Spillover Effect

Spillover effects are marketing and advertising processes in which one condition positively influences another condition. For example, if one product is already associated with a positive image, another can also benefit. Spillover effects do not only occur with products, they can also affect a company, a service or an event. The term is derived from "to spill over", meaning "overflow".

Other names for spillover effects are broadcast or transmission effects. If one product influences another in a positive way, this is the umbrella effect. If the effect is aimed in the opposite direction, i.e. the deterioration of the image, we speak of the cannibalism effect.

The iPad as an example of spillover effects

Companies such as Apple use spillover effects specifically and strategically. The introduction of the iPad in 2010 attracted a great deal of attention. This is probably due to a spillover effect, because Apple was already well known, and had a positive image at the time. However, tablets were not widespread or well known in 2010. This did not only change with the introduction of the iPad, the spillover effect spread and ensured that other similar products were also successfully marketed and sold. Even the comparably high sales prices were unable to hinder the success of Apple products.

The psychological effect of the spillover effect

Spillover effects don't work without the psychological component. This psychological component can be incorporated in various ways, for example under the guise of science or medicine. You often see this in advertising when so-called "experts" recommend a product as particularly healthy or of high quality. It can be a white coat, a doctor's title or a full bookshelf in the background, which should point to the professional expertise. This increases credibility and creates a spillover effect when widely used.

In the past, "experts" were usually the first choice in achieving the spillover effect, however, this has gradually changed. Celebrities in particular have taken on the task of increasing credibility. The question of whether the professional activities of celebrities are appropriate for the product doesn’t play a very important role; what is decisive here are the sympathy values. The famous actor who advertises a bank account, the famous singer who speaks out for a certain beauty product or the athlete who swears by one kind of chips - they all increase the spillover effect. If the scientific approach to the spillover effect is more about professionalism and credibility, the use of celebrities is more about values such as sympathy and attractiveness.

Recently, a further group has been established which is ideal for achieving spillover effects: the average consumer. From the point of view of marketing, it has become necessary to achieve credibility not only by means of "experts" and celebrities, because this strategy seems too staged for consumers, and then seems implausible. Consumers identified less with "experts" and celebrities, as their appearances did not correspond to the reality of their lives. People who feel closer to reality often achieve a similar, sometimes even better spillover effect, because it is easier to identify with such a model. Even if "the neighbor around the corner" likes a product, many consumers feel addressed more by it than by celebrities who feel they are in another world.

Example of spillover effects in social media

Spillover effects also and especially in the social media play an important role. Such an effect occurs, for example, when an ad is placed on Facebook that not only leads to direct purchases, but also generates traffic on other, dedicated channels. These can be visits on your own website, in your own shop. However, it can also mean that users remember the ad for later in order to return to the offer either by means of a search engine or by entering the corresponding URL in the input field. If additional traffic is achieved after a display via detours, one speaks of spillover effects.

Spillover effects and human behavior

In order to be more successful in marketing, many companies also investigate the direct behavior of people in connection with spillover effects. Studies such as those that have shown that a company's employees are more productive when other colleagues in their environment also achieve more. Researchers have found that this phenomenon occurs both under real and laboratory conditions. Just as the service zeal of employees affects each other, the purchasing behavior of one group of consumers can also affect another, larger group.

Importance for online marketing

The spillover effect works in different ways and should therefore first be analysed before attempting to increase the company's success. Campaigns that have already been carried out can be helpful, but cannot be automatically transferred to your own project. In addition, different measures can lead to spillover effects depending on the time epoch.