their game controllers, voice commands or Xbox Kinect hand motions to order pizza.

In story comment sections and on Twitter, Facebook and other social media, people chimed in with their opinions, while analytics firm SDL studied commentary on 260 million online channels to determine the brand value impact for Pizza Hut.

SDL uses a formula to analyze social media as well as author data, influence data and other indicators to give a brand commitment score. The idea is to not look at all the social media conversations, but to listen and analyze somebody’s brand advocacy journey.

“The conversations are indicative of the fact that they are on a journey to becoming a brand advocate,” says Dave Clark, vice president of marketing for SDL, “and ultimately we can then organize those conversations and see where that particular author happens to be.”

Announcement-linked uplift
With Xbox and Pizza Hut, SDL analyzed social media buzz 30 days before the announcement and 30 days after the announcement.

“You see a nice uplift for Pizza Hut at the time of the announcement,” Clark says. “When you look at the social conversations, Xbox users who were already Pizza Hut customers were very happy to buy Pizza Hut right in the console. They’re glad to have another way to order the product that they have a preference for.”

According to SDL data, game-console convenience also won over many non-Pizza Hut customers.

“Brand advocacy conversations were increasing as a result of the announcement,” Clark says.

Clark says the announcement was not enough to materially change the level of Xbox commitment for brand loyalists, because the conversations were already trending downward.

“That’s what the brand commitment score tells us,” he says. “What’s important is to look at the conversations that are driving those scores and really understand what’s moving the score in the direction it’s moving.”

The SDL system grabs public information, most of which is on Twitter. But for this study, major sources were the Xbox and Pizza Hut Facebook pages, where thousands of comments provided valuable feedback.

Real-time data
By simply studying public information, Clark says, this real-time additive analytics system offers cost advantages and opportunities traditional research misses in the data access and gathering process.

“What our system could do is really give you that real-time look and it could also fill in the white spaces,” he says. “Often times there’s one, two, three or four survey questions you forgot to ask, and the social data can fill in the gaps [with] more real-time data.”

Furthermore, Clark says, SDL organizes the vast data into something actionable.

“Social data is just another data set,” he says. “There’s never been a data set like this in the history of data analytics.”

SDL gives clients a playbook with conclusions and recommendations, Clark says. “The challenge with a lot of research is people don’t know what to do with it. We give customers very actionable sets of tactical tools to go execute.”