Earned Effect Study explores the impact of campaigns that earn coverage and conversation on business performance

The Weber Shandwick Collective (TWSC), the world’s leading earned-first network, announced the findings of its Earned Effect study, conducted in partnership with the Institute of Practitioners in Advertising (IPA), that explored the impact of campaigns that earn coverage and conversation on business performance. The research was conducted by a team of experts from across The Weber Shandwick Collective, led by Nigel Rahimpour, Head of Strategy Germany, and Consultant Peter Field at the IPA. The study evaluated global case studies over a 10-year period across brands and categories. 

The Earned Effect study, which analysed data from culturally salient* and non-culturally salient* campaigns, reinforces the need for brands to make a cultural and emotional connection with their audience in order to create sustainable value and short-term impact.

Findings show:

  • 53% of campaigns that earn coverage and conversation are more likely to drive very large business effects and 2.6 times more likely to achieve very large profit growth.  
  • Culturally salient campaigns outperform other campaigns with 57% driving very large sales gains and 40% driving very large market share gains.
  • Brands worthy of earning attention and activating – not simply reaching – communities see a 42% uplift in ROI and outperform peers in every brand health metric.
  • Campaigns that earn coverage and conversation are also 75% more likely to create halo effects across other products in the franchise.

Gen Kobayashi, Chief Strategy Officer, EMEA, said, “The Weber Shandwick Collective believes brands that will thrive in the future understand that to earn value, they must contribute meaningful value. We call this the “earned-first mindset” and it’s how we approach work with all our clients. We don’t just believe in the power of earned-first thinking, we can see its tangible impact in this breakthrough study. The Earned Effect underlines our belief that it pays to be earned first.”

The study, which was conducted globally, analysed over 340 case studies in both B2B and B2C sectors, across 60 different product categories from the IPA’s Databank.

“As opportunities for brand communications expand in social and experiential, understanding the impact of earned and owned channel strategies is becoming ever more interesting. This report marks an important next step in IPA Databank learning beyond paid media and we hope it will encourage IPA Effectiveness award entries which are more holistic in looking at brand-building potential,” said Janet Hull OBE, Director of Marketing Strategy, IPA.

The Weber Shandwick Collective combines Weber Shandwick’s earned, creative and data analytics capabilities with deep specialist expertise in digital and social solutions through its agencies Flipside and That Lot.

A summary of the Earned Effect Study is available to download here


  • Culturally salient campaigns definition – campaigns that earned coverage AND earned conversation AND longevity (approx. 9 months+), contributing value to people and communities.
  • Non-culturally salient campaigns definition – campaigns that neither earned coverage nor conversation