Commentary

A Loyal Follower Is Hard To Find (And Keep)

According to the 2010 Cone Consumer New Media Study, loyal followers can be hard to come by for companies trying to reach consumers online. New media users still choose to demonstrate affinity ("like" or "follow" or subscribe to RSS feed) for an average of only 4.6 companies online, making this an exclusive club.

Consumers are more open than ever to engaging with companies via new media (86% vs. 78% in 2009), but it still takes a big effort on the part of the company to reach the upper echelons of the consideration set. To stand out, companies need to incentivize new followers.

Reasons for Deciding to Engage With Company Via New Media

Company Interaction

% of Respondents to Engage

Incentives (products, services, coupons, discounts)

77%

Solve problems (service, information)

46

Solicit feedback

39

Entertain (access to premium content)

28

New ways to interact (games, apps, contests)

26

Market directly (targeted ads)

21

Source: Cone, November 2010

Before deciding whether to engage with companies online, 77% of new media users look for free products, coupons or discounts, and they expect to find them in the following places:

Location To Find Incentives

% of Respondents

Social networks

48%

Mobile devices

20%

Message boards

20%

Blogs

13%

Photo, audio, web-sharing

11

Online games

12

Microblogs

4

Source: Cone, November 2010

Cone's director of new media, Mike Hollywood,  "Marketers are being more aggressive than ever with attractive promotions... (but) companies need to think beyond the coupon or clever widget to figure out how to develop long-term relationships with real staying power... "

It may be difficult for companies to get to the top, but it's even harder to stay there, says the report. 59% of new media users say they are satisfied with their online experiences with companies, but that doesn't mean they won't hesitate to punish companies by disengaging. 58% of users will stop following a company if it acts irresponsibly toward its consumers:

  • 58% will stop if the company over-communicates with them
  • 53% if it provides irrelevant content
  • 36% for under-communicating
  • 28% for censoring user-generated content

Companies that can deliver high-quality customer experiences are richly rewarded:

Company and Brands Benefit From Interaction With New Media Users

New Media User Attitude

% of Respondents

More aware of brand

63%

More likely to share information

62

Stronger connection

61

Better served

60

More likely to purchase

59

More likely to follow company

59

Source: Cone, November 2010

As new media usage grows, so too do the myriad touch points. Nearly one-in-five (18%, up from 13% in 2009) look to interact with companies via their mobile devices. Traditional online tools and social networks lead the way, but Americans use a mix of new media sites and tools

To Interact With Companies Or Brands

Search Location

% of Respondents

Websites

63%

Email

62

Social networks

38%

Mobile devices

18%

Message boards

16%

Online games

15

Blogs

13%

Photo, audio, web-sharing

11

Microblogs

3

Source: Cone, November 2010

For additional information from the study, and to access the PDF fact sheet, please visit here.

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