Just when you thought the impact of new media on mainstream brands couldn't be hyped any further, new data come along to change that idea.
A just-released study from Cone Inc. reports that among new-media users, a staggering 78% of them interact with companies or brands via new media sites and tools -- up from 59% the year before. And these users are conversing with brands more often: Some 37% say they do so at least once a week -- up from one in four when Cone did the study last year.
It's not enough to simply have new media presences (although 95% of users expect it.) Increasingly, they are looking for companies and brands not just with Web sites (58%) and email (45%), but with involvement in social networks, such as Facebook and MySpace (30%) and online games (24%).
Surprisingly, given their loathing of pop-ups and other intrusive ad methods, 43% say they want to see companies advertise online, up from 25% last year. And women are especially enthusiastic about offers that include freebies, coupons or discounts (58%).
Perhaps the most intriguing part of Cone's data, however, is that consumers strongly believe that new media is a two-way street, with 62% saying they can influence business decisions by voicing their opinions through new media.
"About a quarter have contributed their point of view on an issue (24%) or contacted a company directly (23%), and most want the conversation to be two-way -- 74% expect companies to join conversations about their corporate responsibility practices happening on new media," Cone reports.
The survey found that 30% have bought something because of positive information they got online, and that 23% have switched brands or boycotted a company based on negative news.