Marketers are paying more attention to online customer engagement than ever before, with 77% of companies saying that its importance has increased in the past 12 months, according to a survey by E-Consultancy and cScape.
The 'Online Customer Engagement Survey' report showed that the majority of companies (90%) believe that online customer engagement is either 'essential' or 'important' to them. The report also found that companies are using a wide range of methods to interact with customers, including web-based and desktop 'widgets' (small software applications) as well as participation in social networks and uploading to video-sharing web sites such as YouTube.
Many marketers are now realizing that they need to take an integrated approach that embraces all the channels used by their customers, as a "consistent online and offline customer experience" was seen as being 'essential' or 'very important' by 86%.
The survey found evidence that many companies have already been taking steps to deliver a more integrated customer experience. Since the first edition of the survey at the end of 2006 there has been a significant improvement in the number of organizations that are either 'very advanced' or 'quite advanced' at mapping customer experiences.
Nearly one in five companies (18%) said that they are already using web-based widgets, while a further 39% plan to use them in the future. A widget is essentially a third party software application that can be embedded in a web page, and holds particular attraction for marketers because it can help achieve off-site visibility and engagement.
Almost one third (32%) of the companies surveyed said they are planning to use social networks (such as Facebook), and a further 19% are already using them. Video-sharing web sites are being used by 21%, and a further 29% are planning to use them in the future.
The full report has been made available for download from cScape's web site.
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