Microsoft Advertising has exclusively partnered with TrendStream to bring Global Web Index to the marketplace - Thursday night saw its UK launch at the IAB UK Headquarters. The first wave of data canvassed the opinions of 16,000 consumers spanning 16 countries across the Globe to provide the most detailed exploration of the web user to-date. I am just getting my teeth into the data, but the resounding theme that that the study has substantiated is that the role for brands is changing - there are numerous studies out there looking at what people do online so it should not come as surprise to learn that their expectations on how a brand should 'behave' online reflect their motivations for going online in the first place.
- Information, or 'To Improve their knowledge' was the resounding top response - this ask is broader than solely providing information on the product or company, (which appears @ no3) & gives permission to provide information that is useful to the consumer, expanding & reinforcing the arena that the brand operates within
- The importance of recognising consumers need for entertainment in marketing messages also came across strongly - perhaps explaining why in-game marketing approaches are enjoying similar brand awareness & favourability scores as experienced by TV ads in the 70's.
- Being part of their daily routine recognises the need for brands to make house visits i.e. be in the spaces and places that fit their consumers digital lifestyle rather than expecting consumers to come to them.
- Communication, remains the 'social glue of online' & hence ensuring that your digital strategy involves a level of conversation with your users is key, whether that is directly, or by enabling them to connect with like minded people through a community.
- In all the countries monitored, respondents felt that brands should NOT only be visible in store, they expect brands to do more than just sit on a shelf, waiting to be bought!
Gaining brand loyalty involves having a value exchange with your consumers. There is a broad acceptance & more importantly desire for brands to go beyond just advertising, valuing the content, applications and ideas that they bring.
It may not come as a surprise to see that by mapping the digital path to purchase for the top 5 digital drivers, branded websites & microsites have a strong role to play in shaping opinions of the brand, but what may be unexpected is the fact that consumers believe that websites created by a brand are more impactful in shaping brand opinions than print advertising, direct mail or TV/film programmes featuring brands. Furthermore, brand websites rank higher than paid search advertising in driving purchase.
So what does all of this tell us about the future & the role brands will play within it?...
Digital and the underlying technologies & software are enabling a deeper dialogue between brand and consumer, something today's consumer now demands. As all media migrates to a digital platform, the rules that govern & apply to online today are the future for all marketing practices tomorrow. Screens & devices are merging to become 1 seamless experience - the challenge is for marketing strategies to reflect this, creating impactful experiences across the multiple devices the consumer is using, that offer real value back to the consumer in exchange for brand loyalty & advocacy. Click here to find out more about the event and insights the Global Web Index can offer.