A digital marketing strategy is “recommendation in the pocket”, not ads

Marketing has changed from ads to “recommendation and pockets”, with huge purchasing impacts from both recommendation and mobile search.

Consider the facts:

  • According to Nielsen’s latest Global Trust in Advertising report, which surveyed more than 28,000 internet respondents in 56 countries, 92% of consumers around the world say they trust earned media, such as recommendations from friends and family, above all other forms of advertising – an increase of 18% since 2007.
  • Online consumer reviews are the second most trusted source of brand information and messaging, with 70% of global consumers surveyed online indicating they trust messages on this platform, an increase of 15% in four years.
  • More than 80% say user-generated content from people they don’t know influences what they should buy and indicates brand quality.
  • 51% say it is actually more important than the opinions of their friends and family, and far more trustworthy than website content.

A priority focus for digital marketing is ratings and reviews, as conversion will increase likelihood of purchase for 55% of consumers.

In addition to consumers turning to each other during the purchase funnel, we are now seeing a substantial increase in content being consumed through mobile.

The growth Google is experiencing in mobile accessed search is nearly 21% of organic search visits occurred on mobile devices in Q3, up from 18% in Q2, according to Rimm-Kaufman Group (see chart below). For paid search, 16% of clicks and 11% of ad spend were mobile.


In terms of conversion, mobile content is driving consumer purchase, so if you get this wrong and you aren’t concentrating on a “recommendation in a channel in the pocket” your digital marketing is not going to work for you:

  • 70% of all mobile searches result in action within 1 hour; 70% of online searches result in action in one month.
  • Nine out of 10 mobile searches lead to action, over half leading to purchase.
  • 61% of local searches on a mobile phone result in a phone call.

Take two simple facts:

  • We rely on recommendation for purchase.
  • We are increasing our search for information through mobile devices. Traditional ads and banner ads do not present well on a mobile device, the “people and channel in a pocket” impact requires a rethink about what a digital marketing strategy should be.

Key questions need to be addressed:

1. How will you drive user generated content that drives a recommendation or even simple user rating?

2. Will you make that content mobile ready as an app or mobile website?

3. Where will you drive the consumer action to from your mobile?

4. How can you optimize the content so Google can find you?

Commenting on the lousy nature of mobile marketing, Business Week debates the value of the promoted story and/or tweet for driving a response, as it is still the friend recommendations that are driving a consumer to purchase. This is even more important given the personal nature of mobile devices and the general anti-consumer response of having ads pushed through our social networks.

Therefore, not changing your marketing approach to a recommendation in a pocket is folly.

Best case in point

Amazon and eBay get how to market and sell to us, with user rating a central pillar in their proposition. This has been successful since the 1990s and it’s a surprise that brands don’t realise a rating and review is far more valuable than a “Like”. Their mobile app approach is well regarded, well established and works to drive sales and interaction. This is certainly NOT new territory, but certainly seems to be challenging the marketer today.

The conclusion is clear: traditional advertising doesn’t work online or on a mobile device and the world is not standing still, as the ad man grapples with the purchasing intent driven by people, not the brand ad.


*Sources used for this blog post include Marketing Profs via a Bazaarvoice survey, Internet World Stats – Stats Counter 2012, Nielsen’s Global Trust in Advertising report, Econsultancy, Royal.pingdom.com, Mobile Marketer 2012, Search Engine Land 2012 and Google.

Fi Bendall is the managing director of digital and interactive consultancy company Bendalls Group. With over 20 years’ experience, Bendall has worked with global brands including BBC and Virgin, and is an expert in how businesses can approach strategy in the digital world. You can follow her on Twitter at @FiBendall, and can contact her through Bendalls Group.



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