How Do People Really Interact With Brands Online? Massive Consumer Study Reveals All…

Most brands today have some form of online presence, whether through a website, social media or e-commerce.

In spite of that fact, many businesses fail to understand people’s fundamental motivations for using the internet.

Even more importantly, many companies harbor misconceptions about how and why customers choose to interact with brands online.

We’ve uncovered a wealth of enlightening stats collected by TNS Digital from over 72,000 people across the world, which will help businesses paint a more complete picture of online consumer motivation.

How Do People Use the Internet?

Before you understand how consumers interact with your website, it’s helpful to understand their motivation for using the internet at all.

Why do people come online? Their top eight reasons are to…

  1. Keep in touch with others: 61%
  2. Expand their network: 52%
  3. Connect with others: 51%
  4. Pass on news/events: 34%
  5. Upload photos: 32%
  6. Microblog: 30%
  7. Upload videos: 29%
  8. Write a blog: 26%

It seems that people leverage most of their time online to share stories, communicate and connect with people. Their desires are inherently social and collaborative, and these incentives should always be considered when creating an online experience.

How Do People Interact with Brands?

People’s social inclinations online extend to their interactions with brands, but only to a certain degree. People certainly use the web to discuss brands with one another—47% of active online users have commented about a brand online—but they are also cautious about taking a brand’s word over that of other consumers:

  • Two fifths of people trust comments written by people they don’t know about brands
  • Half of respondents feel a negative review can have an impact on their feelings towards a brand

and yet…

  • 60% of Americans don’t want to engage with brands via social media

While businesses worry that customers only take the time to write about brands when they are upset, the numbers show otherwise. When asked when they choose to comment about a brand online, consumers responded:

  • 61% comment to praise a brand
  • 53% comment to complain about a brand

However, the fact remains that “the negative reviews and comments […] are more likely to have an impact on a brand’s sales” (TNS Digital Report).

Overall, the top reasons consumers write about brands online is to…

  1. Share experiences: 64%
  2. Offer advice: 64%
  3. Praise a brand: 61%
  4. Ask advice: 60%
  5. Share answers/opinions: 56%
  6. Criticize a brand: 53%
  7. Share cool brand stuff: 51%
  8. Get customer service: 46%
  9. Get paid/rewarded for doing so: 40%

A consumer’s main impetus behind writing about a brand is to share experiences and advice. While people will more likely trust one another over the word of your business, this doesn’t mean you can’t learn from the dialogue and even join it in a tactful way; consider how you can provide exclusive insight, instruction, discounts and other things that can help fill consumers’ needs.

After all, TNS Digital found that “some food categories see more than 20% of their in-store purchases [were] influenced at some point prior to purchase by digital touchpoints,” such as product research or online coupons. Engaging customers online, while difficult, is still critical for any business hoping to survive the digital age.

To learn more about different methods of online brand engagement, check out these free courses on Social Media Engagement, Sales Copywriting, Google AdWords, and Email Marketing.

Source: TNS Digital

Article by Rochelle Bailis