Consumers are making fewer visits to brand Web sites as they increasingly engage with brands in the social media space. And brands are pushing them that way.
That’s one of the big takeaways from a new study by Interpublic Group media shop UM that polled nearly 42,000 respondents in 62 countries late last year. Fewer than 75% of respondents said they had visited a company or brand site in the last six months.
By comparison, about 85% of respondents said they had visited such sites within six months in a similar study that UM conducted in 2008.
The study, titled “The Business of Social” and unveiled this week, arrives as agencies and other firms throughout the marketing services sector are expanding their social media practices to help clients more effectively engage consumers in the space.
“Attachment to social networks is stronger than ever, with over 40% of people saying they are worried about missing out if they don’t visit their social network,” the study concludes. “As a result users are fully prepared to share their data in return for the benefits they bring.”
Part of the challenge for marketers, the study reports, is determining what kind of “experiences” consumers want with a brand via social media “and which of these experiences deliver the brand’s marketing objectives.”
The research found that the social media sector is particularly suited to handling customer relationship management issues. There is widespread reluctance on the part of companies to discuss problems publicly, particularly within social media circles. “Actually responding to a customer issue is one the most powerful social experiences a brand can deliver. In the future social CRM should be a fundamental part of any brands’ communications strategy.“
But as brands approach and communicate with consumers in social media, the messaging has to sync up properly with different channels and devices. “Not all devices are a suitable environments for every experience,” the study reports. For example, laptops are perceived more widely as devices for making purchases, while smartphones are more closely linked to “exploring the world.”
“Marrying the right experience to the right device is key to creating a compelling social strategy,” it concludes.