Sunday, November 14, 2010

With Millions of Brands to Choose, New Media Users Follow Only Five

Even as new media adoption explodes – up 48 percent from 2009 – loyal followers can be hard to come by for companies trying to reach consumers online. With the world’s most loved brands a click of the mouse away, new media users still choose to demonstrate affinity (e.g., “like” on Facebook, “follow” on Twitter or subscribe to an RSS feed) for an average of only 4.6 companies online, making this club one of the most exclusive to which a company can hope to gain access. These are among the findings of Cone’s latest research, the 2010 Cone Consumer New Media Study.

Consumers are more open than ever to engaging with companies via new media (86 percent vs. 78 percent in 2009), but it still takes a big effort on the part of the company to reach the upper echelons of the consideration set. To stand out, companies need to incentivize new followers. Before deciding whether to engage with companies online, 77 percent of new media users look for free products, coupons or discounts. And they expect to find them in the following places:

Social networks – 48%
Mobile devices – 20%
Message boards – 20%
Blogs – 13%
Online games – 12%

It may be difficult for companies to get to the top, but it’s even harder to stay there. Nearly two-thirds (59%) of new media users say they are satisfied with their online experiences with companies, but that doesn’t mean they won’t hesitate to punish companies by disengaging. More than half of users will stop following a company if it acts irresponsibly toward its consumers (58%), over-communicates with them (58%) or provides irrelevant content (53%). Under-communicating (36%) or censoring user-generated content (28%) is also grounds for falling out of favor.

Companies that can deliver high-quality customer experiences are richly rewarded.
Users who engage with companies via new media are more likely to:

Share information about the company across their own social networks – 62%
Feel a stronger connection to the company – 61%
Feel better served by the company – 60%
Purchase the company’s products or services – 59%

As new media usage grows, so too do the myriad touch points. No longer satisfied to sit still, users are increasingly taking their online experiences on the go, as nearly one-in-five (18%, up from 13% in 2009) look to interact with companies via their mobile devices. Other touch points include social networks (38%), message boards (16%), online games (15%), blogs (13%), photo-, audio- or video-sharing sites (11%) and microblogs (3%).

More information on social media and customer service can be found at

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