Despite all the buzz about the two-way power of social media and the web, most conversations about brands still happen face-to-face.
The influence of the internet is growing but it doesn’t come close to face-to-face conversations.
A recent Yahoo study on Word of Mouth (WOM) marketing confirms that more and more conversations about brands are happening on the internet, especially social media sites. But that 3 out of 4 brand discussions still happen away from the computer or TV screen.
- Only 7% of conversations about brands happened on the internet last year. But 74 million Americans have conversations both online and off that are influenced by what they learned on the internet.
- Overall, the internet influenced 15% of the conversations, up from 12% at this time last year.
- That compares to 16% for TV and 10% for print, both of which remained flat compared to last year.
- 3 out of 4 conversations about brands are positive, and only 8% is negative.
Conversation Catalysts have become most valuable WOM segment.
Conversation Catalysts are people who play on social sites. According to Yahoo they are 20% more likely to mention the internet in word of mouth conversations about brands. That’s because they have a large social network and often give advice in five or more product categories.
Although only 7% of all brand-WOM conversations occur online, 38% of people have WOM conversations about brands both online or offline that are influenced by the Internet, which Yahoo estimates at 74 million people.
Millennials are driving this trend.
This trend is driven by Millennials, adults 18-28 and the first generation that grew up with the internet. That’s because they are moving into the period of their life where they are living on their own and purchase more consumer goods and services.
Websites are the most trusted source of online information.
You would expect that social networking sites would drive more WOM conversations about brands. But the study found that more people talk about information they found on websites than from any other source of information on the internet.
Implications for leisure marketing professionals.
- Keep your website updated with the latest information about your products and services, and make sure the information is shareable.
- Give Conversation Catalysts a place on your website and on your social media sites to tell other people about your brand.
- Make your online tools appealing to Millennials, who are the most internet and technology savvy adult generation.