Way back in 2009, the research was screaming at us that online dominates our decision-making and what we share online.
The Razorfish Digital Brand Experience Study, released in January 2009, really should have woken up retailers to the power of online shopping, as it told us 64% of consumers first purchased from a brand because of a digital experience, such as website, microsite, mobile coupon or email.
No other medium has so impacted the traditional marketing funnel, said Razorfish.
In 2009, over half of all consumers were using the internet before making a purchase.
Move forward five years and social media has pushed those figures so high that the purchase model is never going back to the traditional in-store shopping experience.
By 2012, the Times Trends Research figures showed Millennials were 262% more likely to be influenced by smartphone apps and 247% more likely to be influenced by blogs and social media than any other medium.
Fast-forward to today and the consumer’s reliance on social disrupts all areas of a business.
The red flag in this situation is there is a lot of content, a lot of crappy content, and fast distribution to push content around the web. Given that consumer perceptions change as a result of online content, it is a critical channel that companies, big and small, need to manage.
It is common knowledge that there are a lot of misleading and fake reviews. While the ACCC tries to crack down, there are simply too many fake or misleading reviews out there.
The online landscape becomes even more challenging with the huge increase in video content. The impact of video, especially in channels with a strong distribution network such as Facebook, can jettison content so fast that it becomes impossible to keep up with it.
The ice bucket challenge alone, between June 1 and September 1 had 17 million videos shared on Facebook, with more than 10 billion views from 440 million people. BuzzFeed’s video share on Facebook has grown from 160% in June to 200% in July.
Sifting through the volume of noise across different formats, from photos to video to posts, is not an easy task; yet this content is what influences us most.
As a content creator (which you hopefully are by now), there are two critical ways to respond to these challenges:
- Monitor, where you can, what is going on with your content and fix incorrect facts in order to maintain integrity.
- Help consumers develop good strategies for recognising high-quality information over questionable information.
Because there is no going back.
Fi Bendall is the managing director of Bendalls Group, a team of highly trained digital specialists, i-media subject matter experts and developers.