From yesterday’s Wall Street Journal…
Consumers are spending more time online to communicate with friends, read the news and browse items they’re interested in buying. But marketers are still struggling to find the most effective way to cozy up to a consumer via social media.
According to new shopper marketing research from WPP Geometry Global, 40% of Internet users across the world don’t see any point in “friending” a brand online. In the U.S. and the U.K., that figure rises to 55% and 63%, respectively. In emerging markets, consumers were more open to it. In India, by contrast, that figure is 31%. The study was based on more than 9,000 interviews with Internet users above the age of 15 in a dozen countries.
Still, while consumers may not want to friend a brand just for the sake of doing so, there’s evidence that they want to engage with a brand online so long as they get something out of it. For example, the majority of shoppers in the study said they are open to receiving an ad or promotion from a brand on their mobile device that’s tied to their location.
About half of respondents in the study said they are interested in brands sharing other users’ brand or product experiences with them and 42% said they want brands to help them make better product choices. About a quarter of the study’s respondents check product reviews in social networks on their mobile phones.
According to Geometry, which was formed last year from the merger of WPP units G2, OgilvyAction and JWTAction, 40% of respondents in the study said it was important for them that brands let them choose how and when to communicate with them. More than half of consumers want to interact with brands to solve service issues and 37% want brands to respond to their comments and feedback, whether positive or negative.
“There is not a real rejection of brands using social channels to communicate with [consumers],” said Cesar Montes, Geometry’s chief strategy officer for Europe, the Middle East and Africa. “The rejection is about brands using social as if they were my friends in the typical way that Facebook users would use [social].”
This article originally appeared in the Wall Street Journal.